September 1, 2016
You can probably find that virtually any important cause or concern has a month or at least a day designated to call attention to it. For instance, like me, I bet you didn’t know that September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month.
I learned this from UCSF Police Chief Mike Denson, whose department is supporting a collaborative UCSF task force tackling the subject of safety and security at each of our campus locations. This is important and timely for all of us, so I’m devoting the September Expresso to the issue. Topics include:
- We Asked and You Told Us: Town hall meetings inform UCSF work on safety and security
- Staying Safe When Traveling: Resources for UCSF faculty, staff, students, and trainees
- Not Just a Playground Issue: Bullying and abusive behavior in the workplace
If you only have a minute, please take a quick look at the last topic because all of us really need to work together to solve this problem. As “citizens” of UCSF, we have a mutual responsibility to strive towards a stronger sense of community. On that note, I encourage you to attend the Multicultural Resource Center sponsored lecture and book signing, Targeted Universalism, with speaker john a. powell on September 22.
And, as always, be sure to let me know if you have suggestions for future editions of Expresso. You can reach me at ExecutiveViceChancellor@ucsf.edu.
We Asked and You Told Us: Town hall meetings inform UCSF work on safety and security
Just two weeks into 2016, an altercation leading to a fatality took place on Parnassus in the ACC breezeway. Chancellor Sam Hawgood and CEO Mark Laret, in their campus message about the incident, reminded us that criminal activity takes place near and on our campuses and of the importance of vigilance. Keeping UCSF safe—with our numerous locations spread out across San Francisco and points beyond—requires constant attention from all of us. In the wake of the incident in January, Chancellor Hawgood convened a task force charged with coming up with ideas for how we can ensure the safety and security of our community.
The group, co-led by Associate Vice Chancellor Teresa Costantinidis and UCSF Health Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Vincent Johnson, met throughout the spring, solicited people’s thoughts through emails and questionnaires, and in June convened seven town hall meetings at Parnassus, Mission Bay, Mount Zion, and ZSFG to hear community concerns and spread the word about what UCSF is already doing to keep us all safer. Actions taken include:
- Launching a “See Something, Say Something” campaign, with prominent signs telling people to report suspicious activity to campus police
- Delivering Active Shooter Response training to 3,000 people
- Upgrading police radio systems
- Improving police and security staffing, including a new police substation at the Parnassus Emergency Department
- Upgrading campus security cameras and increased checking to make sure campus emergency alarms are working
- Improving crosswalks on Mount Zion and Parnassus
- Implementing a new key system on the entire Parnassus campus
More than 200 people attended the town halls, and we received a lot of great feedback. Many of you told us about problems that proved easy to fix: A light was out. A door was broken. Those were great tips, and we were happy to jump on them. Other areas are seeing improvement as well. The UCSF police and the UCSF Health security officers had been using radios with different frequencies, making communication difficult; now they’re all on the same frequency, and response times are improving.
Teresa appreciated people suggesting we help ensure that our community has a safe route to work. “One of the areas of concern that folks have is about their safety as they're getting to their buildings,” Teresa says. “Based on a suggestion from the audience, we now have a project under way to designate a safe route to work for those people going from the 16th Street BART station to Mission Center Building.” This can’t come soon enough. On August 18, the campus received an alert describing an assault on a UCSF employee walking to the 16th Street BART station.
Teresa says she was also heartened at the town halls to hear how many of you have already signed up for WarnMe, a service organized by our police department that can alert you to something happening that may impact safety at a certain part of our campus. It’s a great way to stay informed and safe.
In the spring, Vincent says, Emergency Management, in collaboration with community partners and internal stakeholders, conducted a mass casualty disaster drill at the Parnassus Emergency Department. Simulating both an active shooter in the hospital and an explosion at a nearby Muni stop as the scenario for the drill, UCSF tested its ability to receive an influx of patients during a citywide terrorism event. The drill presented an outstanding opportunity to test our security, communication, and surveillance systems as well as assess just how successfully our hospital staff recognizes what to do in complex, traumatic situations.
