President delivers an update on safety to the York community

President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri issued the following update to the York community yesterday:

At York, we recognize and understand that the sense of safety is extremely important to the members of our community. With that in mind, I have committed to providing regular updates on the status of safety standards and initiatives on our campuses.

Since my last update, York hosted another Safety Awareness Day at both the Keele and Glendon campuses in February, and I was really encouraged with how well they were attended. We are already preparing for the next Safety Awareness Day with the arrival of our new students in September. The Safety Awareness Days, along with our other initiatives, are about making our community aware, creating engagement, and advancing a culture of safety and respect.

I am also encouraged by the progress we are making on the METRAC recommendations.

Please find below the progress report on some of the key recommendations that are actively being reviewed:

Mass Notification System

  • A pilot project for a campus-wide public address system is currently underway in the Ross and Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies buildings. Upon successful completion of the pilot project, it is anticipated that the public address (PA) system will be phased into all buildings at both of our campuses. 
  • A working group has been established to look at other mass notification systems which might include text messaging, cellphones, e-mails and social media.

goSAFE & Campus Shuttle Services

  • The Request for Proposal to purchase two new fully accessible school buses is currently in the procurement process. These buses will replace the aging buses and provide more seating capacity.
  • A review and costing of METRAC recommendations, along with recommendations from student leaders for changes to the services, has been completed.

The Role and Responsibility of Security, Including the Use of Force Model

  • The Management Safety Committee and Community Safety Council are developing a public consultation process, to be rolled out in the fall of 2011, which will include both an education awareness element, as well as the opportunity for community-wide input in the service delivery model that York Security employs.

Mandatory Women’s Studies/Equity Studies Course 

  • The Senate Committee on Academic Standards, Curriculum & Pedagogy, along with the Vice-Provost, has recommended that such a requirement is neither feasible nor pedagogically sound.
  • The Management Safety Committee is consulting widely to explore more holistic approaches to achieving both the intent and spirit of this recommendation through effective and alternative teaching methods, such as RIAT (Respect and Inclusivity Awareness Tutorial).

Other highlights include:

  • The Senate Equity Committee has adopted a statement on equity and inclusiveness, which was incorporated into the University Academic Plan.
  • The Positive Space Program, out of the Centre for Human Rights, has been redeveloped, with regular training programs now available campus-wide.
  • The University’s Emergency Plan was fully activated for the first time in response to the fire in the Central Utilities Building on Dec. 13, 2011.
  • Budgetary estimates are now being assigned to METRAC recommendations, to determine the financial implications of the Safety Audit and to inform priority decisions.
  • The Community Safety Council (CSC) has met twice, establishing key themes to focus its work in the coming months; it has also given detailed recommendations on a mass notification system. Additionally, the Safety Audit Implementation Standing Committee of the CSC has met twice, and has established its terms of reference. They have begun detailed reviews of the progress of certain recommendations, with an initial focus on training requirements under the METRAC Safety Audit.

Safety on our campuses requires a community, and by continuing to work together, I truly believe we will make a difference. For more information on York University’s detailed action plan regarding METRAC’s recommendations, please visit the Safety Audit website.