Prof. Pat Bradshaw appointed Community Safety Council chair

Schulich School of Business Professor Pat Bradshaw has been appointed chair of the new Community Safety Council by York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri.

“I am pleased that Pat Bradshaw has accepted the role of chair of York University’s new Community Safety Council,” says York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “Pat has a long-standing history of service to the York community having worked on numerous boards and committees. I am confident that she is the right person for this very important role, and I look forward to working with her and the rest of the council as they discuss safety outcomes, policies and practices.”

A graduate of York University, Bradshaw (PhD ’86) is a researcher and professor of organizational studies. She was director of the business school’s MBA program and is the past chair of the York Senate. She will assume her new responsibilities immediately.

The York University Community Safety Council (CSC) is an advisory body that was established this fall following a comprehensive safety audit conducted for the University by the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children. The CSC reports to the president. Its membership includes representatives from stakeholder groups within the University and from those neighbourhoods around the University which share a concern for safety.

Right: Schulich School of Business Professor Pat Bradshaw is chair of the University’s new Community Safety Council

Bradshaw says she envisions her role with the CSC as being one of a facilitator. “I see the council as a forum for bringing multiple stakeholders together to look at the safety trends and issues emerging in the communities, how we can leverage constituents with shared passion, interest and concern to learn about and improve safety together,” says Bradshaw.

“I am hoping that we can create a body that really does take up this notion of community,” she says. “I think safety is a distributed function that is embedded in the responsibilities of many groups, both inside and outside the University.”

The CSC is the University’s community-based forum for the discussion of safety issues and concerns and will work proactively to improve safety in all aspects of campus life. As part of its mandate, the CSC will consider issues specifically relating to women and trans people, concerns about the physical environment and violence prevention. The council will work collaboratively and proactively to amplify issues, facilitate coordination of safety-related activities, focus attention of relevant administrative bodies and provide a forum for discussion of emerging challenges relating to safety.

The council’s consultative and advisory role will be centred in the creativity of its members, says Bradshaw. “We are living in times of resource constraints and changing perceptions. For example, trans issues and race issues are evolving all the time,” she says. “And, while we all have different perspectives, we share a concern for safety.”

The council will have a broad membership, including representation from students, faculty and staff, campus service providers, off-campus groups and the police service.

“We are really being challenged to look at safety in a broad and transparent way,” says Bradshaw. “I don’t think York is any less safe than other urban or suburban universities in Canada, but York seems to get the attention. I think it is due to the fact that we are already more transparent in some ways; it looks worse when it is actually getting better exactly because of this transparency. There is no definitive answer to the issue of safety.”

She says she will benchmark the success of the CSC by depth and creativity of recommendations contained in the council’s first report to the president. The CSC will hold its first meeting on Nov. 24.

More about York University’s safety initiatives

In addition to appointing Bradshaw as chair of the new community safety council, York University in September implemented the Know it! Use it! Own it! Safety Awareness initiative. A pan-University effort, it features a physical and virtual presence to educate faculty, staff and students about personal safety. The initiative was launched with Facebook ads, posters, banners in Vari Hall, and the creation of the University’s new Safety Awareness website.

On Oct. 5, the University also held its first Safety Awareness Day. The event was a community information fair that brought together numerous stakeholders and providers of safety services to engage with faculty, staff and students about safety.

To learn more about the CSC and the University’s safety initiatives, visit the Safety Awareness website.