by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
In the midst of continuing national conversations about police and policing of marginalized populations, a new Public Safety Inclusivity Council is taking shape at Dickinson. The goal is to understand the unique climate and safety needs of our campus community and recommend best practices to ensuring equitable and effective safety services for all. Commissioned by President John E. Jones III ’77, P’11, and Department of Public Safety (DPS) Chief Dee Danser, the council will be led by Tony Boston, the college’s new chief diversity officer. Committee members, appointed by President Jones, will serve on the council for a one-year term.
The council’s first task is to assess the campus climate with regard to safety, including students’ perceptions of DPS services. Working in collaboration with DPS staff, the council will next critically examine available data and see where perception and reality match up. The final step: Provide recommendations for improvement to policies, procedures and practices.
"The inclusivity council provides a space for reflection and critical analysis on ways in which DPS informs campus climate, because as a campus community, we are dedicated to cultivating an engaged and inclusive learning community, and every department has an important role to play in this regard," says Boston, who hopes other departments across campus will similarly review ways in which their policies and practices shape the college's learning, working and social environment.
"It’s about being proactive in understanding how students experience and perceive interactions with DPS, and it’s a learning process for our peace officers and for the whole community," Boston adds. "I look forward to collaborating with DPS, and I praise the department for its willingness to do this work."
Collaboration is key, agrees Danser, who notes the importance of developing strong partnerships across the campus community in order to work most effectively.
“To develop and maintain partnerships, we must be willing to do the work to build trust and mutual understanding,” Danser adds. “As part of the Dickinson community, the Department of Public Safety is committed to this work, and through working with students and other constituents on campus, I believe we can put in place safety-related policies and practices which can be a positive example for all public safety agencies.”
Published March 6, 2023