Mara Fellouris, Executive Director of Strategy and Business Transformation in UCSF’s Program Management Office, facilitated the town halls and reminds people to take charge of their own safety as much as possible. “Safety is a partnership,” she says. “It’s also an individual’s responsibility.”
To that end, she offers some common sense safety tips that we’d all do well to remember: Walk in numbers. Don’t get lost in your digital device. Keep your headphones off and your eyes on your surroundings. If you see something suspicious, say something to someone. Keep important numbers in your phone, like UCSF’s Police: 415-476-6911. And, if you ride BART to work, you might want their police phone on your speed dial as well: 510-464-7000.
Later this month, Pulse will report in depth on the town halls and give more detailed information on next steps. In the meantime, it’s critical that we are as informed and vigilant as possible. Take a look at the important information available from the UCSF Police Department. At the risk of dating myself, as Sergeant Phil Esterhaus from Hill Street Blues used to say, “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”
Staying Safe When Traveling: Resources for UCSF faculty, staff, students, and trainees
Our faculty, staff, students, and trainees take thousands of overseas trips every year for many reasons – collaboration, learning, and service – in pursuit of our mission of advancing health worldwide. While I am proud that UCSF has a world-renowned place on the global stage, I know that travelling comes with considerable risk. This year has seen horrific incidents of violence and destruction around the globe. As you may know, two UC Berkeley students were among the many innocent people killed in attacks this summer.
For UCSF personnel conducting academic and professional work both domestically and internationally, UC has several services to help us stay safe during our travels. Cautionary considerations vary from health concerns to situations entailing civil unrest, terrorism, and instability.
If you are a faculty member and have a student or trainee traveling abroad, either with you or on their own as part of your work together, you need to be aware of necessary safety policies and procedures as well as their plans and travel acumen. Mylo Schaaf, Director of Global Outreach, advises that students and trainees meet with their Global Health Advisor to review any applicable international travel and security requirements or issues. They also may need to take the online class Global Health 101—which is super useful for understanding hot-button issues like LGBT laws or attitudes in a given country, and ethical and cultural issues. As faculty, you may believe that since most UCSF students are over the age of 21 they are mature adults, but we are still responsible for them and need to recognize that they may not be as aware of the risks of travelling as we might think.
According to Mylo, a number of UCSF initiatives are under way to address international travel risk for students and trainees. Policies and affiliation agreements are being reviewed and updated by faculty from each school who work internationally. They are collaborating to establish standard procedures and documents for our students and trainees that will eventually be accessible online. For now, be sure to adhere to the policy regarding International Travel Guidelines for Trainees and Students that requires the student or trainee to get permission from their dean or his or her designate to travel for academic purposes to countries that iJET, a company that provides a global alert and intelligence service, or the US State Department have issued warnings about.
For employees, faculty, students, and trainees, there are a variety of fantastic business and personal travel resources accessible through UCSF Risk Management. When our online travel portal was established in 2008, a few hundred people registered trips. Now the number tops 5,000, and Bruce Flynn, Director of Risk Management and Insurance Services, expects it to grow another 20 to 25 percent this year. “With numbers like that, we made the decision to make a variety of tools available to travelers to improve their safety and security, and help them better prepare for what they may face while overseas. When you register your travel, it also allows UCSF to communicate with UCSF travelers when a situation threatens their health or security,” Bruce says.
We’re fortunate to have UC traveler insurance coverage, which is free and also covers UCSF travelers for security and climate emergencies. You just have to register your trip with UCSF Risk Management (unless you are making travel arrangements through the UC Travel Program, Connexxus — then it’s mostly automatic).
