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higher education

UMass Dartmouth forms public safety task force in marathon bombing aftermath

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DARTMOUTH – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has created a three-person task force to conduct a review of its policies and procedures in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, Chancellor Divina Grossman announced Monday.

The three-person panel, which is slated to examine the school’s policies and procedures related to public safety, will be headed by Montana State University President Waded Cruzado.

“The terrible events of April 15 will linger and leave sorrow in the hearts of Americans for a long time,” Grossman said in prepared remarks. “Our campus – like everyone - mourns for those killed and injured, while remaining strong and resilient in support of the great City of Boston and this entire commonwealth.”

Grossman added that although UMass Dartmouth received “positive feedback” from law enforcement, students and parents, it is “important that we closely examine all related policies and procedures. We need to know what we did well and where we can improve so that our university and others across the nation can learn lessons from our experience.”

In addition to Cruzado, the task force will include University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst and James Bueerrmann, president of the Washington-based Police Foundation.

“We are fortunate to have these esteemed professionals willing to commit their time and effort to this undertaking,” Grossman said in a statement. “Each of the task force members combines the experience, expertise and integrity we need to ensure a high-quality review that will inform our future decision-making.”

Grossman added that the task force would have full access to all necessary resources and personnel, as well as the cooperation of “everyone in the UMass Dartmouth community.”

The panel is charged with conducting a full review of the school’s policies and procedures, including those related to: emergency planning related to public safety and business continuity; academic and financial policies and procedures related to maintaining “student in good standing” status; and policies and procedures related to the recruitment and support of international students.

The task force is set to complete its report by August 15.

“Universities play an important role in ensuring that international students are in compliance with the requirements of their student visas. That responsibility, as well as our duty to maintain a safe and secure campus environment, will be key areas in this review, and I look forward to this panel’s findings,” Grossman said.

“In addition, in order to maintain a campus atmosphere that values first and foremost the quality of education, universities must be vigilant in constructing and enforcing robust policies on student academic and financial responsibilities,” she added. “In undertaking this review we have the opportunity to look closely at ourselves and be a model of accountability and transparency for others.”

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