President issues an update on safety to the University community

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

Dear members of the York University community,

Our role as a university – especially one as progressive as York – is to engage our community on important issues and to develop a shared sense of responsibility. With that in mind, I hosted two public forums on safety at the end of last term – one for faculty, staff and students, and one for parents. What we witnessed at the time was York University coming together to share common concerns and to develop a community response to safety – paramount to the well-being of any community.  

I was pleased with the willingness of those in attendance to engage directly and openly on a wide range of safety related issues, while many also provided feedback electronically. We are processing and reviewing all the information and will use this input to guide us going forward. Many of the points raised will help refine our responses to the recommendations of the METRAC Safety Audit. Some key elements that are actively under consideration relate to goSAFE, Security Services patrols, the mandate of our security officers, the use of CCTVs, exterior lighting, and overall communications around safety.

We should understand that at their core, issues of safety are broad societal matters. Exploitation, gender-based assault and power-based violence are all concerns that our society must address. As a community, we have a collective responsibility to be part of the broader solution. Indeed, each of us must accept our responsibility to take on that leadership role. We have countless leaders here at York – within our student community, within our faculty, and within our staff – all of whom are committed to making change and taking a stand as engaged citizens.

In the coming weeks, we will be introducing a new Safety Awareness Campaign. I invite all members of the community to see this as a continuing effort to enhance our collective engagement on safety. This initial phase is designed to increase general awareness around safety related resources and initiatives at York. An important element of this portion of the campaign is the introduction of our new on-line tutorial entitled Respect Equity Diversity and Inclusivity (REDI). As well, a new mobile safety application will be made available for downloading which will include an alarm, direct calls to York Security and 911, and access to our safety resources.

The University remains committed to building a community where mutual respect extends to all levels of our social encounters and relationships, and it is my hope that all members of our community can contribute in their own way to achieving this goal. We are equally committed as an institution to do our part by responding to community concerns and continuing our ongoing implementation of the METRAC Safety Audit recommendations.

For more information, I would encourage you to visit our Safety website.