Rackham Dean Mike Solomon, along with Karin Brown, an educational studies Ph.D. student in the School of Education, and David Helps, a doctoral candidate in the Department of History, have been named as members of a new task force focused on evaluating and recommending improvements to public safety at the University of Michigan.
Convened on January 4 by U-M President Mark Schlissel and Provost Susan M. Collins, the Advancing Public Safety at the University of Michigan Task Force brings together students, faculty, and staff from across the university to review and assess current practices of the U-M Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS), identify areas of strength and areas of concern, and provide concrete recommendations for improvement that are based on best practices. It represents one of several anti-racism initiatives undertaken by U-M in response to the national conversations around structural racism and policing begun in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police.
The task force is chaired by Earl Lewis, the director and founder of the U-M Center for Social Solutions, the Thomas C. Holt Distinguished University Professor of History, and a former Rackham dean; and by Daphne C. Watkins, the director of the U-M Vivian A. and James L. Curtis School of Social Work Center for Health Equity Research and Training, University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor in the U-M National Center for Institutional Diversity, and a professor in the U-M School of Social Work.
The task force will specifically examine the following areas:
- Current DPSS practices and training related to community engagement
- Issues related to campus policing procedures and practices
- Perspectives and concerns from stakeholder groups
- Goals of DPSS and its approach to carrying out its mission
- The role and work of the Police Department Oversight Committee
- How DPSS complaints are received, processed, and investigated
- DPSS training, protocols, and policies around use of force