University of Minnesota: As fall semester begins, U of M provides update on public safety investments

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As fall semester begins at the University of Minnesota, the Board of Regents discussed with President Joan Gabel and University public safety leaders the latest investments and actions from the University and partnering organizations to enhance safety, on the Twin Cities campus and in nearby, off-campus neighborhoods.

Leaders built upon multiple public discussions with the Board and campuswide updates from the past several months to reinforce the layered and comprehensive public safety approaches that have been implemented. They noted that the President’s Strategic Safety Advisory Committee, the Campus Safety Committee and other stakeholder groups continue to provide feedback and diverse perspectives to the University’s public safety actions. As a result, the University has amplified safety communications, developed frameworks for evaluating and reporting on safety initiatives, secured new and expanded partnerships, and implemented new programming, with more announced as recently as this week.

Recent steps include the following:

The launch of the Dinkytown Alerts pilot program, which will run from September to December 2022. This opt-in service, available thanks to partnership with the City of Minneapolis, will allow anyone to sign up for public safety updates in a limited area of Dinkytown. These updates are in addition to SAFE-U Notifications, which notify the campus community to crime that has occurred on or immediately adjacent to campus as defined by federal law.
Continued, ambitious hiring efforts to add sworn officers to the UMPD staff, with the goal of reaching the department’s Board-authorized capacity of 71 sworn officers in 2023.
A hiring campaign related to 10 newly added Community Service Officer positions. These uniformed officers provide increased uniformed safety visibility on campus and direct public safety support to UMPD and the campus community.
Extensive collaboration with other law enforcement agencies—including the Minneapolis Police Department, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, Metro Transit and the State Patrol—in the Minneapolis neighborhoods near the Twin Cities campus. These agencies have agreed to provide additional patrols and resources in these off-campus neighborhoods where U of M students, faculty and staff live and socialize.
Renewed and expanded safety services provided by the University, including the Safety Guides program in Dinkytown and the Gopher Chauffeur free ride service.
Friday’s conversation was the latest in a series of public discussions with the Board that reflect the Board’s continued commitment to supporting public safety. The Board’s Finance & Operations Committee also discussed public safety on Thursday during its review of Gabel’s proposed state legislative request. The University had requested, but did not receive, legislative funding support for public safety investments during the 2022 session. The Board is expected to vote in October on Gabel’s proposed 2023 request, which currently recommends asking for $5 million in recurring public safety funding.

More info about safety resources and investments are available on the Safe Campus website.

The Board also:

Welcomed Regent Tadd Johnson and incoming Vice President for Equity & Diversity Mercedes Ramírez Fernández. Johnson was sworn in as a Regent during Friday’s meeting.
Discussed progress toward MPact 2025 enrollment goals with leadership from U of M Crookston, the first in a series of discussions with the University’s five campuses.
Received the annual report on academic program changes from Executive Vice President and Provost Rachel Croson.
Reviewed Gabel’s recommended legislative budget request for the 2024-25 biennium.
Reviewed Gabel’s recommended six-year capital plan.
Discussed statewide engagement with U of M Extension leadership. MPact 2025 calls for Extension to expand its partnerships by 20 percent by 2025.
Discussed results from the 2021 Employee Engagement Survey with Office of Human Resources leadership.
Considered the Board’s public engagement approach, including how community input is invited and received, and how it is publicly shared.
Received annual reports from Gopher Athletics and the University of Minnesota Foundation.

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