Responses to “Final Report of Investigation for the University of Chicago”

To:     President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Thomas F. Rosenbaum

From: Nim Chinniah, Executive Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer;
          and Karen Warren Coleman, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services

Re:     Responses to “Final Report of Investigation for the University of Chicago”

Date:  May 20, 2013

In response to the findings and recommendations of the external investigation conducted by Patricia Brown Holmes and her colleagues at Schiff Hardin LLP, we have identified a number of steps we can take to ensure that University policing and staff work to support protest as a legitimate and important form of free expression at the University of Chicago:

  • In their findings on the use of undercover police tactics at the demonstration of Feb. 23, the investigators deemed a UCPD detective’s actions “reasonable,” while the commanding officer’s direction was found “unreasonable.” Those findings are consistent with a UCPD internal investigation. The commanding officer is no longer employed by UCPD.
  • UCPD will draft and implement general orders specifying the appropriate use of plain-clothes officers, the appropriate circumstances for undercover policing, and how such undercover policing will be conducted. These orders will make it clear that campus protests and demonstrations shall not be the target of undercover activity.
  • UCPD will draft and implement general orders specific to demonstrations and protests, based on University values, policies and protocols.
  • UCPD will train all sworn personnel prior to implementation of new general orders.
  • UCPD will conduct refresher training in the proper method for opening an expandable baton.
  • The office of Campus and Student Life will clarify the role of the Dean-on-Call program, better define its purposes, functions and limitations, and clarify how students can seek its support. All reference and education material regarding the Dean-on-Call program will be reviewed, and where appropriate, strengthened. Training for Deans-on-Call will be reviewed, and where appropriate, strengthened.
  • Campus and Student Life officials will identify the ways and locations in which the University communicates its broader protest and demonstration policies, and analyze each for clarity and accessibility. Officials will look for new training opportunities, especially for students, student leaders and student organizations.

In light of the campus discussion around these two protests, we believe it is important that the report answers several questions that had arisen:

  • Investigators found no evidence that police used excessive or inappropriate force on Jan. 27, or that arrests were discriminatory.
  • Investigators found no evidence of undercover policing at any previous protests.
  • Investigators found no evidence that staff violated any formal policies or protocol, including the actions of and related to the Dean-on-Call.

We recognize that these findings and steps will not address all questions raised by these two demonstrations, but we do believe they will benefit the University community and help prevent future problems. Our work should complement the faculty-led discussions underway, including the review of the Committee on Dissent and Protest, and we are committed to taking additional actions as a result of recommendations coming out of those discussions. We thank members of our community for their participation in the review process and look forward to working with faculty, students and staff to implement these changes.