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The University of Colorado Boulder will convene a community safety task force to evaluate interactions between CU’s police department and the campus community.

In a release sent Tuesday, CU Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano said the new task force will evaluate community policing policies, practices and training and recommend steps. Members will be nominated and will include representatives from CU Student Government, the Graduate and Professional Student Government and “other student, faculty and staff shared governance and campus stakeholder groups.”

The task force will issue preliminary recommendations to the campus before the fall semester ends.

“On Friday, my cabinet and I approved a plan to convene the first CU Boulder Community Safety Task Force with the goal of strengthening accountability, building trust, and fostering greater transparency and engagement between campus police and the broader university community,” DiStefano said in a statement.

CU Boulder police spokesman Scott Pribble said the university and the department were still working on a timeline for when the task force would be seated, and to determine how many people would be on the task force.

According to the release, the task force is part of DiStefano’s pledge to address racism at the Boulder campus, and came following CU police Chief Doreen Jokerst meeting with students and faculty “to hear their concerns and to map out new benchmarks that will allow her department to operate more effectively, equitably and collaboratively going forward.”

The killings of Black people by police has sparked protests and calls for change across the country this summer, and CU Boulder students have similarly demanded changes from campus leaders.

“Convening this task force is another critical step in further supporting the proactive and positive efforts (Jokerst) and her department have engaged in over the past two years,” DiStefano wrote.

However, two of the people who demanded changes from campus leaders said the task force is not a step in the right direction.

Ruth Woldemichael, a Black third-year undergraduate, and Olivia Gardner, a Black woman who graduated from CU Boulder in May, were among those who had been having discussions with Jokerst and others involved with CUPD, during which they proposed the idea for a police accountability board.

“I think the narrative of that was… taken away from us and controlled and put into this task force where our voices were still left out of the implementation of this task force,” Woldemichael said.

The release about the new task force also cited CU’s expanded de-escalation training, comprehensive officer recruitment plan and new on-board cameras as other steps taken “to redress systemic racism and to foster a campus community that is, in words and in deeds, antiracist and promotes equity and opportunities for all who come to CU Boulder to pursue their academic and career goals.”

Camera intern Anna Haynes contributed to this report.

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