USC's Diversity Task Force, Department of Public Safety and students are teaming up to stop racial profiling at the university.
The group will form a Community Advisory Board to oversee DPS and the Diversity Task Force and ensure that discrimination reports don't fall through the cracks. This board is one of the many responses to the diversity awareness resulting from protests last fall.
The provost of USC will appoint 5 to 6 members to the Community Advisory Board for one-year terms, with meetings occurring each quarter. Provost Michael Quick has asked the Diversity Task Force for names of suggested members.
The board will provide recommendations annually to the provost and the Senior Vice President for Administration with a focus on quality of life, increasing university involvement, and DPS training, according to a memo issued by Quick.
"I believe that this board is poised for success and that the USC community will benefit greatly from its impact on matters of diversity and inclusion," Quick wrote in the memo.
Undergraduate Student Government President Rini Simpath held multiple forums last fall to address diversity on campus. Not only did students report racial profiling to be a serious problem on campus, but the reports themselves weren't getting resolved quickly enough.
But with this advisory board, USC is working toward a solution.
"This oversight committee is one of the resolution ideas from undergraduates to put the diversity issue to an end," said Diversity Task Force co-chair Varun Soni, who also acts as USC's Dean of Religious Life.
Starting in the fall, when DPS gets a report about diversity issues, it'll look to the Task Force for a "data-driven solution," Soni said.
DPS Chief John Thomas looked forward to more student engagement with the new advisory board.
"The more advisory groups the better," Thomas said. "We want students to become more engaged in the community. Hearing their ideas and having their opinion makes our jobs a lot easier."
Last fall, Gov. Jerry Brown signed an anti-racial profiling bill requiring police departments to collect demographic data on the people they stop. This data would be available to help gauge possible racial profiling. The bill also required a state advisory board to make sure the police address racial profiling-issues.
USC DPS is not a police department, but the advisory board will work toward similar goals.
Reach Staff Reporter Sophie Flay here.