An update on safety to the York community

President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri has issued this message to the York community:

As a University, we understand how important the sense of safety is to the members of our community. In keeping with my commitment in my fall message to continue to inform the York community, I am providing the following safety update.

In reviewing the security incident statistics, it is encouraging to note that during the first two quarters of 2010-2011 there was a decreasing trend in security incidents compared to 2009-2010. That said, community members will be aware of a series of robberies that occurred at the Keele campus during the fall term. While an arrest was made related to some of these incidents, we must reinforce the need to remain vigilant. We will continue to work collaboratively with the Toronto Police Service, our own security team and the broader community as part of our ongoing efforts to make our campuses safer places to live and work.

I would also like to report that we continue to review and implement many safety measures and initiatives as recommended by the audit by the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC).

The following are some of the highlights of our progress made during the fall term:

  • Pat Bradshaw, professor at the Schulich School of Business, was appointed chair of the newly formed Community Safety Council (CSC). The council held its first meeting on Nov. 24 and had more than 40 members in attendance. At the meeting, the members were fully briefed on their responsibilities, on the METRAC safety audit and on the safety awareness campaign and website. 
  • Several members of the CSC have been appointed to the Safety Audit Standing Committee (SASC), which is a standing committee of the Community Safety Council. The SASC will liaise with the Management Safety Audit Implementation Committee and monitor the implementation of the METRAC report. They will also report regularly to the CSC.
  • Throughout the month of September, York launched a safety awareness campaign and website. This campaign culminated in our first Safety Awareness Day, held on Oct. 5 in Vari Hall. Plans are now being finalized to hold a Safety Awareness Day during the fall and winter terms at both the Keele and Glendon campuses.
  • The Student Code of Conduct was replaced by the Student Code of Rights & Responsibilities, which addresses issues raised in the safety audit, including how to deal with frivolous complaints and Internet harassment.
  • The Centre for Human Rights hosted an interactive workshop at the Rexall Centre for Excellence during orientation week. The event, called “Can I Kiss You?”,dealt with issues pertaining to consent and was able to target more than 1,500 first-year students who were in attendance. The host has already been booked for next September’s orientation.
  • “Men talking to Men about Violence Against Women” is a recently created joint student and staff initiative spearheaded by Student Community & Leadership Development. The initiative is led by student co-chairs, with the purpose of developing an educational program that focuses on the prevention of violence against women.

The following are some of the recommendations that are currently undergoing a review or action:

  • This month, a new format for security statistics has been posted on the Security Services website and on York’s Safety Awareness website. This will represent a first at a Canadian university and reflects York’s ongoing commitment to transparency.
  • Consultations with members of the Glendon College Student Union resulted in the immediate repairs to lighting fixtures, as well as recommendations for additional lighting improvements.
  • The Centre for Human Rights, the Centre for the Support of Teaching and CUPE 3903 are currently developing training programs and workshops for teaching assistants and faculty about sexual assault and violence against women.
  • New training for York Security Services on equity issues was scheduled this past December and this month with the Centre for Human Rights.
  • Representatives from goSAFE, Campus Shuttle and the Office of the Vice-President Finance & Administration held consultative meetings to review issues and concerns related to their services. Their recommendations are being considered for the future development of their services.
  • Adjudicators under the Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities, including peer support teams, local adjudicators and tribunal members, have started to be trained in anti-oppression issues, as well as the Positive Space program.

We will continue to review our safety initiatives and look to implement additional measures in the coming months. We are committed to working collaboratively with the entire York community to enhance the quality of life for those who study and work on our campuses.

For more information on York University’s detailed action plan regarding METRAC’s recommendations, please visit the safety audit website.