York University appoints executive director of community safety

Samina Sami
Samina Sami
Samina Sami

York University has appointed a leader with a deep commitment to safety initiatives to the position of executive director, community safety.

Samina Sami will lead York’s Department of Community Safety. She will support the University on matters related to campus safety, one of the University’s key institutional priorities.

Sami, who will become the inaugural executive director, community safety, on Jan. 4, 2016, comes to York after a 23-year career in public and community service. Most recently, she led initiatives under the provincial Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence & Harassment, while at the Ontario Women’s Directorate. In that role, she supported programs for women’s equality, including leading the organization of a provincial summit that brought leaders from around Ontario and the world together to address sexual violence and harassment, and supporting the development of the high-profile #whowillyouhelp bystander campaign.

“We are very pleased that Ms. Sami will be joining York to take on the leadership of our Community Safety Department,” said York President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “Ms. Sami has demonstrated strong leadership in safety-related initiatives and in the field of sexual violence awareness and prevention.  Sexual violence is an important societal issue and I am confident that Ms. Sami will build on York’s commitment to address this issue and help establish our practices and processes as a leader in the sector.”

Sami also has a diverse background with the Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services. She worked on a broad range of justice initiatives, including services for survivors, justice policy, human rights, gender-based violence, crime prevention, policing programs and emergency measures. She has engaged with communities across Ontario, including Indigenous Peoples, youth groups, women’s organizations, newcomers, persons with disabilities, and Francophone and LGBTQ+ communities. Sami has also worked closely with police services and the justice sector as a manager of crime prevention and policing programs, and as an instructor at the Ontario Police College. In addition to her work with the provincial government, she has led community-based programs and taught at the postsecondary level.

Sami holds a BSc and MEd from the University of Toronto and is pursuing a PhD with a focus on public education. She has a long-standing commitment to education and justice issues, and these interests have taken her internationally to China and India. In 1995, she was a Canadian non-governmental representative at the NGO Forum as part of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women.

Sami says she looks forward to working collaboratively with York University’s diverse communities to support a strong, inclusive mandate for community safety.

“York has been actively engaged with our students, faculty and staff in developing safety initiatives for a number of years, culminating in the creation of our Policy on Sexual Assault Awareness, Prevention & Response earlier this year,” said Gary Brewer, vice-president finance and administration. “As a leader who has collaborated with many groups and helped to develop policy and programs in Ontario, Ms. Sami has the experience and commitment needed to bring members of our community together to develop a holistic and integrated strategic approach to community safety at York.”