Administrators update community on social justice initiatives, add Juneteenth as paid holiday


Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Administrators announced changes to University safety policies. These follow ongoing discussions between University leadership and the Community Safety Advisory Board.

Waverly Long, Campus Editor

Senior administrators provided updates to the University’s 10 racial and social justice initiatives in a Tuesday universitywide email. 

Starting in 2022, NU will celebrate Juneteenth as a paid University holiday. The email also highlighted the reopening of The Black House, which officially took place on Oct. 15. Throughout the two-year renovation, those overseeing the project focused on “celebrating Black culture and intellectual traditions as well as improved accessibility,” the email read.

Administrators also announced changes to University safety policies, the result of ongoing discussions between University leadership and the Community Safety Advisory Board. These policies were sparked by the results of an external review of the Department of Safety and Security, the email said.

The unarmed, civilian Community Service Officer function will transition from being led by security personnel to civilian leadership. Civilian leaders will receive an additional $1.2 million of funding that was previously in the armed security budget.

To decrease the presence of armed officers on campus, the email said, the University will assign tasks that previously fell under the purview of the police to unarmed civilian staff units, including the mental health counselor team and the facilities team.

Complaints about members or actions of Safety and Security will now go to University Compliance and be investigated by civilian leadership.

The email also discussed recent University changes that have already been put in place, including anti-racism programming for about 250 faculty and staff leaders, campuswide social justice and anti-racism education efforts, Social Justice Mini Grants awarded to graduate student organizations and the hiring of the University’s first ombudsperson.

Administrators emphasized the University’s commitment to advancing equity and justice in NU’s communities and directly denounced recent anti-Indigenous vandalism at The Rock.

“We know that much work remains to be done in examining and addressing injustice and in building a truly inclusive Northwestern,” the email read. “We also know that this community is determined to continue to work together toward these ends. We thank you.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @waverly_long

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