July 28, 2021
Dear Trojan Community,
Since announcing our Call to Action last June, the Trojan community has come together in a number of important efforts to advance belonging and equity on our campuses. Over the past year:
- The Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) Task Force issued a set of recommendations, and we are now working through the implementation of the task force’s proposals.
- A group of faculty, students, staff, and alumni have considered options for renaming the Center for International and Public Affairs, formerly named for Rufus von KleinSmid, and we look forward to sharing the results of their work soon.
- We appointed Christopher Manning as USC’s first Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer (CIDO), and he is already working to weave DEI into every facet of the university’s operations.
- We implemented a policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation that applies to all students, staff, and faculty.
- DEI training, which includes a module on unconscious bias, was recently rolled out to students, and a version for faculty and staff will launch this fall.
Today, we are pleased to announce progress on another key priority – the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Community Advisory Board (CAB) has completed its report on the future of public safety at USC. We urge you to spend some time reviewing it in detail. Given the broad cross-section of community stakeholders the CAB engaged with over the last year, we hope you recognize that many of your thoughts, experiences, and ideas were incorporated into the recommendations.
We have already assembled an implementation team to assess the CAB’s recommendations in a way that respects all our community members, continues to protect our campuses, strengthens accountability and transparency, and appropriately allocates resources. I am excited about the way forward as we begin to implement some of the transformative ideas contained in the report, and you will be hearing much more about the university’s progress in the coming months.
I want to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of our CAB co-chairs, Professors Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro and Erroll Southers, along with the 17 students, faculty members, staff, alumni, and community leaders who produced the report. It represents a thorough examination of our public safety practices, and incorporates the views of more than 700 students, faculty, staff (including DPS officers), and community members. The CAB’s broad engagement gives the analysis and recommendations – divided into short, medium, and long-term priorities – a great deal of credibility.
I also want to thank DPS Chief John Thomas, who participated in the CAB as an ex officio member. His openness to transforming DPS to better meet the needs and expectations of the USC community gave the CAB confidence to be bold in its analysis and recommendations. Chief Thomas remains a key participant in the implementation process as we begin to put in place some of the recommendations outlined in the report.
Finally, today’s announcement does not bring the CAB’s mission to an end. I am grateful that Ange-Marie and Erroll have agreed to continue in their roles, and you will be hearing much more from them in the coming weeks and months about the CAB’s make up and focus for the coming academic year.
Carol L. Folt