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NUPD Advisory Board Town Hall - April 15, 2021

To the Northeastern Community:

Earlier this year, the Northeastern University Police Department (NUPD) Advisory Board held several town halls and listening sessions to provide a platform for our community to share concerns and experiences, as well as a vision for the future. These listening opportunities proved to be a key ingredient in the board’s action planning.

I am writing now to share that the board will hold its next Town Hall meeting on Thursday, April 15 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST. We would like to share the major accomplishments of the Advisory Board this year and hear additional feedback from the community. As planning moves ahead, your continued feedback will be central to formulating the next phase of action items which the board will recommend to Northeastern Leadership.

Attendance at the town hall will be limited to 100 attendees to ensure that those in attendance will have an opportunity to express their views. Please click here to join the meeting.

I wish to thank the students, faculty, staff, and our extended community for your continued engagement. Together we are making significant strides toward a more safe and equitable campus.


Jack McDevitt
Chair, NUPD Advisory Board
Director, Institute on Race and Justice
Professor of the Practice
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Faculty Director
College of Professional Studies


Statement on Detaining of Juvenile, Dec. 8, 2020

Members of the Northeastern Community,

On Wednesday, November 11, 2020, an incident occurred involving NUPD officers and a juvenile in which the officers confiscated a weapon outside of Columbus garage. A nearby Northeastern student filmed the latter part of the incident and then posted the video online. This incident has caused concern among some members of the broader Northeastern community and has attracted media attention.

Two days later on November 13, members of the NUPD Advisory Board met with members of NUPD to review camera footage of the entire incident, and to understand more about the encounter. The footage shows two NUPD officers in civilian clothing as they descend the garage stairs where their attention was drawn to noise of people above them. After exiting the stairwell, the officers can be seen watching the group as they leave the garage. At that point, the officers focus on one individual exhibiting movements indicating that he was carrying a firearm.

The two officers confronted the individual, removed a firearm from him, and detained him for questioning. NUPD officers are trained to first separate the gun from the individual, control the individual in order to ensure that he cannot gain access to the gun, and to secure the gun. The officers determined that the individual was a juvenile and that he was carrying a BB gun that was altered to look like a handgun. Carrying a weapon of any kind on school property is a violation of Massachusetts laws, and it is also a violation of Massachusetts law for a juvenile to be in possession of a BB gun. After the juvenile was detained, the NUPD did not arrest him and he was transported home to his parents by NUPD officers.

While recognizing that the NUPD officers acted as they had been trained and followed NUPD policies and procedures, we understand why some people, including members of this Advisory Board, were disturbed after viewing the video recorded by the NU student. Members of the Advisory Board have additionally received emails and are aware of posts on social media that express similar concerns. The video depicts a young person being forced to the ground and held there while he yells that he is “13 years old” and that the gun was “only a BB gun.” Both statements are largely accurate but could only be corroborated once the firearm was secured by the officers and after they had the opportunity to speak with the individual. Members of the Advisory Board expressed concern about the well-being of the juvenile, recognizing that being apprehended by the police is a frightening and potentially traumatizing incident, especially for a young teenager of color and in the context of national events.

While acknowledging that police officers are asked to insert themselves into potentially dangerous situations to protect the public, incidents like this are emblematic of the important questions that we must be asking as a society in regards to the way police and the community interact. As a result, members of the NUPD Advisory Board will continue to meet with leadership of NUPD to determine enhancements in policy and/or training which might help diffuse future incidents, with sensitivity to their impacts on the community and ensuring the safety and well-being of members of the community, the officers involved, as well as any suspects.

Launch of New Feedback System and Additional Misconduct Oversight, Oct. 5, 2020

To the Northeastern University community,

The members of the Northeastern University Police Department (NUPD) Advisory Board would like to provide an update on our efforts to make Northeastern University a safer and more equitable campus.

The Board was created to respond to concerns raised by members of the Northeastern University community about the treatment of Black persons by police, and in particular, the experience of Black students, staff, and faculty with Northeastern University police. An advisory board was created, comprised of a cross-section of students, faculty, and staff at the university, as well as an external community member, who bring divergent voices, experiences, and perspectives to the Advisory Board discussions; after the initial round of appointments, other students were added through consultation with the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute and School of Law.

The Board originally met in July of this year and decided that we needed to hear from a broader cross section of the Northeastern community about their experiences with NUPD. In August and September the Board held two Town Halls and four smaller Pop-Up Listening Sessions that were attended by members of the Northeastern community. The Advisory Board has also heard from a number of organizations and constituencies at Northeastern, including #DefundNUPD, #BlackAtNU, and #BlackVoicesMatterNEU. The work of the Advisory Board has been informed by the diversity of these collective views and experiences and the Board would like to thank everyone and every constituency for their contributions.

