November 19, 2015

DSS Members Participate in Know Your Rights Event

Students and members of the University’s Department of Safety & Security participated in an open discussion about campus safety and policing on campus and in the neighboring communities. 

The Know Your Rights event, sponsored by the University of Chicago’s Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, was open to students from UChicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago and Loyola University Chicago. Approximately 20 students from the three schools participated in the discussion, along with Marlon C. Lynch, Associate Vice President of Safety, Security and Civic Affairs, Fountain L. Walker, UCPD Chief of Police, and Tommye Sutton, Deputy Chief of the UCPD’s Field Services Bureau.

“Students actually got to see that people at the UCPD care and that they want to hear from us and want to understand our point of view,” said UChicago student and event organizer Anthony Jackson. “There are some people with really strong opinions and I wanted to give them the opportunity to express them.”

Chief Walker said he was grateful to be invited to this event and appreciated the opportunity to speak with the students about their safety and policing concerns. 

“We let them know about our transparency initiatives and explained why UCPD officers frequently interact with people, which is because we often get calls from community members asking us to respond,” Walker said. “We told them to talk with us (UCPD leadership) right away if they feel they’ve been inappropriately targeted. We’re approachable and can affect change sooner rather than later.”

In another effort to further promote the UCPD’s transparency, students who attended the event were invited to participate in panel interviews for candidates interviewing to become UCPD officers. So far, three students have participated on panel interviews. Chief Walker says this invitation will be extended to the students for future panel interviews as well.

With the success of this event, Jackson said he hopes to hold more like this and include other University minority organizations to be part of the discussion.

“I received many comments about people who attended the event and loved it,” Jackson said. “There were others who had heard the event was great and said they were interested in attending another one like this.”