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University of Utah’s first safety review committee transitions to new leaders

The University of Utah’s safety review committee will enter its third year with new leaders and members dedicated to keeping the Public Safety Department responsive and accountable to campus.

The Independent Review Committee’s original chairman Amos Guiora, S.J. Quinney College of Law professor, will step down as chairman this month, after leading the fledgling IRC committee from its inception.

“The university is in Professor Guiora’s debt, as he led our initial public safety review committee through its early days,” said Cathy Anderson, chief financial officer. “Our Independent Review Committee is the thoughtful, dispassionate advisory group campus safety professionals need to guide the department into the future because of the wisdom and experience of its first members.”

Allyson Mower, the university’s scholarly communication and copyright librarian, will be the new IRC chair for the upcoming term. The committee includes 11 members from groups across campus, including ASUU; Housing and Residential Education; and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. Each member serves a two-year term.

The inaugural IRC members were:

  • Chairman Amos Guiora, professor, College of Law
  • Shantel Arraiz, staff, linguistics
  • Malea Bauer, undergraduate student
  • Kate Charpiar, staff, athletics
  • Bob Goldberg, professor, Department of History
  • Madeline Harker, undergraduate student
  • April Mills, staff, School of Biological Sciences
  • Natalie Beal, law student
  • Sabah Sial, undergraduate student
  • Eric Thompson, graduate student
  • Eric Thorne, law student

Anderson and Chief Safety Officer Keith Squires thanked the committee members and Guiora for their service on the inaugural IRC.

“Any complaints about any member of the Public Safety Department—including myself—will be investigated thoroughly and treated consistently,” Squires said. “The Independent Review Committee is a critical part of our work to build trust with and be accountable to the campus community.”

The U’s Independent Review Committee was established as a result of the investigation into student-athlete Lauren McCluskey’s death in 2018. Creating an IRC was one of 30 safety improvements recommended by the independent review panel. Such “civilian review or oversight” committees are considered best practice for department accountability and transparency.

The university’s committee is meant to “foster the campus community’s and the public’s confidence and trust in the university’s safety personnel,” according to its charter. Independent of the Public Safety Department, the IRC:

  • Reviews complaints brought against police and security officers and referring them to Public Safety Department leadership for review
  • Provides a “neutral, unbiased” review of U Safety investigations and any sanctions relating to use of excessive force, violation of rights, abusive language, or dereliction of duty
  • Produces annual reports of all complaints, investigations and findings
  • Advises the university’s chief safety officer and president

IRC reviews do not replace the department internal review and disciplinary processes.