Two months after the Chancellor tasked them with rebuilding bridges between UNC police and the campus community, members of the Campus Safety Commission expressed a lack of clarity on their mission. They spent their third meeting discussing semantics and the purpose of their work.
“All of us around this table are not on the same page about what we’re supposed to be doing,” said resiliency and student support programs coordinator and commission co-chairperson DeVetta Holman Nash, after a discussion regarding the commission’s formal charge got into the weeds.
Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz formed the Campus Safety Commission in response to a breakdown in student-police relations, among other issues, and presented them with a guiding charge to help them navigate the process of repairing the community’s trust in law enforcement.
The Campus Safety Commission has had two other meetings to date.
In May, the Commission met to discuss their mission, responsibilities and outlooks on the future. This included writing down what each member felt the most pressing situation was for the University at the time.
The Commission met in June to discuss and explore policing practices on campus, citing issues related to the handling of the Silent Sam demonstrations. This included raising the concern that many members of the commission believe there is a disconnect between campus police and the student body.
“The Chancellor said that there is a crisis of trust on this campus,” said Lawrence Grossberg, a professor in the communications department. “And that seems to be at least our starting point.”
Issues came up during the meeting about the ambiguity of the group's role. Some committee members pointed out contradictions in the document that would inhibit the commission’s authority and reach, while others argued it wasn't their role to question the Chancellor, and the commission should continue work with the material available to them.