The Northwestern University police headquarters at Ridge and Davis in Evanston. (Google Maps image)

Northwestern University has announced plans for several changes to operations of its Department of Safety and Security in response to an outside review of its programs.

In a news release, school officials said they plan to act by the end of June on developing new policies for:

  • What, if any, role police should have in responding to student mental health issues.
  • What police services should be performed by alternative methods or cease altogether.
  • Routing complaints about security services to an entity outside the security department.
  • Revising the use of racial identifiers in campus crime notices.

“The changes we have pledged to undertake over the next three months, as well as those we will make in the future, will help us better reflect Northwestern values in all that we do,” Craig Johnson, senior vice president for business and finance, said in a statement.

The school hired two consulting firms to conduct the reviews, which included studying documents, polices and data and interviewing more than 80 campus and community stakeholders, including Black students.

One external reviewer, Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila, sought to understand community perspectives about DSS. The second, Security Management Risk Consultants, specializes in evaluating the policies and activities of safety operations.

Their report is available online.

The review was guided by a Community Safety Advisory Board co-chaired by Dr. Clyde Yancy, a cardiologist in the Feinberg School of Medicine, and Robin R. Means Coleman, the school’s chief diversity officer.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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