In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon tragedy, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth announced today the appointment of a three-person task force that will conduct a wide-ranging review of its policies and procedures. The task force will be chaired 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," said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman. "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."
Chancellor Grossman added: "While our University has received positive feedback from law enforcement authorities, students and parents for our response to this unprecedented challenge, 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 Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation in Washington, D.C.
"We are fortunate to have these esteemed professionals willing to commit their time and effort to this undertaking," Grossman said. "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. The task force will have full access to all necessary university resources and personnel, and the cooperation of everyone in the UMass Dartmouth community."
University of Massachusetts President Robert L. Caret applauded the creation of the task force. "UMass Dartmouth's performance in the days and weeks following the Boston Marathon tragedy has been exemplary in many respects," President Caret said. "The campus was safely evacuated and university officials worked closely with law enforcement authorities to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff. This task force, comprised of stellar experts in higher education and public safety, will help us all learn from the UMass Dartmouth experience."
University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees Chair Henry Thomas added: "I want to commend Chancellor Grossman for forming this panel of experts to conduct a comprehensive examination of the campus response to an unprecedented challenge. I am proud of UMass Dartmouth for its handling of this crisis and its willingness to engage in serious self-examination for the good of the entire university."
The panel is charged with conducting a full review of policies and procedures, including those related to the following:
-- Emergency planning related to public safety and business continuity.
-- Academic and financial policies and procedures related to maintaining "student in good standing" status.
-- Policies and procedures related to the recruitment and support of international students.
Chancellor Grossman has asked that the task force complete its report by Aug. 15.
"It's an honor to be tasked with this important initiative for a university that has provided access to a premier higher education for so many students who might otherwise not have that opportunity," said Dr. Cruzado. "My colleagues on this task force bring greatly valued perspective, experience and credentials to this mission. The work begins today."
Prior to her appointment as president of Montana State, Dr. Cruzado was the Executive Vice President and Provost at New Mexico State University from 2007-2010, serving as Interim President from 2008-2009. She served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at NMSU from 2003-2007. In 2011, she was honored as the Michael Malone Educator of the Year by Montana Ambassadors. In November 2012, she was appointed by President Obama to the Board of the International Food and Agricultural Development.
Dr. Herbst, prior to becoming president of the University of Connecticut (UCONN), was executive vice chancellor of the University System of Georgia. She was on the faculty of Northwestern University from 1989-2003, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education.
She served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at State University of New York at Albany from 2005-2007 and was dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Temple University from 2003-2005.
James Bueermann became president of the Police Foundation in Washington, D.C. after serving in the Redlands Police Department in California for 33 years. He was Chief of Police there from 1998 to 2011. Mr. Bueermann was the first police chief to be inducted as an honorary fellow in the Academy of Experimental Criminology and was an executive fellow at the U.S. Department of Justice National Institute of Justice. He also served as a senior fellow at George Mason University.
"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," Chancellor 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. In undertaking this review we have the opportunity to look closely at ourselves and be a model of accountability and transparency for others."
John Hoey, Chief of Staff and Assistant Chancellor/Public Affairs, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, (508) 999-8002 or (508) 264-5920 or firstname.lastname@example.org