From Chancellor May: Safety Is Our Top Priority

Chancellor Gary S. May at lectern
Chancellor Gary S. May gave an update on campus safety today (May 2) in Mrak Hall. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Chancellor Gary S. May issued the following letter today (May 2):

To the UC Davis Community,

I want to take a moment to address the tragic events that have shaken our community over the past week and inform you about actions we are taking, along with sharing tips and resources to enhance safety. I urge you to read this entire message for important safety information.

I assure you the safety of our campus community is our top priority as we deal with the rash of violent stabbings in Davis, including one that took the life of a student, Karim Abou-Najm. Our entire campus community is devastated and continues to mourn his loss, as well as the loss of David Henry Breaux, known as the “Compassion Guy.”

We are also keeping our thoughts with the third stabbing victim along with her family and friends, and we wish her a full recovery.

On my recommendation, and as approved by the Executive Council of the Academic Senate earlier this afternoon, we are pivoting to remote nighttime instruction starting today (May 2). Daytime operations are not being modified.

Instruction that ends after 6 p.m. will be remote. For further information on instructional continuity, see these guidelines just issued by the Academic Senate.

Later today, Human Resources plans to send a memo to managers and supervisors encouraging them to consider employees who work during the late/early hours and use a “buddy” program or encourage flexibility.

Extra security

We will continue with extra security at night. Our enhanced security measures include calling in officers from other UC campuses and expanding Safe Ride service. For the latter, we are drawing on the Davis Police Department for additional vans and the personnel to drive them. Safe Rides are free for all students, faculty and staff.

The campus Police Department is calling in Members in Black Private Security for a second night and has also requested assistance from other UC police departments. We are compiling a list of venues where activities might be taking place, so we can assign patrols where they need to be.

Our emergency team is also looking into temporary lighting to provide greater visibility in high-traffic areas. In addition, we installed additional exterior cameras today as part of a previously planned project.

Staff, faculty and students who wish to drive to and from campus should note that Transportation Services will forego enforcement (except in restricted spaces) from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., allowing free parking.

Yesterday, the campus Police Department added personnel and vans to maximize Safe Ride and escort availability and moved up by two hours the start time for rides from campus to off-campus locations in the city of Davis. Rides from campus into the city are now available from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. seven days a week until further notice.

Other Safe Ride services are unchanged: transportation from one campus location to another starts at 5 p.m. and VIP wheelchair transportation is available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For Safe Rides: Call 530-754-COPS (2677) or use the TransLoc App (you can download it for free). Police recommend using the app and have posted instructionson how to use it.

Unitrans buses begin their last runs anywhere from 8:10 to 10:35 p.m. Monday through Thursday (the campus-city bus service does not have night service on Fridays, except during finals week). Yolobus provides late-night options on Route 42A/B, departing the Memorial Union Terminal at the following times weekdays:

Safety tips

In the meantime, we must remain vigilant, especially as these horrific crimes remain unsolved. Please keep these tips in mind from our campus Police Department:

  • Use UC Davis Police Safe Rides by calling 530-754-COPS (2677) or using the TransLoc App.
  • Try not to travel alone.
  • Always try to vary your routes to and from work or school.
  • Be aware of location and situation that will make you vulnerable to crime, especially in darkness. Indeed, two of these crimes occurred in darkness in parks.
  • Avoid people and situations that make you nervous — Trust Your Instincts!
  • Stay in well-lighted areas as much as possible.
  • Walk confidently and at a steady pace, making eye contact with people when walking. Do not use headphones.
  • If you ever feel you or others are in danger, call 911.
  • Also take note of the campus's network of 21 “blue light” emergency call boxes throughout the campus, including the Arboretum.

Watch a video I recorded earlier today, expressing my condolences to the three victims and reiterating our safety tips. 

Lean into support

I’d also like to recognize the added stress and anxiety we are all facing. If you are feeling overwhelmed, please reach out for support.

Stay informed

I will continue to stay in touch with our community as more information unfolds. UC Davis is also keeping the campus community informed of the current safety situation via Aggie Alert and WarnMe messages. These go automatically to staff, faculty and students with email addresses, and to smartphones and other devices belonging to the same people, provided they register for alerts.

People without email accounts may opt in to receive alerts messages via text. To sign up for Davis campus WarnMe and Aggie Alert messages, text “UCDAlerts” to 888777. Additional information about this service is available online.

Please continue to take care of yourself and look out for your peers. Let’s lean into others for support and come together as a community.


Gary S. May

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