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A Culture of Care

Read Smith’s plans for the spring 2021 semester.
Current Operating Mode: GREEN

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will there be staffing changes to the existing campus police department?
A: Because all campus police officers are currently employed by Mount Holyoke College, changes in staffing and reporting structure will be required to create an independent Smith College safety force. The college will work closely with the community to develop a staffing model that meets the needs of the college.

Q: Will students, faculty and staff have an opportunity to participate in the re-envisioning of campus safety, including the search for a new Smith College campus safety leader?
A: Yes. The college will host listening sessions and provide multiple feedback opportunities throughout the re-envisioning process. Additionally, the search committee for the new Smith College campus safety leader will have student representation. The search process will also provide opportunities for students, staff and faculty to meet finalists and provide feedback to the search committee.

Q: How can campus police be reached during the transition year?
A: As is currently the case, members of the Smith community will contact campus police by dialing 2490 from any campus phone or 413-585-2490 from a cell phone or off campus. 

Q: How long has the campus police collaborative been in place?
A: The collaborative has been in place since 2009. Prior to then, the campuses shared a police chief but not a combined force.

Q: Is this change a response to any specific event?
A: No. In recent years, Smith has have increasingly recognized the need to develop approaches to campus safety and security that are tailored to the specific needs of the Smith campus.

Q: Is Smith College considering an armed campus safety organization?
A: The college has no plans to consider an armed force. In situations involving a serious crime or act of violence, officers will continue to partner with the Northampton Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police force based in Northampton to ensure a prompt and comprehensive response.

Q: What is the role and makeup of the Ad Hoc Campus Safety Advisory Group (CSAG)
A: The Campus Safety Advisory Group (CSAG) has been convened to shape and guide a community-focused process to re-envision an independent Smith College model for campus safety.

The group is charged with overseeing and supporting the process to re-envision a model for campus safety at Smith. The group will oversee an external consultant, D. Stafford & Associates, who will:

  • Assess the current campus safety environment
  • Conduct a needs assessment
  • Develop a plan for the college’s independent campus safety organization

The group will make recommendations to the vice president for finance and administration and the president, who will make the final decision on the future direction of campus safety at Smith.

Q: How were the members of the CSAG chosen?
A: The staff and faculty members of the Ad Hoc CSAG were appointed by President McCartney to bring a broad range of perspectives and campus leadership. The three student members of the CSAG were chosen through an application process overseen by the Student Government Association (SGA) and the dean of students. The membership list is available on the CSAG website

Q: What is the role of D. Stafford & Associates, and how were they selected? 
A: D. Stafford & Associates will advise the college, through its work with the CSAG and community feedback, on how to design and implement an independent public safety model for Smith College. D. Stafford & Associates was selected from a competitive pool of proposals in recognition of the firm’s focus on responsive community engagement. D. Stafford & Associates will remain in a consulting role through June 30, 2020, at which point Smith College will begin operating an independent campus safety organization.

Q: What individual stakeholder groups will CSAG and D. Stafford & Associates meet with?
A: CSAG identified and scheduled meetings with more than one dozen groups for individual feedback in addition to the three public sessions. These include student affinity organizations; student, faculty and staff leadership; individual departments and more. 

Q: Are there other ways to share feedback beyond the three public sessions?
A: Yes. CSAG will host multiple individual stakeholder meetings with key groups beyond the three public sessions. Additionally, feedback can be shared with CSAG and D. Stafford & Associates by emailing or by submitting comments anonymously through the CSAG website. 

Q: What is the role of Interim Campus Safety Director Debra Duncan?
A: Debra Duncan is the lead, on-site member of the D. Stafford & Associates team tasked with preparing Smith to operate an independent campus safety department. Her role will be to engage with the Smith community to understand the college’s unique needs, and to design and build a campus safety model that meets those needs. Additionally, she will partner with Smith to expand the college’s emergency preparedness and response structures by drawing on her extensive experience as a chief of police in both public departments and educational institutions. She will remain in this role until a a leader is hired for the new campus safety organization.

Q: When will Smith hire a leader for the new campus safety organization?
A: The college plans to launch a national search to hire a campus safety leader by late 2020 or early 2021.

Q: Will the feedback from the listening sessions be shared with the community? 
A: Yes. A playback of the listening sessions can be found here