May 14, 2010

Ad hoc committee to probe policy fixes after Reg arrest

A committee charged with monitoring policy changes created in the wake of the February arrest of fourth-year Mauriece Dawson will convene next week.

The 17-person committee will provide oversight on policies being implemented in the wake of the arrest. It will involve students and administrators from the groups most involved in the protracted debate that has flared up at open forums and meetings in the two-and-a-half months since the arrest. Those groups are named in the committee’s official title: the Ad Hoc Committee of Campus and Student Life, Student Government (SG), and the Alliance for Student and Community Rights (ASCR).

“There’s a lot of things, to-dos that they’re going to provide input on,” said Vice President for Campus Life Kim Goff-Crews, who stressed the importance of student input. “They’ll have a much more integrated sense of what needs to be done.”

All three groups have been involved in resolving the issues raised by the arrest, in which Dawson was arrested with undue force by a UCPD officer in the Reg’s A-Level. SG and the Office of Campus and Student Life sponsored a forum a week after the arrest; the ASCR formed in the aftermath of that forum, and has been vocal ever since. Administrators have consulted with ASCR members on policy changes and the group has vocalized a list of demands for the administration regarding more changes.

“The Ad Hoc Committee...was established so that there would be one group, with an integrated understanding of the important issues related to this incident, working together to address these issues in a timely manner,” said Karen Warren Coleman, associate vice president for Campus Life and one of the committee’s co-chairs, in an e-mail.

The committee, also co-chaired by Graduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees Toussaint Losier, is slated to work over the course of a year to advise administrators on a slew of policy changes to prevent similar conditions to those that led to Dawson’s arrest. Changes to be implemented include a new code of library conduct, new policies for the Dean-on-Call program, and retraining for staff on student interaction.

The committee will be composed of history professor Adam Green, four administrators, and 10 students who will return next fall, jointly appointed by SG and ASCR.

Announced at an April 29 open forum by Goff-Crews, the ad hoc committee is one of two groups investigating the arrest; the other is the University Police Department’s (UCPD) Independent Review Committee, which annually reviews complaints brought against UCPD officers. Administrators have said the committee plans to release its findings in the Dawson case this spring, although results are normally published in the fall.

–Additional reporting by Amy Myers