Based on the experience and expertise of members of the Board, and suggestions from these Town Hall and Listening Sessions, a number of themes have emerged including the need for a more robust feedback channel between members of the Northeastern community and NUPD. This will feature a broadly accessible system for Northeastern community members to file misconduct charges against members of NUPD, and to offer observations about their experience with members of the police department. Today we are announcing two new recommendations that will be made to Northeastern University leadership:

A New University-wide Distributed Feedback System for NUPD
This new system would allow any member of the Northeastern community (students, faculty, staff, or Boston area community members) to file a complaint about actions of a member of NUPD, offer a commendation for services by a member of the NUPD, or request information about NUPD policies and practices. Members of the Northeastern community will be able to provide feedback in a wide variety of venues across our campus including the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, the Latinx Cultural Center, and the Office of University Equity and Compliance (OUEC). After staff at each of these offices are trained, Northeastern community members will be able to continue to provide feedback in person, online and anonymously. The full list of venues for providing feedback will be announced within the next two weeks.

Additional Oversight in NUPD Officer Misconduct Investigations
A clear theme from the Town Halls and Listening Sessions was a desire for additional transparency into NUPD practices. Toward this end, the Board has recommended the participation of the University’s Office of University Equity and Compliance (OUEC) in NUPD officer misconduct investigations falling within the purview of OUEC jurisdiction. OUEC is expected to be a valuable contributor in this process given their experience conducting similar investigations including Title IX allegations.

The Board continues to educate itself about the many facets of university policing, and how to improve the experience between the Northeastern community and its police department. The Board is expected to make additional recommendations in response to concerns raised by people across the university after additional diligence and listening sessions during this current semester.


Jack McDevitt
Chair, NUPD Advisory Board
Director, Institute on Race and Justice
Professor of the Practice
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Faculty Director
College of Professional Studies

More details about Advisory Board and its members, June 30, 2020

To all members of the Northeastern community:

On June 15, President Aoun outlined a series of actions the university will undertake “to do more to confront anti-Black discrimination, and to achieve our ambitions for diversity, inclusion, and equality on our campuses.” Among several other goals, the president’s message announced the formation of an advisory board for the Northeastern University Police Department, and today I am providing additional details, including membership. The board’s primary goals are:

1. To create shared goals for a sustainable and collaborative relationship between NUPD and the community;
2. Enhance trust and communication between the Northeastern safety and security functions and surrounding communities; and
3. Further education about the role of campus safety and policing.

The Advisory Board will be comprised of students, faculty, and staff from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. It will meet on a regular basis, starting in July, and begin work on the three objectives noted above. The committee will be chaired by Jack McDevitt, Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Director of the Institute of Race and Justice.

Other Members of the Advisory Board are:

· Shalanda Baker, Professor of Law, Public Policy and Urban Affairs;
· Ron Brunson, Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. Professor of Public Life, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Department of Political Science;
· Natasha Frost, Professor, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice;
· Jessica Huang, student, Class of 2021, D’Amore-McKim School of Business;
· Mark Jannoni, Assistant Vice President for University Equity and Compliance & Title IX Coordinator;
· Broovelt Lacet, Co-owner, Thom S. Carlson Corporation, Boston;
· Ayanna Miller-Smith, doctoral student, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice;
· Marilyn Minus, Professor and Chair, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering;
· Richard O’Bryant, Director of the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute;
· Rebecca Riccio, Lecturer and Khaled and Olfat Juffali Director of The Social Impact Lab;
· Diego Rivera, student, Class of 2021, College of Engineering;
· Khiana Rogers, student, Class of 2021, College of Engineering;
· Omar Rouhana, Associate Director, Campus Recreation, Business & Technology;
· Louiza Wise, student, Class of 2021, College of Engineering

The Board will also consist of three ex-officio members: myself, Senior Vice President Mike Armini, and Vice President of Campus Safety and Security Mike Davis. The Board will pursue engagement with Northeastern’s various communities—internal and external—and seek to co-create shared objectives that enhance the safety and security function throughout the university, deepen trust, and strengthen relationships. The work of the Board will include listening sessions, joint exercises and training, and other components to create shared goals.

On behalf of President Aoun, I would like to thank this inaugural group of advisory board members for their service to the university and our larger community.


Ralph C. Martin II
Senior Vice President and General Counsel

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