When the new Community Board on Public Safety meets for the first time on Nov. 24, co-chairs Patrick H. Dunkley, deputy athletic director, and Claude M. Steele, professor emeritus of psychology, will present an ambitious workplan for 2020-21 with a goal to produce a set of public safety recommendations to senior leadership by May 2021.

Patrick Dunkley, left, and Claude Steele co-chair the Community Board on Public Safety. (Image credit: Courtesy Patrick Dunkley and Claude Steele)

Since their appointment by President Marc Tessier-Lavigne in late July, Dunkley and Steele have been hard at work delving into the issues around campus safety while developing a structure, workplan and meeting schedule for the board.

In the past few months, they have worked with the president to interview potential candidates for the board, resulting in the appointment of 16 members representing students, faculty, staff and other community members (listed below). In addition, Dunkley and Steele have reviewed public safety data and participated in dozens of meetings – with Stanford leadership, various campus groups and members of the newly formed Black Community Council, as well as with Santa Clara County officials.

Following the tragic national events earlier this year that put a spotlight on racial injustice and police brutality, Tessier-Lavigne established the board to ensure that Stanford is maintaining a healthy and safe environment, and that the university’s public safety policies and practices are consistent with the university’s values.

“We’ve talked to groups that report feeling unsafe and hectored on our campus – feelings that we know have existed for a long time,” Steele said. “The aim of this board is to bring the various parts of our community together to develop recommendations that address this unsettling problem and, in the long term, monitor the effectiveness of those recommendations, using as much data and evidence as possible.”

Workplan for 2020-21

From November through January, the Community Board on Public Safety will be engaged in an education and community input phase.

“Our first effort is to develop an understanding of where we are as a community on the management of public safety,” Steele said. “We’re trying to hear from everybody, gather as much data as we can manage – from the county, from our own Department of Public Safety, from every part of the campus that’s relevant. We need to get a good appraisal of where we are. It’s going to take a while, but we want to become the campus intelligence about public safety. Then we can begin to generate informed recommendations.”

In the next phase, from February through March, Dunkley and Steele said that the board will likely break into smaller work groups to develop recommendations for various aspects of Stanford’s public safety. As much as possible, each work group will include representatives from all the groups represented on the board.

During April the board will finalize its recommendations with the goal of producing an annual report that will be presented in May to Tessier-Lavigne, the provost, general counsel and the director of public safety.

In addition to the Nov. 24 meeting, the board will meet again before winter break. Dunkley and Steele said there will be opportunities in the future for community input through open meetings and forums.

Stanford’s Department of Public Safety

The Community Board on Public Safety is an independent board; however, it will work closely with Stanford’s Department of Public Safety on the development of its recommendations.

Stanford Director of Public Safety Laura Wilson said she and her staff are looking forward to working with the board to examine how they can improve the way they provide services to the community.

“That persons of color, especially Black individuals, don’t feel safe on our campus is antithetical to values I hold dear – equity and respect,” Wilson said. “When I started with DPS over 28 years ago, having graduated from Stanford the year before, I saw and felt barriers between officers and the Stanford community, stemming, I believed, from a lack of understanding and trust. Clearly, more work needs to be done, and I am hopeful that the Community Board on Public Safety will assist DPS in being able to provide public safety services in ways that respect and honor the diversity of our community and to build trust where it is absent.”

Composition of the Community Board on Public Safety

The board is composed of three faculty members, two undergraduate students and two graduate students, three staff members, three community members, and three members of Stanford’s Department of Public Safety.

“It’s a very diverse board that’s intended to cover all the meaningful constituencies across the campus,” Dunkley said. “We want to make sure we’re hearing the voices of all parts of our community and that all voices have meaningful input into what the recommendations look like. It’s important that everyone has a seat at the table.”

The membership of the board is as follows:


  • Iris C. Gibbs, MD, professor of radiation oncology and professor of neurosurgery, by courtesy, at Stanford University Medical Center
  • Matthew Snipp, vice provost for faculty development, diversity and engagement and Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences (sociology)
  • Claude M. Steele, Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences, Emeritus


  • Enas Sagia Dakwar, clinical psychologist, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
  • Patrick H. Dunkley, deputy director of athletics and senior university counsel
  • Helen Wilson, clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences; director, Stanford Confidential Support Team

Department of Public Safety

  • Lt. Ceasar Campos
  • Capt. Christopher Cohendet
  • Deputy Sheriff Stephanie Taylor


  • Jenna Brown, undergraduate, political science
  • Liza Hafner, undergraduate, Earth systems; coterm, Earth systems environmental communication MA program
  • Kimya Loder, PhD candidate, sociology; president, Black Graduate Student Association
  • Christopher Middleton, JD candidate, law; vice president, ASSU

Community members

  • Marc E. Jones, Stanford trustee; chairman and CEO, Aeris Communications
  • Chidel Onuegbu, assistant dean, Graduate Life Office
  • Marvina White, incumbent, Stanford Campus Residential Leaseholders Board of Directors