President delivers an update on safety to the University community

York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri

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

Since my last update in April, safety continues to be a focus for the York Community, especially with the series of safety-related incidents experienced on our campuses this fall. I would like to assure you that we are steadfastly working with our community stakeholders in order to build an environment where all our members feel valued and safe.

What follows are some of the recent measures that we have implemented as part of our ongoing response to the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) Safety Audit: 

  1. Enhanced roles and responsibilities of York Security Services Officials 

York Security Services have been authorized to implement a new Service Delivery Model on Nov. 20. Security officials will be issued personal protective equipment allowing them to engage more directly in a greater range of incidents on our campuses. In the coming weeks, Gary Brewer, vice-president finance & administration will be issuing more detailed information about this important transition.

  1. Security Bulletin protocol 

In response to concerns expressed by community members, the University has recently approved a new Security Bulletin protocol. Bulletins will be issued when there is an ongoing risk following an incident on or adjacent to the University. In addition, the bulletins will be e-mailed to all students, faculty and staff; posted on the student, staff and faculty pages of the York website, Facebook, and Twitter; and will be noted on the LCD screens across campuses.

  1. Expansion of equity and inclusivity training 

The University has committed significant resources to improve equity and inclusivity training. Our Centre for Human Rights (CHR) already engages in training programs, supporting many of our offices and student groups. For the third year in a row, a major element of Orientation Week was the “Can I Kiss You” event – a 2-hour workshop dealing with issues of consent. Some 5,000 York Students have now attended this important workshop.

CHR is also in the process of redeveloping our online equity and inclusivity training tutorial, previously known as RIAT (Respect Inclusivity Awareness Tutorial). The new tutorial, REDI (Respect, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity), will be launched in conjunction with the Safety Awareness Campaign.

  1. Safety Awareness Campaign 

Working collaboratively with the Community Safety Council, the Safety Initiatives Working Group, comprising students, faculty and staff, are now engaged in the development of a comprehensive Safety Awareness Campaign. The working group is continuing its process of consultation with the goal of rolling out the initial phases of the campaign in early 2013.

  1. New staff to support safety initiatives

All the initiatives that I have outlined in this and earlier safety updates require a significant commitment of University personnel. To support these endeavours, several additional positions have been created since my last update, including:

  • a Safety Initiatives Coordinator;
  • a Programs and Outreach Adviser in CHR (for REDI);
  • a Sexual Harassment Prevention Education Adviser in CHR; and
  • increased goSAFE personnel.
  1. New equipment to support safety initiatives

We continue to make physical improvements to our campuses, including:

  • 45 new LCD emergency screens, which have been installed in academic buildings and all our residence buildings, bringing the total number of screens to 70; and
  • 17 new exterior Emergency Blue Phones which are currently being installed at both campuses, increasing our total by 50 percent.

We consider the sense of safety on our campuses to be a priority. For more information on the METRAC report, please visit the Safety Audit website.

For additional information on York’s safety services, I encourage you to visit our Safety website.