Communication between the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and student leaders is set to become more frequent this semester.
Students’ Association President Daniel Pyskaty and Vice President Elijah Bader-Gregory kicked off new bi-weekly meetings with DPS Interim Deputy Chief Michael Epping and Assistant Director Dana Perrin on Jan. 31. In the coming weeks, Pyskaty said he and Bader-Gregory plan on convening more student representatives and Wilson Commons Student Activities (WCSA) staff to meet with DPS as well, with the overall goal being to set up round tables with different student leaders and groups about public safety and protest policies.
The move comes as the UR administration has shifted on-campus protest policies in response to the numerous pro-Palestine rallies held since Oct. 7.
An update sent Nov. 17, 2023 reaffirmed their implementation of “time, place, and manner” restrictions and introduced a three-day notice requirement for on-campus gatherings. The changes preceded a Dec. 11, 2023 gathering in Hirst Lounge the University deemed “unsanctioned,” as they put it in a statement, resulting in a large public safety response and the arrest of senior Nadia Tolosa.
Aside from Pyskaty and Bader-Gregory’s new meetings, the only formal channel between DPS and the student body is the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). An outgrowth of the old Public Safety Review Board, PSAC was established in 2023 as part of the University’s Campus Safety Five Point Plan, according to its website.
PSAC is supposed to be made up of 16 members: three student members, four faculty members, five staff members, and four committee administration members. Pyskaty is one of the three student members and the only River Campus student on the committee.
Pyskaty said PSAC meets on an as-needed timeline. They last convened in December 2023, and none of their meeting minutes are available on their website.
The Campus Times reached out to Epping and Perrin for an interview about the prospective meetings. In an email, Perrin said they “look forward to continuing conversations with SA leadership both current and future.”