Dear Faculty and Staff: As we prepare for the start of the spring semester, I am writing today to remind you of the University’s vaccine requirements and how we are supporting our employees in achieving a healthy and safe environment…
Meet Brianna C. Sclafani: 6 Questions to Get to Know the Chair of Syracuse University’s Inaugural Community Review Board
Brianna C. Sclafani wears many hats and is busy pursuing not one but two advanced degrees at Syracuse University. She’s a law student in the College of Law, a graduate student in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and more recently, she added the title Community Review Board (CRB) chair to her resume.
The CRB, which was created following an independent review of the University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) by former Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, is responsible for reviewing appeals of civilian complaints regarding DPS officer conduct. The CRB is also tasked with reviewing and commenting on prospective new DPS policies, procedures and trainings; reviewing key community-facing functions of DPS; and issuing to the University community a public annual report of findings and recommendations.
In her role as chair of the CRB, Sclafani is responsible for advancing the vision and mission of the Board, leading her dedicated CRB colleagues, and liaising with the campus community.
We caught up with Sclafani recently to ask her a few questions about her new role.
Q: What inspired you to join the Community Review Board?
A: I joined the Community Review Board to implement positive changes across campus. My previous experience with police reform and interest in community policing made the CRB the perfect way for me to get involved on campus.
Q: Describe your role as the CRB chair.
A: The role of the CRB chair is not only to preside over our regularly scheduled meetings but to provide support to each member of the board and facilitate conversations between key University officials and the CRB.
Q: What do you want students to know about the work that’s being done by you and your CRB colleagues?
A: The CRB has been tasked with numerous major mandates:
- Review appeals of dispositions of civilian complaints against DPS employees;
- Review and comment on prospective standard operating procedures and trainings;
- Review key community-facing functions of DPS and issue to the University community a public annual report of findings and recommendations; and
- Regularly meet with our law enforcement advisor, senior advisor and University officials to achieve these objectives.
Q: What is the most interesting aspect of your role on the CRB?
A: The most interesting aspect of serving on the CRB is the people I work with. The Community Review Board is made up of 11 members from across the University community. Each board member brings with them a unique background, skill set and expertise. I enjoy learning from my colleagues and appreciate everyone’s participation and dedication to the CRB.
Q: How can students engage the CRB?
A: Students who are interested in learning more information about the CRB are invited to check out our website. The CRB will host its first public forum to in the spring of 2022 to solicit input on DPS from students and other members of the University community (date and time to be determined). Additionally, if a student is interested in serving on the CRB, they are welcome to apply for the position once the application has been published to the CRB website.
Q: Why is having student representation and leadership on the CRB so important?
A: The Community Review Board rose out of concerns students had with DPS. Students make up five out of 11 board positions (three undergraduate and two at the graduate level) which ensures students voices, ideas and concerns are appropriately addressed.
Students are the ones who primarily interact with DPS. This University is our home. We care about our home, we want to see our home do better and we want to be included in the process. Without student input the Community Review Board would not be serving the entire University community. I am grateful to University leadership that they included students in conversations about policing on our campus. I am humbled by my colleagues who also recognized the importance of student leadership on this board and elected me to this position.