External review leads to creation of new campus security position

Following an external review of UBC's Campus Security released earlier this year, UBC will be creating a new position — Head of Profession of Campus Security. The position is expected to be filled in early 2017.

The external review published this summer, acknowledged that senior leaders in UBC departments are skilled and able to contribute to board safety and security aims, but noted a lack of leadership.

“On the Vancouver campus there is a lack of leadership in bringing those skills and abilities together for the common good of community safety,’’ read the Campus Security External Review.

In order to help fix this, the review recommended the appointment of a Head of Profession, to not only connect the various existing safety resources on campus in a more effective way, but also "take personal responsibility for managing the University's relationship with senior stakeholders, in all matters related to community safety". 

“Charge the Head of Profession with bringing together and leveraging the resources and goodwill of stakeholders in all matters related to community safety and security,’’ said recommendation 13 of the external review.

The hiring committee for the new position will include VP Students Louise Cowin, Debbie Harvie — the managing director of university community services, Managing Director of Student Development and Services Janet Teasdale, UBC law professor Ben Goold and a member of the original external review committee.

“What we're looking for ideally is someone who not only has that background in security but also comes with very finely tuned emotional intelligence,’’ said Cowin. “[Someone who sees] security is not about locks and keys and kind of hardcore policing, but .... [as] much more of a community policing-type model.’’

“This person has to be a compelling leader who can also engage the entire community in terms of helping direct a vision for how we all can engage in creating the community that we want to study work live and play in,’’ she said.   

“The way in which that position has been carried out over the last little while has been much more just operational”, said Cowin, “so it’s a new focus.” She went on to say that the new position will interact with students by soliciting students’ input on campus security issues, creating opportunities for discussion between students and administration, and encourage safe practices among the entire UBC community.

At this point it is uncertain exactly what the administrative structure below the new position will be — and much of that structure will be left up to the person hired to create — but the position will report directly to the executive.

“Right now is we're figuring out the structure underneath this person,’’ said Cowin. “But really, we don't want to pre-empt the decisions that the new person is going to make. So we want to hire a leader who has the strengths and the relevance of background to be able to create that structure.’’

However, Cowin said that through this position, the university will be soliciting much more student opinion.

“We'll be creating tables around which students will also have membership to discuss and reflect on safety on the campus and so I think that this is a new tone,’’ she said. 

“The creation of a safe community is something that we all have responsibility for, and I think that’s very much the active message that this person is going to be a very visible leader in articulating,’’ said Cowin.