Today, the Public Safety Review Board voted on its final recommendation regarding Public Safety’s proposal to arm officers at the Eastman and River Campuses. Informed by the feedback from the ad hoc Public Safety Proposal Advisory Committee — comprised of students, faculty, staff, and a community member —the Review Board’s decision will be given to president Feldman. He will decide, and that will be that.
A crucial step is missing here. We never got to see the Committee’s feedback.
To all students, faculty, staff, and community members not on the Committee or Review Board, the contents of the report (or reports) remain a mystery.
There were transparency issues surrounding this proposal from the start. From its rushed debut at SA to the resistance against holding a public forum, the saga of this proposal has been marked by administration’s inability to properly communicate with those affected. The Advisory Committee, notable for its representation of the campus community if not that of Rochester, seemed to mitigate this. But if the Committee’s formation was a step toward inclusive dialogue, its opaqueness before this pivotal vote is a step back.
When administration continues to keep us out of the loop, we cannot — in the most literal sense — see that the conversation has at all changed.
True, the public release of the Committee’s findings was never promised by administration. But some things shouldn’t have to be asked for.
Here’s what we need. The Advisory Committee’s report must be publicly released as soon as possible. And it must be properly publicized. Students shouldn’t have to seek it out.
Any further development in the progress of this proposal should also be a matter of public record. This needs to be the standard going forward.
On a broader level, the Public Safety Review Board needs to reexamine its transparency, down to the meeting minutes which they release online only after an in-house review.
We understand that some information in the report may be confidential, making a review before release necessary. And with the forum and Advisory Committee, administration has allowed itself to listen and be informed by students, faculty, and staff. This is to administration’s credit.
But their receptiveness to the concerns of the UR community has been fleeting.
It is disturbing that after all this, administration acts like the ability to listen and be informed is a privilege that applies only to them, while the rest of us are once again left in the dark.