News

VCUPD chief: U.S. law enforcement ‘needs a new scorecard’

July 21, 2016

People are clamoring to improve trust between communities and the police, even as fatal events across the country widen divisions between law enforcement and the public, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Chief John Venuti said Thursday.

“America is screaming for changes,” Venuti said at a local forum on diversity and inclusion. “As loud as the cries are for change, we continue to see these horrific events — events that happen hundreds of miles away that shatter the trust that people have in regional law enforcement.”

Speaking at the Greater Richmond Society of Human Resource Management and VCU Diversity and Inclusion Symposium, Venuti and Eric English, deputy chief of the Richmond Police Department, discussed steps their departments have taken to improve trust between communities and the police. The symposium brought together public and private organizations to talk about key issues in diversity and inclusion, and also featured a roundtable discussion that included VCU Health CEO Marsha Rappley.

At the heart of the effort, Venuti said, is a style of policing based on understanding local needs. That means increasing demographic diversity among officers and using technology and data to improve effectiveness and transparency.

“As far as inclusion, we try to mirror our community in our hiring practices,” English said. “Sometimes that’s difficult. But it helps you build better relationships and form partnerships.”

Those partnerships with groups, organizations and individual citizens are critical, English and Venuti said. Gone are the days of using only crime data to determine the effectiveness of law enforcement.

“Ultimately, those healthy relationships between police and communities, that’s where trust is formed,” Venuti said. “Measuring crime is an important statistic, but it's not the only thing we need. America needs a new scorecard.”

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Group led by VCU professor offers counseling sessions in aftermath of shootings

July 14, 2016

An excerpt from Richmond Times-Dispatch, Wednesday, July 13, 2016:

A group of African-American psychologists will offer counseling services at no charge Thursday and Friday for individuals and families who need a safe space to talk about the fatal police shootings of two black men and the deaths of five police officers that followed in Dallas.

“There’s a lot of anxiety and confusion as well as grieving,” said Shawn Utsey, a Virginia Commonwealth University psychology professor who mobilized the trauma response team.

Thursday’s counseling sessions will be held between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on the VCU campus at the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, 907 Floyd Ave., and from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Richmond Public Library, 101 E. Franklin St.

On Friday, the sessions will be held at the VCU location from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from noon to 3 p.m.; at the library from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and then from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the East District Family Resource Center, 2405 Jefferson Ave.

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Young African Leaders Gather at VCU

June 21, 2016

Fifty of Africa’s brightest emerging leaders in the areas of public management, business and entrepreneurship are spending June 20-July 31 in Richmond participating in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.  For the second consecutive year, Virginia Commonwealth University will host this prestigious flagship program, co-sponsored by the VCU Global Education Office, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, and School of Business.  Read more here:  VCU News

Statement on Orlando Tragedy

June 14, 2016

The news from this weekend has sadly spoken to the delicate nature of the lives that Equality VCU has long sought to protect and ensure were treated equitably as members of the VCU community. We express our heartfelt condolences to community members in Orlando and their families and friends. We stand in strong support beside our Queer Latinx and Muslim communities. We remain as vigilant as ever before to ensure that all community members at VCU are not only welcomed on campus, but treated as the human beings they are through policy making and programmatic development that emphasizes their full inclusion. As we continue to reflect and heal from the Orlando tragedy, Equality VCU endeavors to work with our community to convict the conditions and oppressive ideologies that give rise to such violence. Finally, we acknowledge that gun violence threatens all of us, regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. We stand ready with VCU leadership to support our community and create a culture of full inclusion at VCU. 

 – Equality VCU and Inclusive Excellence

Public Radio Project Launched by VCU Alumna Documents a Changing Richmond

May 23, 2016

As part of a newly launched public radio project called “UnMonumental,” a Virginia Commonwealth University alumna and a VCU instructor of African American Studies are telling everyday histories of Richmond through the voices of the people who live in the city today.
 
“Richmond’s got a lot of monuments, but they don’t all speak to the experiences of the people who live here,” said Kelley Libby, who graduated from the Department of English in the College of Humanities and Sciences in 2010. “I wanted to create a project that tells a different, more nuanced story of Richmond than the one that’s set in stone in places like Monument Avenue.”
 
Read more here.
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