Announcing the Inclusive Public Safety Advisory Committee

January 31, 2022

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

In July 2020, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and nationwide calls for racial justice, I appointed a working group (comprised of leaders from central administration and the Department of Public Safety, as well as faculty and students), to recommend specific courses of action for ensuring what we have come to refer to as inclusive safety across all of our campuses.

I reaffirmed last spring our commitment to acting on the working group’s recommendations, including the creation of an independent Advisory Committee that will work in partnership with Public Safety to develop new and enhanced departmental practices to foster inclusion and belonging at Columbia. Now I write to announce the creation of the Inclusive Public Safety Advisory Committee. It will be comprised of students, staff, faculty, and members of Public Safety. The Advisory Committee will take a data-informed approach to consider public safety policies, training, practices, and programs through the lens of inclusivity.

The Inclusive Public Safety Advisory Committee will launch this February, chaired by Josef Sorett, Chair, Department of Religion, and Professor of Religion and African American and African Diaspora Studies. Dennis Mitchell, Executive Vice President for University Life and Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement will also serve on the committee in an ex-officio capacity.

The working group also recommended that the University create an independent mechanism, separate from the Department of Public Safety, to receive concerns and file complaints. From now on, all members of the community may submit any concerns or grievances to the University’s compliance hotline. You can read more about the hotline here.

I am exceedingly grateful, both to Dennis Mitchell and to the Department of Public Safety, for their partnership and ongoing work on this effort. Next month you will find more information about the Inclusive Public Safety Advisory Committee, including membership and updates about its ongoing work, on University Life’s website.


Lee C. Bollinger