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Future of Vancouver’s College Liaison Officer program up for debate as review heads back to trustees

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Future of Vancouver’s College Liaison Officer program up for debate as review heads back to trustees

Members of Vancouver’s college community can hold the opportunity to weigh in on the long hasten of policing in the town’s colleges Monday.

That’s when an unbiased review into the Vancouver College District’s College Liaison Officer (SLO) program heads to the college board’s policy and governance committee.

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The district voted to review the program last June, amid a renewed civil rights flow spurred by the loss of life of George Floyd as he was detained by police.

Vancouver College Trustee Jennifer Reddy, who voted to slump the program in June, mentioned she’s starting up to hearing all views at Monday’s assembly.

“What I am searching to sort of zoom out towards is all over the question of these systems and the appropriateness, the values alignment, close we’ve values aligned, and what enviornment are we trying to solve?” she told Global Information.

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“What truly is the aim right here? And is this the most straightforward utilize of very restricted and dwindling public resources?”


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The SLO program has hasten since 1972 and currently entails 15 constables and two sergeants from the Vancouver Police Department, together with RCMP officers who encourage colleges on the College Endowment Lands. The program is totally funded by the VPD.

The review, finished by Argyle Communications and that will likely be considered in fat right here, spoke to workers, police, community groups, and students, with an emphasis on students who identified as Murky, Indigenous or folks of colour (BIPOC).

Total, it chanced on “a lack of working out of what the SLO program is and the blueprint it serves the broader pupil population.”

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The narrative chanced on a “spectrum” of experiences with the program from certain to negative, with some strong opinions on both side that the review chanced on were often correlated to folks’ experiences.

Critically, whereas about 61 per cent of students agreed the program contributed to a approach of security in colleges, that feeling was not properly represented amongst Murky and Indigenous students.

Appropriate 15 per cent of Murky students agreed, whereas 47 per cent of Indigenous students agreed.

Murky and Indigenous students were less likely to refer to certain relationships with officers, extra likely to utilize words worship “uncomfortable, anxious, anxious” and no more likely to utilize words worship “protected, supported and caring” to refer to officers.

Murky students were extra likely to survey police as symbols of greater societal considerations such as racism and oppression, whereas Indigenous students were extra likely to narrative discomfort round uniformed and armed officers.


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College students who identified as folks of colour moreover often expressed a deepest connection to officers they connected to, who would possibly unbiased hold come from a identical cultural background, as a depended on figure to flow to for guidance, support, and conversation.

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The majority of students expressed support for the program to proceed or to be sophisticated with small changes, but a “smaller but necessary group of students expressed a desire for the program to be dramatically modified or altered,” the review states.

Solutions on that front ranged from having officers be unarmed and out of uniform to entirely ending the program and changing officers with counsellors or other professionals.

Vancouver police insist the program serves security and community needs by blueprint of crime prevention, investigation and enforcement; by promoting police as an accessible community carrier; and by breaking down boundaries between youth and police.

“SLOs play a huge role in each and every fundamental and high colleges,” mentioned Const. Tania Visintin in an e mail.

“Mighty of what our SLOs close day-to-day is have interaction with the students and assign the colleges a pick up and inclusive role for them to learn. Whereas we with out a doubt close investigations, our focal level is on ‘public security’ and pupil/workers engagement.

Critics of the program insist it isn’t wanted and fosters an ambiance of grief or grief, particularly amongst students in racialized communities who would possibly unbiased hold had old negative experiences with policing.


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I don’t judge police hold a job in colleges based off of the overwhelming evidence of colleges being predominantly protected spaces,” community advocate Markiel Simpson mentioned.

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“And when there are circumstances of illegal activity, they’re going down, whether or not officers are on the premises or not, they’re not truly intervening in or combating any prison action from taking role.”

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Simpson mentioned he’s heard from students who’ve skilled relate forms of racism and perceived forms of systemic racism from the officers.

He moreover raised considerations that the narrative itself, by in search of “objectivity,” would possibly perhaps reduce payment the lived experiences of marginalized students.

“For instance, we’ve heard from, let’s insist, a entire bunch of students and perchance handiest a couple dozen Indigenous and Murky students — and the Indigenous and Murky students are experiencing hurt and are expressing deep considerations with the program,” she mentioned.

“But when we wash away these voices with these of these that aren’t in hurt’s manner with the program, it reductions what they’re trying to insist and it perpetuates systemic racism.”

A quantity of folks hold signed up to keep up a correspondence to trustees as they bag the review on Monday.

The board will then discuss the long hasten of the program at an April assembly.

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Future of Vancouver’s College Liaison Officer program up for debate as review heads back to trustees