During her first 10 days as chancellor, Michelle Marks met with students, faculty, and staff in listening sessions focused exclusively on racial justice and equity. The thoughtfulness and concerns expressed in those discussions, and the desire to improve the campus climate, inspired her commitment to a number of actions, both short-term and long-term, toward a more socially and racially just campus. Establishing the Auraria Campus Police Department (ACPD) Community Advisory Board was one of them.
Now through Oct. 12, the ACPD Community Advisory Board is accepting applications from CU Denver students, faculty, and staff who want to play an active role in discussions on improving public safety and enhancing trust among the campus community.
“I believe the work of this board will be an important first step in ensuring that the needs of all of our communities—and especially our Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities—are better served by the Auraria Campus Police Department,” Marks said.
Addressing Campus Issues and Concerns on Public Safety
Earlier this year, in response to calls for racial justice and equity from communities nationwide, the ACPD solicited the support of CU Denver, Metropolitan State University (MSU), the Community College of Denver (CCD), and the Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC) to assist in developing the mission and goals of the ACPD Community Advisory Board. Marks requested Omar Montgomery, director of Black Student Services and Educational Opportunity Programs at CU Denver, with the help of Paul Taylor, PhD, an assistant professor in the School of Public Affairs who specializes in community policing, to represent CU Denver.
In close collaboration with leaders from the other three institutions, Marks, Montgomery, and Taylor helped define the mission of the ACPD Community Advisory Board: to increase dialogue and identify opportunities for further collaboration and enhanced partnerships around public safety. The board will make recommendations to the ACPD on campus issues and concerns, community outreach programs, and training and policy development, to ensure public safety aligns with campus community best practices.
“The board will be an active group of students, faculty, staff, and members of the surrounding Denver community who will work collaboratively to proactively resolve issues that impact the safety and quality of life for all members of the Auraria Campus community,” Montgomery said.
Viewing Policies and Actions With an “Equity Lens”
Membership applications are available on the Auraria Campus website and must be submitted by midnight on Monday, Oct. 12. CU Denver, CCD, and MSU will develop their own process to select a total of three representative—one student, one staff member, and one faculty member—to represent their institution on the ACPD Community Advisory Board.
Responsibilities of these representatives will include engaging in ongoing communication with our campus community, fostering partnerships with relative external organizations, and making recommendations to the ACPD chief about issues within the campus community (see full list of responsibilities below). Each new member must complete an orientation course with the ACPD, including a four-hour block of instruction and a four-hour ride-along with an ACPD officer, adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
CU Denver is currently finalizing the process to select the individuals who will represent the university, with the goal to have a process in place by Oct. 10, Montgomery said. The selection committee will meet to narrow down the applicants. The ACPD Community Advisory Board is expected to have its first official meeting toward the end of October or early November.
Marks hopes the ACPD Community Advisory Board will open the doors to dialogue, self-reflective learning, and action by the ACPD and its board to view its policies and actions with an equity lens, she said.
“This will ultimately contribute to a more just and equitable sense of belonging at CU Denver and for all the Auraria Campus community,” Marks said.