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UVic requiring campus security staff to receive inclusivity training

Last Updated Jul 15, 2020 at 12:43 am PST

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — A B.C. university is re-evaluating staff training to push for more inclusivity around race and mental health to support staff, students and community members.

Campus Security Staff at the University of Victoria is now required to participate in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training and Indigenous Cultural Acumen Training.

“It was stemming from the Black Lives Matter movement and the heightened attention on policing bodies, and the real violence these members are inflicting on our community, so from these discussions, we were thinking of ways to address these issues in the UVic setting,” Dalal Tubeishat, the director of student affairs says.

The university’s student society advocated for the training, and all campus security staff will be required to take part before the fall term begins in September.

While most classes will be online, Tubeishat says there will still be some students in and around the school, using campus resources, and the training will equip security staff and students to have better communication.

“They do receive a lot of training and we can always have more but ICAT and suicide prevention training is some of the most important training these officers should have and we were really glad they were receptive to the training and implanting them into future processes.”

The university’s campus security website will also be updated to include information about what students can expect when they call, what measures security can take, and what accountability measures are in place.

Implementing this kind of training will not only benefit students but for staff as well according to Clinical Counsellor Dr. Natasha Ghosh.

“It isn’t only helpful for the person who needs help but for the person going in, because now you can go in with some sort of confidence or less uncertainty of what you might be facing in that situation and how you might respond, and that can only be good for all the people involved,” she says.

Ghosh adds, the change is a chance to provide tools and training to first responders, campus security, or law enforcement as their times change. The training is not there because staff are bad at their jobs she says.

The University of British Columbia tells CityNews it will also be re-evaluating staff training.

“We are in the process of working to engage an external agency to provide our officers with additional training as one of many commitments made in recent weeks by the university to better address issues of anti-Black, anti-Asian and anti-Indigenous racism and bias,” the statement from UBC’s Kurt Heinrich reads.