The internal affairs investigation conducted by University Police Services and a separate investigation conducted by the University's Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX regarding the police traffic stop earlier in the fall have been completed. Appropriate steps have been taken following University and Nevada personnel policies. It should be noted that personnel actions are confidential by law, due to Nevada Administrative Code 284.718.
I understand and empathize with individuals who feel frustration regarding the traffic stop and its aftermath. The thoughts, suggestions and personal testimony shared by our faculty, staff and students have reinforced in my mind the importance of a safe and welcoming campus environment.
The Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office, Chief Diversity Officer and Police Services have worked to improve the efficiency and responsiveness of our reporting policy and procedures when a crime, threatening action, or threatening words are reported. Further, Chief Adam Garcia has been meeting personally with numerous student groups on campus to understand their perceptions of safety, and will continue to do so. He has also instituted comprehensive training processes called "Bias Policing Training" for all department members, with participation from respected community members. The department has embarked on a recruitment drive to further diversify the department. Training will be ongoing.
Given what has been happening in our country, I can understand why some might feel that official statements denouncing hateful words and actions are not enough. We've had many conversations, meetings and workshops this semester to address these events and the impact they've had on our campus. We will continue to hire the most diverse faculty we can, to bring the campus together for thoughtful, meaningful dialogue on the subjects of diversity and inclusion, and continue to hold trainings and workshops so that we can all better understand each other in the workplace and in the classroom.
This is our focus going forward.
- Marc Johnson, President, University of Nevada, Reno
For those who have seen the Halloween costume of one of our officers apparently mocking a citizen who has chosen to take advantage of his constitutional right to protest, I offer my sincere apologies. Members of our profession are held to a higher standard and denigrating another - on or off duty - is insensitive for its lack of respect and lack of understanding on how others may negatively view their actions and may be impacted.
I have heard from many members of our community over the past few weeks that they feel unsafe on campus because of our current social and political climate. Behavior such as this magnifies unsafe feelings and lack of trust in police, especially when that individual is responsible for the safety of all members of the University, regardless of color, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion. At a time when officers should be heightened in their attentiveness to perception by our community, this act seems extremely out of touch with those sentiments and reflects poorly on all of us.
To regain the trust of our students, and in particular those of color, will be a challenge and will be a priority through continued education, training and conversation.
- Adam Garcia, Assistant Vice President & Director, Police Services, University of Nevada, Reno
A message from President Johnson
To the University Community,
Recently, the Church Fine Arts "graffiti stairwell" was tagged with swastikas and threatening language. The stairwell is a space intended as a celebration of artistic expression.
University Police has asked that anyone with information related to this incident please contact them at (775) 334-2677.
In response to the tagging, Dean Debra Moddelmog and her colleagues in the College of Liberal Arts are inviting graffiti artists, students and faculty to join them this Sunday (10/15) at 2 p.m. to repaint and restore the graffiti stairwell to its function as an artistic creative outlet for art over violence.
Dean Moddelmog stated that, "Taking back the stairwell demonstrates our commitment to love over hate, peace over violence, and community over intimidation."
University President Marc Johnson
To the campus community:
The University, our community and the entire state are in mourning today for our friends and family in Las Vegas in the aftermath of the tragic shooting. Our campus has numerous connections with Las Vegas, from students who proudly call Las Vegas their home to colleagues, friends and alumni who live and work there. Our campus is deeply saddened by what has happened. Our condolences and prayers go out to all of the victims, their families and their friends.
We ask the campus community to reach out for services that are available to help, to counsel and answer questions. These services include the Counseling Center (www.unr.edu/counseling or 784-4648) and the Associate Vice President for Student Life (784-1471) can assist with class absences, academic, financial and personal support.
A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at the Gateway Plaza in front of the Joe Crowley Student Union. The campus community, as well as the community at large is invited to participate.
Please continue to keep those affected, both directly and indirectly, in your thoughts.
University President Marc Johnson
Two University Police officers conducted a traffic stop early Sunday morning in which inappropriate and offensive comments were made to a University graduate student by the officers. The comments were captured on a body camera.
I have seen the video and I find the language that was used to be disturbing, offensive and unacceptable. I condemn this reprehensible language, and again, offer my sincerest apologies to the graduate student for what occurred.
I am deeply concerned about the distress that was placed on the graduate student. I commend the student's courage in reporting this incident, it was a brave thing to do. I've spoken personally to the graduate student, as has University President Marc Johnson. Both President Johnson and I have personally apologized to the graduate student for the comments that were made.
University Police and the University's Title IX Office are investigating, following our personnel policies and procedures, and we are moving quickly to determine our most appropriate action. One of the officer's has been placed on administrative leave and is not on campus.
The words that were used during the traffic stop are deplorable and have no place in the important interaction that must occur between members of our community and our Police Department. At a time of heightened fear and anxiety throughout the country and on campus, the impact of the statements was further compounded.