A police and security consulting firm called Hillard Heintze has been brought on board by Loyola to investigate an incident involving the Campus Safety department in which one student was handcuffed and another was handled by her shirt collar by officers Feb. 24 in the Damen Student Center.
Loyola president Jo Ann Rooney announced Hillard’s independent investigation in a statement on Loyola’s website March 28, along with the names of those comprising her recently announced independent review task force, which will also look into the Campus Safety incident.
Hillard is a firm that has reviewed numerous municipal police stations and makes recommendations based on its findings. The firm has looked into bias and misconduct in police departments across the country.
Hillard did not immediately return requests for comment.
The task force is made up of faculty, staff, students from student government and multicultural clubs and experts in diversity from other universities and within Loyola.
Rooney said the task force and Hillard will submit findings and proposals to her by the end of April.
On Feb. 24, the two students of color got involved with officers searching two black men accused of scalping tickets outside the Loyola men’s basketball game. The students questioned Campus Safety and cell phone video showed the black student being handcuffed on the ground while the Latina student was grabbed by her collar up against a wall.
In the wake of the Campus Safety incident, a student movement called #NotMyLoyola has demanded the university address alleged racial bias behind the incident and on campus. The movement staged a walkout to protest the university’s response and hosted a town hall to air grievances of alleged racial profiling by Campus Safety officers.
The university tried to meet with key organizers March 12, but they refused, stating they want an open and public forum with administrators. Rooney ended up meeting with several organizers March 27, according to university spokesperson Christian Anderson. The university has also said the February incident wasn’t racially motivated, but rather about safety.
Last month, Rooney announced Campus Safety officers would begin to wear body cameras by the fall 2018 school semester. Rooney said officers will be trained in their use, along with receiving new policing training aimed at strengthening campus police’s relationships with students and staff.
Correction: An earlier version of this article online, and in print, omitted the meeting between Rooney and organizers March 27. The story was updated once The PHOENIX was made aware of the meeting. We’ll be continuing to update this story.