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Thursday January 20th

Here's a rundown of Wednesday's Zoom campus safety meeting

<p>Frank Baumgartner, faculty co-chairperson of the Campus Safety Commission, presents at a meeting Wednesday, April 15, 2020. The supplemental meeting was held over Zoom during the campus closure.&nbsp;</p>
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Frank Baumgartner, faculty co-chairperson of the Campus Safety Commission, presents at a meeting Wednesday, April 15, 2020. The supplemental meeting was held over Zoom during the campus closure. 

UNC’s Campus Safety Commission met Wednesday morning in a supplemental working session to review recommendations made by subcommittees relating to sexual violence and policing on campus.

Who is on the Commission?

  • The Commission is made up of students, staff, faculty and community members.
  • The Commission was assembled in April 2019, according to the commission’s website, to assess safety on campus, including the campus climate and culture around issues of safety.
  • The Commission was created to address a “crisis of trust” between the campus community and campus police, relating largely to the events that accompanied the removal of Silent Sam, the website says. 

What’s new?

  • The Commission approved recommendations made by the sexual violence subcommittee to increase accountability and oversight in how UNC handles and prevents sexual violence on campus.
    • “If we were to be a leader at the national level on prevention, then we should be discussing sexual violence on campuses,” Frank Baumgartner, faculty co-chairperson of the commission, said.
  • Members also discussed the issue of whether police officers should carry lethal weapons in cases that may not require such weapons — such as medical situations. This conversation continued a similar discussion held during the Commission’s last meeting
    • A few Commission members were strongly against discussing the recommendation of taking officers’ lethal weapons away.
    • “I’m also questioning, even whether we have an evidentiary basis to actually convene a public discussion,” Eric Muller, professor of law, said about making the issue a public debate.
    • “Officers have lost their lives under the ruse of responding to an emergency incident,” David L. Perry, chief of UNC Police, said. 
    • Ultimately, the motion to approve the recommendation failed.

What’s next?

  • The approved recommendations will be included in an end-of-year report given to Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz by the Commission in early May.
  • The end-of-year report will include many other recommendations relating to topics of safety at UNC, including police behavior, sexual violence, anti-racist activism and the safety of marginalized communities.

Explore The Daily Tar Heel’s latest coverage on the events accompanying the removal of Silent Sam — which prompted the creation of the Commission — here.

Dig deeper into The Daily Tar Heel’s coverage of sexual assault on campus here.

@_sashaschroeder

university@dailytarheel.com

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