In addition, when you book and register your trip through Connexxus, you will receive alerts for wherever you’re going. The Risk Management office receives all alerts, worldwide, so they are ready when trouble strikes. Bruce told me: “We get ten to twenty alerts a day. An alert might be, ‘there’s a strike, and the strikers are marching in downtown Paris. Don’t use Street X, use Street Y.’ Or, ‘There’s a military coup going on in Turkey. Avoid these areas.’” You might even be told to “shelter in place,” when it isn’t deemed safe for you to leave your compound, as happened to a team in Haiti. You might be relocated in your country, which happened to one of our trainees in Kenya after militants attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi. You might be directed to a place to get medical assistance if you need it. “If you need to come home, because of a serious medical emergency or a natural disaster or civil unrest, our global assistance provider will make arrangements for your flight home at no cost to the traveler,” Bruce says. “We’ve used that service a few times.”
In the most extreme cases, our services have helped extract our people from some tense situations, such as violent protests in Cairo. “These guys are serious extraction experts,” Bruce says. “They arrived with guns drawn, in military grade vehicles, and got them out of there, even as chaotic as it was during those weeks.”
I will continue to travel internationally and encourage the same of you and your students and trainees – but please do so safely and as fully informed as possible.
Not Just a Playground Issue: Bullying and abusive behavior in the workplace
bully – verb use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants … synonyms: persecute, oppress, tyrannize, browbeat, harass, torment, intimidate, strong-arm, dominate … coerce, pressure, pressurize, press, push, force, compel, badger….
I’ve included two significant stories about safety and security locally and abroad in this issue of Expresso, but I know that feeling safe and secure in your immediate work environment is at least as, if not more, important. While UCSF endeavors to be a place that cultivates positive working conditions for all, sadly it is not immune to acts of intimidation at every level.
Yes, UCSF is known for its excellence. Whether we are in the research, clinical, or education domains (sometimes it feels like all of the above, I know) we strive for excellence. We have an obligation to our students, trainees, patients, and partners to be the best that we can be and to give our all. However, in a large and complex organization like UC, the kind of work we do is diverse and complicated – sometimes stressful and difficult. The interplay between our many constituencies strikes a delicate balance among tens of thousands of people. Coming to work should not feel like Lord of the Flies or The Hunger Games.
UC President Janet Napolitano recently sent a communication to all chancellors and medical center chief executive officers in which she recognized, “…the unfortunate reality that bullying and other abusive behaviors occur in every workplace.” She makes it clear that members of the UC community at all campuses, laboratories, and medical centers are expected to behave in ways that support the University’s Principles of Community, UCSF Health’s PRIDE values, and Regents Policy 1111 (Statement of Ethical Values and Standards of Ethical Conduct).
But it’s often not clear what bullying in the workplace is. In an effort to establish a system-wide definition, UC is taking the lead of the state legislature via Assembly Bill 2053, which defines abusive behavior as “…conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.”
Prompted by the Council of University of California Staff Assemblies (CUCSA) leadership and members of its delegation, as well as the Staff Advisors to The Regents, President Napolitano convened a work group charged with developing and recommending presidential guidance with regard to bullying of staff (this is a pdf requiring MyAccess login). We share a common responsibility to read and follow this guidance.
UCSF employees have several resources if they are experiencing bullying or abuse in the workplace:
- Office of the Ombuds
- Office of Diversity and Outreach
- Faculty and Staff Assistance Program
- Labor and Employee Relations
David Odato, Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources for UCSF, and Senior Vice President, Human Resources for UCSF Health, points out that each of us plays a role in the prevention of bullying. He says, “As members of the UCSF community, we are all responsible for promoting a positive work environment. It is important that each of us understands what constitutes abusive conduct and bullying, how they undermine our Campus Code of Conduct and PRIDE Values, and our collective responsibility to prevent them.”
I cannot state it more plainly—abusive behavior is unacceptable. It obstructs our pursuit of excellence. Let’s set the standard for what it means to have a culture of kindness and respect.
Dan’s Tip of the Month
UCSF Police Chief Mike Denson and the UCSF Police Department are dedicated to a governance model known as Community Oriented Policing and Problem-Solving, or—wait for it—COPPS! They regularly host Coffee with a Cop to foster closer relationships with the community and discuss public safety issues affecting the campus, but for September they’ve stepped up this effort by adding even more safety-oriented, community-building events during the entire month. Check out the full calendar!