Racial Profiling & Harassment

image of residential buildings with words Racial Profiling and Harassment over it
This section of the 20 demands encompasses 8 demands addressing the overall theme of Racial Profiling and Harassment. This page will continue to be updated.

1. Improving campus-wide access to and transparency of the BIRT reporting process.

2. Developing a process for the reporting and tracking of incidents of police harassment of our students by local law enforcement, and providing legal support for students who choose to pursue complaints.

VP for Student Life and the Executive Director/Chief of Public Safety and Transportation will plan to create some method of collecting informational reports of police harassment and connect with the Chief of Police in Moraga.  Although the College would not be able to provide legal support to students, there are legal resources for students that we can research so they can be made available to students who are considering or choosing to pursue complaints.

3. Transparency in the SMC contract or agreements with local law enforcement, including any budgetary obligations for their services. 

SMC does not contract with local law enforcement. Any services provided to Saint Mary’s are in line with what police agencies provide to private landowners in their jurisdiction.

4. Transparency in any agreements SMC has with immigration enforcement. 

Saint Mary’s does not have any agreements with immigration enforcement.  We would be obligated to comply with the law.

5.  Transparency in the role, responsibilities, grievance process, de-escalation and cultural competency training, and budget of SMC campus Public Safety and what budget cuts this office will take in the current budget crisis. 

Role and Responsibilities of Public Safety

The role and responsibility of Public Safety is to support all members of and be a part of the SMC community. The staff is responsible for enforcing the policies and protocols of the university including the policies related to employees and students as guided by the employee and student handbooks.  

Public Safety Officers:

  • Are non-sworn; they do not make arrests or investigate crimes.

  •  Are unarmed and do not carry weapons.

  •  Do not make vehicle stops or patrol outside of Saint Mary’s College with the exception of the Saint Mary’s Rheem Campus in Moraga.

  •  Do not author or serve search warrants.

  •  Do have the authority to ask people for identification, to determine whether individuals have lawful business at Saint Mary’s College, and to issue parking tickets on campus.

  • Respond to alarms, medical emergencies, and deter crimes.

  • Are the primary service support for lock-outs, escorts, welfare checks, building security and access, information dispatch and facility emergencies.

  • Documents incidents in reports.

  • Provide training on various topics that include active shooter, restraining orders, stalking, emergency preparedness or other topics as needed.

Criminal incidents are referred to the Moraga Police Department that has jurisdiction on the campus.

All Public Safety incident reports that involve students are forwarded to the Office of Community Life for review and potential welfare or disciplinary action.  The Department of Public Safety supports Student Life and will assume a wider role involving health and screening.

Grievance Processes

Any member of the community would be encouraged to report concerns regarding the conduct of a particular officer or concerns about response to an incident.  The way to file such a complaint can be found on the Public Safety website at this link (Officer Conduct).

Training and Professional Development

In 2020, SMC hosted Dr. Kevin Cokley to conduct a de-escalation workshop for law enforcement and campus security officers and agencies.  Public Safety staff participated

in that training.  In 2021, this training was again hosted virtually and had three new  Public Safety staff members attended the Workshop.  Additionally, we are offering the book, Defund Fear (Zach Norris) to Public Safety staff as a professional development resource and will be discussing select chapters during all Public Safety staff meetings in the Spring Term.

As with all members of the Saint Mary’s Community, Public Safety staff would be expected to participate in GUIDE training developed and offered by CCIE, Human Resources.    

6.  Transparency in the number (not names or details) of complaints about Public Safety over the past 4 years per year. 

In the past 4 years, there have been four formal complaints submitted to Public Safety: two regarding the profiling of a student and two related to violations of the College standards for employee conduct.  Any complaints related to violations of the College policy would be investigated through Human Resources and the Executive Director/Chief of Public Safety.  All details of such investigations would be confidential.

Complaints related to bias incidents may also come through the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) and we confirmed that the four came through BIRT as well.  As part of the BIRT action, if such complaints are filed, they would be expected to go through a formal review and investigation that includes Human Resources and Public Safety Director. 

7.  Requirements for meaningful diversity, de-escalation, and cultural competency training as part of our ongoing contracts with any large external vendors, including local law enforcement, Sodexo, and local businesses. 

Public Safety does not contract with local law enforcement or local business.  Sodexo establishes a contract with SMC Administrative Services.

8.  Investment in research and testing of alternative policing models and alternatives to policing.

Beginning in 2019, Public Safety examined means of clarifying the role of the department at providing service and resources to the campus community as well as support for the conduct policies and protocols of the College.  The first step was to revise the uniforms of the Public Safety staff to better represent their role and appear less like a law enforcement body (e.g. removal of badges, ranks represented by stripes on sleeves, and blue formal wear).  The training being offered to Public Safety (e.g. victim-centered interviewing, cultural competency, de-escalation) further emphasizes its role in campus community support.  This work has begun and will continue under the new leadership that is anticipated for the Spring of 2021.