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VCU Safety and Well-being Advisory Committee update

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020

Dear VCU and VCU Health System community,

This summer, we notified you of VCU’s efforts to forge a new model for campus safety and well-being by implementing a safety and well-being advisory committee. The VCU Safety and Well-being Advisory Committee (SWAC) will operate outside of the purview of the VCU Police Department and support the university in its growth to evolve the existing safety model to one which offers a greater focus on a more equitable and holistic fostering of the safety and well-being of every individual on our campus. Over the past month, we have moved diligently to provide the framework for and staff this vital committee. Transparency and accountability are paramount to SWAC's success. To achieve our goals, we will provide you with updates on the committee, its work and process. Below are updates related to our advancements to date. 

Committee structure

In creating this new public safety model, the Safety and Well-being Advisory Committee will review VCU’s safety and well-being activities, inform operational and strategic decisions, and evaluate and recommend a citizen oversight process and infrastructure to promote health equity across VCU’s campuses. Responsibilities will be divided between SWAC and its three subcommittees: Transformational Model Development, Fair and Impartial Policing, and Community Relations. Additional information on the committee's year-one objectives can be found at safetymodel.vcu.edu/about

Nomination process

This summer, we solicited committee membership nominations by seeking input from the university community and reaching out to diverse cultural and leadership groups across the university, health system and neighboring communities. These groups included student organizations, faculty and staff employee groups, VCU Health System leadership and neighborhood associations. The nomination period closed on September 14, 2020. We were fortunate to receive more than 60 applications from dedicated students, faculty staff and community members. 

Committee members were selected to serve based on their areas of expertise and indicated interest, either as a member of SWAC or as a member of a SWAC subcommittee. By September 24, 2020, 31 members were confirmed to serve on the committee. Throughout the selection process, we remained committed to ensuring we maintained a broadly representative group that was inclusive and diverse across various classifications, identities, cultures, disciplines and backgrounds.

SWAC meetings

The first virtual SWAC meeting was held on Tuesday, September 29. During this meeting, we outlined the committee’s charge, addressed questions and presented timelines and core functions of SWAC and its subcommittees. Moving forward, the committee plans to meet a minimum of twice a month, with minutes available for public viewing online at safetymodel.vcu.edu.

The committee plans to complete its work and provide recommendations by May 2021. 

Updates on progress

We are very grateful for every committee member who felt compelled to lend us their time, talents and perspectives by serving SWAC. We are excited to work together to define and institute the components of VCU’s new transformational model for public safety and well-being. We will continue to keep the VCU community informed of our progress regularly. In the meantime, you can learn more about SWAC, its progress and more at safetymodel.vcu.edu or by contacting us directly at safetymodel@vcu.edu.

Sincerely,

Andrew Daire, Ph.D.
Dean, VCU School of Education

Sheryl Garland
Chief of health impact, VCU Health System