Independent Review Committee
The Independent Review Committee (IRC) was formed to review and offer recommendations about campus safety and preparedness, specifically in response to the events of September 23rd.
DePauw's 19th President Brian W. Casey – with the full support of former Mayor Sue Murray, current Mayor Bill Dory and the City of Greencastle – charged a committee of external advisers to review campus preparedness and offer forward-looking recommendations designed to improve the safety and security for all those who are part of this community.
The IRC released their recommendations on Monday, March 14, 2016, along with their full report on the events of September 23.
In an email to the DePauw University community, Brian W. Casey thanked the committee for their work and charged his administration – in cooperation with the Board of Trustees and faculty governance – to begin implementing the IRC recommendations immediately:
I write to inform you that the Independent Review Committee (the “IRC”) charged with reviewing the events of September 23rd has completed its work and released its report and set of recommendations. You may access the Committee’s report and recommendations on the DePauw University website here and learn more about the membership and work of the Committee here.
DePauw appointed the IRC because we believed that we needed external and independent guidance from well-respected experts to evaluate the University’s response to the difficult and painful events of September 23rd.
The report now available to us highlights many deficiencies in the University’s preparedness and response to the events of that day. As you will see upon reading the report the Committee also points to deeper cultural issues on this campus that we must address.
Specific IRC Recommendations
The committee offers specific recommendations as to how we can create a safer campus and how we can work with the City of Greencastle to achieve that end. Among the recommendations are the creation of a Campus-Community Liaison Committee and the implementation of new orientation procedures.
As these, and the other, specific campus safety recommendations offer positive and constructive steps for us to take, I will ask members of the administration to begin implementing them immediately. I will also seek the guidance of the Faculty Governance Committee and Student Life Committee, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees and DePauw Student Government to ensure that the University as a whole is engaged in the implementation of these specific IRC recommendations. This is important work that calls for an intentional and deliberate campus-wide response.
Creating an Inclusive Campus
Importantly—and as the IRC report directly notes—while the focus of the Committee’s work centered on campus safety and the events of September 23rd, these events clearly intersected with ongoing and longstanding issues about the overall inclusiveness of DePauw’s community.
The University cannot divorce itself from the larger – and national – impact of racism on the day-to-day lives of members of this community. Our shared institutional values of inquiry, justice and community prevent us from doing so. This cannot be a great institution if there are members of our community that do not feel safe or who suffer daily injustices.
For these reasons, I will ask that the University’s Diversity and Equity Committee review this report and that it incorporate these recommendations, where appropriate, in the ongoing development of the institution’s five-year Diversity and Inclusion Plan.
In the weeks ahead, members of the administration will provide additional updates to the DePauw community regarding how IRC recommendations will be implemented and how you may share your suggestions.
I thank the IRC members for their work as well as for their critiques and guidance. I also thank Greencastle Mayor Bill Dory – in addition to former Mayor Sue Murray – who have been important partners to the University throughout this process.
I am committed, as is the entire senior administration, to the work before us as we address these important matters.
In the weeks and months ahead, members of the administration will provide additional updates to the DePauw community regarding how IRC recommendations will be implemented.
Committee Membership and Process
The membership of the Independent Review Committee consisted of Myra Selby, former associate justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, and partner of Ice Miller law firm; Joe Slash, retired president of the Indianapolis Urban League and former Indianapolis deputy mayor; and Troy Riggs, former director of public safety in Indianapolis and current Chief of Police for the Indianapolis Police Department. Selby also served as the IRC’s chair.
Between October 2015 and February 2016, the IRC conducted an extensive inquiry into the events of September 23, including the university and public safety response. This review included meetings with the individuals and groups directly connected to the events of September 23, meetings with other key constituents from across campus, hosting multiple open forms, and soliciting direct (and anonymous) feedback and input from the University community at large.