CSEC undergoing increased training, accountability measures after UVSS negotiations

Campus News

Additional suicide intervention skills and Indigenous Cultural Acumen Training will be given to all CSEC officers

Campus Security building
File photo by Myles Sauer.

Following two major peace rallies that brought thousands of people to Victoria’s downtown core in support of Black lives last month, the University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) successfully negotiated for increased transparency and training for UVic’s Campus Security (CSEC). 

On July 14, the UVSS posted on their Facebook page that the additional training would be focused on Applied Suicide Intervention Skills and Indigenous Cultural Acumen Training (ICAT). All CSEC staff will complete this training by the end of the summer.  

“But to give credit where credit is due, the rising attention on Black Lives Matter and the minorities of the world stepping up and fighting for their rights has sparked us to look at our privilege and the power we have in our positions,” said Dalal Tubeishat, Director of Student Affairs, in a phone interview with the Martlet. 

“Especially when we are talking about training for the people in positions of authority it’s always on our mind,”

The increased attention on the Black Lives Matter movement  comes after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in police custody in Minneapolis two months ago.The ensuing protests across the U.S., U.K., and Canada continues to draw attention to racial inequality and police brutality. 

Tubeishat says the negotiations with CSEC began after Sarina de Havelyn, Director of Outreach and University Relations, raised the idea of increased training and accountability. From there, the directors debated some of the changes they wanted to see, and met with CSEC — who Tubeishat says were fully invested and open to their suggestions. 

“It just took us bringing it up for them [CSEC] to be totally willing to take on the asks,” said Tubeishat. 

In preparation for the negotiations, Tubeishat says the UVSS spent time learning more about the training CSEC offered and looking for any gaps in that instruction. She says one of the biggest focuses the student society agreed was missing was training that offered foundational knowledge about colonialism’s impact on Indigenous peoples in Canada. 

“One of the big gaps was the ICAT training that was neither mandatory nor encouraged really,” she said. “We recommended assistance in ICAT and they immediately said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it, we’ll have it done by the end of the summer.’ So that was great to see on UVic’s end of things.” 

De-escalation and how to assist with mental health issues — particularly how to consult and console with students — were other key factors the UVSS advocated for in their meetings with CSEC. 

“Continuing professional training is a priority for staff development across all areas of campus. Campus Security Services is no different than any other area in that regard,” said Paul Marck, UVic Associate Manager, Public Affairs, in an email interview with the Martlet. 

“Officers are registering in seven different workshops and proficiency training sessions this year, having recently completed an anti-racism workshop and de-escalation of mental health situation training. They are currently enrolling in online Applied Suicide Intervention Training and are taking face-to-face Indigenous Cultural Acumen Training, as will other administrative units, during the new school year.” 

In terms of accountability, the UVSS are having ongoing discussions about what those measures will look like. The student society is advocating for transparency within CSEC — particularly for them to outline the reasoning for the deployment of officers in specific situations. 

The UVSS is also hoping this information will be available through an accessible page on CSEC’s website, and integrated into student orientation. 

Coming out of these discussions, Tubeishat says she hopes the transparency will make students feel safe and illuminate CSEC’s presence on campus.

“I’m excited for students to feel safe knowing exactly what CSEC is and what they do, instead of mostly being in the dark.”