Campus Police Leadership
April 10, 2019
Dear students, staff and faculty:
In recent weeks, members of our campus community have voiced a lack of trust in recently appointed Campus Police Chief Daniel Hect, who leads campus police at Smith and Mount Holyoke colleges. Similar concerns have been raised at Mount Holyoke. In light of these concerns, the colleges have placed Chief Hect on administrative leave.
Deputy Campus Police Chief Ray LaBarre has been appointed Acting Chief of Campus Police, a leadership role he has previously held.
We are working together with Mount Holyoke on next steps. I pledge to keep the campus community informed.
Q: Was Daniel Hect placed on administrative leave because of his social media posts or political beliefs?
A: No. Daniel Hect was not placed on leave because of social media activity or personal politics.
Q: Was Daniel Hect fired?
A: No. Daniel Hect is on paid administrative leave pending a review by both campuses.
Q: Who employs Smith and Mount Holyoke’s Campus Police Department?
A: While all Campus Police officers and staff are employees of Mount Holyoke College, they are supervised jointly by Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges in the provision of safety and dispatch services to both campuses.
Q: What role does each college have in the hiring process of the Campus Police chief?
A: Like all campus police staff, the chief of Campus Police reports to Mount Holyoke’s Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer. Each campus had representation on the search committee for the chief, providing feedback throughout the process and hosting on-campus interviews with various campus constituents. After consulting with Smith’s Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, Mount Holyoke’s Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer extended the employment offer to the finalist in accordance with the reporting structure of the department.
Q: Do Smith or Mount Holyoke colleges take political beliefs or personal views expressed through social media into account in the hiring process?
A: No. Hiring decisions are based on the ability of a candidate to fulfill the roles and requirements of the job description and, for all Smith College employees, a full background check.
Q: Were the colleges aware of the employee’s social media posts before he was hired? Is social media part of a standard legal background check?
A: It has not been Smith’s practice to review applicants’ social media.
Q: Will Smith College revisit its hiring policies in light of this incident?
A: Smith continually reviews its hiring practices to ensure they are aligned with best practices.
Q: Were media barred from Inclusion in Action?
A: In advance of April 10, the Inclusion in Action Steering Committee, comprising students, staff and faculty, endorsed the following statement, which is consistent with the approach other institutions have taken around similar events.
The events of April 10 are limited to Smith College students, faculty and staff. Therefore:
Photography and reporting (including photography and reporting by student media) are allowed at the opening and closing keynote events, pending advance approval by the speakers. (Please note, however, that the keynote speakers’ contracts prohibit recording of these events.)
In order to protect confidentiality and create open environments for dialogue, photography, recording and reporting are not allowed at any other sessions.
Q: Are there ways for students to be involved in matters related to Campus Police?
A: Students have been invited to join a Community Advisory Committee that will serve as a liaison group between students and campus police.