Campus safety strengthened with new programs, services

Students standing in front of van with a Safe Rides driver

The Safe Ride program allows students to request a van shuttle to get around campus from 7 p.m. to just after midnight.

UC Santa Cruz has launched an array of new programs and services designed to strengthen campus safety at the residential campus, Coastal Science Campus and Westside Research Park.

The improvements were the result of input from the campus community, recommendations from the Campus Safety Community Advisory Board, and ongoing implementation of the systemwide UC Community Safety Plan.

“It is important that the members of our community who live, work and study at UC Santa Cruz feel safe,” Chancellor Cynthia Larive said. “Campus safety is not a once-and-done effort. It is a continuing conversation among our varied campus constituencies, and our efforts continue to evolve.”

The changes include:

  • re-establishing the Safe Ride program, which allows students to request a van shuttle to get around campus from 7 p.m. to just after midnight;
  • launching a Campus Mobile Crisis Team with staff who are trained in mental-health interventions. The team will often make first contact with those possibly in crisis;
  • assigning unarmed evening security patrols at the Coastal Science Campus and Westside Research Park, a first step toward offering dusk-to-dawn security coverage at these locations.
  • strengthening the campus’s mass-communication system, which now will send CruzAlerts for emergency notifications and SlugSafe messages for public safety updates;
  • implementing a campus police customer-service reporting system, which allows community members to rate the level of service they received after interacting with an officer; and
  • forming a new Police Accountability Board, which will facilitate and enhance communication between the police department and the greater campus community.

Safe Ride shuttles students around in evening

UC Santa Cruz has restored its Safe Ride program, a nightly van service that was stopped in 2020 shortly after the start of the pandemic. The revamped program is now managed by Transportation and Parking Services.

To schedule a ride, students simply need to go online, fill out a ride request, and a van will shuttle them anywhere on campus between 7 p.m. and just past midnight seven days a week when classes are in session.

Campus Mobile Crisis Team responds to behavioral health crisis calls

In fall, UC Santa Cruz formed a new Campus Mobile Crisis Team with two full time intervention specialists and a program supervisor.

The response team members are trained in mental-health interventions and will often be the first ones to make first contact with students who are possibly in crisis. The team is part of the University of California’s focus on creating a tiered response to emergency calls.

The team is available from Wednesday to Saturday between 2 p.m. and midnight. When it’s not available, students will have the option to speak with Counseling and Psychological Services or the UCSC Dispatch.

The Campus Mobile Crisis Team answered 20 calls in their first 20 days of operation, the majority resulting in incident de-escalation, outreach, or referrals for additional services without law enforcement contact.

Increasing security at Coastal Science Campus, Westside Research Park

Unarmed night-time security guards patrol the Coastal Science Campus and Westside Research Park. The campus is working toward offering permanent security coverage from dusk-to-dawn, while also increasing security by improving lighting in parking lots and installing lights at the bus stops.

Strengthening emergency, public safety communications

UC Santa Cruz has enhanced its mass communication system. Supported by a service called Everbridge, the communication system now includes two kinds of notices and a mobile app that enables the campus community to receive time-sensitive push notifications.

CruzAlerts are sent in emergency situations in which there is possibly an imminent threat to life and safety, while Slug Safe messages are sent by email and text to keep the campus community informed about less urgent situations, such as road closures, power outages and other situations. Staff, faculty, and students are encouraged to make sure that their contact information in the campus notification system is up to date.

Additionally, community members, parents, and others can sign up to receive SlugSafe messages by texting SLUGSAFE to 888777.qr-code-everbridge.png

The Everbridge app is available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play store. Anyone with a UCSC account can sign into the app and choose which alerts to receive and how to receive updates. For more video tutorials and feature information, visit the Campus Notifications Everbridge Mobile Application webpage.   The Office of Risk & Safety Services will test the campus notification system twice a year to ensure it works properly and help familiarize the campus community with how UCSC will operate in an emergency. Tests will be conducted once during the fall and once during the spring. Anyone with a registered email address and mobile number will receive a test CruzAlert email and text message to their mobile device. The next test is scheduled for May 17. Another announcement will go out one week before to remind the campus community of the scheduled test.

Customer-service reporting system for police interactions

UC Santa Cruz launched a campus-police customer-service reporting system in October. After engaging with an officer, campus community members are given a card that allows them to rate the level of service they received. This can also be done online.

This feedback provides actionable data to reflect on the department’s services so it can continue to make improvements. By having this insight, public safety leaders will be able to enhance communications and increase efficiencies, or adjust practices that will result in better serving our UC Santa Cruz community.

Forming a new Police Accountability Board

UC Santa Cruz is creating a new Police Accountability Board that will facilitate and enhance communication between the police department and the greater campus community. The board will primarily be responsible for reviewing investigation reports from police complaints and making recommendations to the Chief of Police about outcomes. The board includes staff, faculty, and students and will have its first meeting in the coming weeks. The board is still seeking graduate student and Senate faculty participants through the GSA and Committee on Committees.

Transition of Parking Enforcement from UCPD to TAPS

As announced in fall of 2021, Parking Enforcement has transitioned from operating under UCSC Police to Transportation and Parking Services, as of fall 2022. This transition was identified as an initial step in the campus’ new approach to campus safety.

Campus safety training offered monthly

The Office of Emergency Management is hosting a monthly virtual campus safety training for faculty, staff, and students. The virtual training covers a variety of topics including: campus safety and security issues, emergency response procedures, department emergency action planning, mission continuity, active shooter response, campus safety resources, and an overview of the UCSC Emergency Response Framework.

The training is held via zoom the first Tuesday of every month, from 10–11:30 a.m. Interested persons can register online and add the training to their calendars through the registration confirmation.

For any questions about the campus safety training or to make a special request to have an ad hoc training delivered to your department, please contact Amanda Gullings, Campus Emergency Manager, at