Community Services crisis support specialists will participate in the Victim-Survivor Advocacy Resources Zoom Panel

On Thursday, Oct. 29, at 11:30 a.m., the University of Utah’s new crisis support specialists will join the Victim-Survivor Advocacy Resources Zoom Panel to highlight safety resources available on campus. Evelyn Cervantes and Hilary White joined the new Community Services division in August to work with University Police to provide assistance to victims of crime.

During the event, representatives from various offices will cover the wellness and support resources available to survivors of interpersonal violence, providing victims with a better understanding of how to navigate the process of seeking support.

This event is part of the Center for Student Wellness’s annual campus-wide campaign to promote awareness, address prevention and support prompt response around domestic violence.

To register for the session, click here.

Throughout the month of October, the center is hosting a variety of events, including workshops on Bystander Intervention and Healthy Relationships, as well as events in partnership with ASUU, the Gender-Based Violence Consortium, the newly launched Center for Violence Prevention and university safety divisions.

More details about the campaign can be found here.

The Safety Fair Competition is extended!

The University of Utah Police "Safety Fair Competition" is being extended until Dec. 18!

To participate, students must develop a slogan and a poster that will educate other students on one of the topics listed below. Each participant may submit up to one poster for each category.

Students can win gift cards from the University of Utah Campus Store. First-place winners will receive a $50 gift card, and second-place winners will receive a $30 gift card from the University of Utah Campus Store.

Winners will be announced the week of Jan. 11, 2021. To submit entries, students should go to

Good luck!

2020/21 Topics



Be aware of fire safety procedures.



Know how to protect yourself in a pandemic.



Don't be fooled,
be informed.



Know the law and your limitations.



The importance of self-care, communication, and consent.

Working toward a safer healthcare environment

In 2017, University of Utah Health Security had 34 officers to partner with medical personnel to serve patients and visitors in a safe environment. Today, the security team has 104 people under new leadership.

This transformation has not gone unnoticed. Director of U Health Security Glenn Smith and Director of Support Services for U of U Health Dustin Banks spoke about the changes at the prestigious International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety Virtual 2.0 Annual Conference and Exhibition on Sept. 3. This is one of the most important events of the year, organized by the only association exclusively dedicated to professionals involved in managing and directing security and safety programs in healthcare facilities.

In the virtual conference, Smith and Banks presented about developing a culture of service and how it changed the security division.

"In a hospital, we find violence, crisis, stress and situations where alcohol and drugs are involved,” Smith said. “In that environment, it is imperative to have trained people who can work together for everyone’s safety."

Part of the change involved an initial evaluation of the team which resulted in the hire of 70 new officers—an increase over 200% from three years ago. Another important part of the change was increasing leadership. Now, four managers and 12 supervisors, experts in diverse areas, work closely with the security staff, University Police and external security agencies to maintain the safety of the hospitals and clinics.

"We teach our security officers that we need to be helpful and build relationships with others,” Smith said. “We are seeing a big difference with the changes coming from the Chief Safety Officer—elevating our unit to report directly to him. Our officers feel the support, and they appreciate it."

In a stressful environment where staff, medical students, patients and visitors converge, crises are part of the job.

"We developed the Behavior Emergency Response Team (BERT) to support staff and combat violence,” said Lt. Mitch Howard, security manager for the Huntsman Cancer Institute and part of the investigation unit. “We also created the new Security Investigation Unit (SIU) with six full-time investigators, and we developed a plan to manage and minimize risks."

Collaborative efforts

The new security team has become a fundamental resource for the health staff. Colleen Connelly, nursing senior director of the Emergency Department and AirMed, describes how the relationship has changed through the years.

“The security team has become a primary recourse for us,” Connelly said. “We are thankful for their services. It is impossible to think about a day when we aren’t working closely with our security officers as they help us with challenging patients or families.”

U Health Security officers work closely with University of Utah Police and other public safety divisions on campus. Today, a team from University Police is dedicated to supporting the hospital, and one sergeant, who specializes in interpersonal violence, operates permanently at the University Hospital.

Their collaborative efforts are also visible with other law enforcement agencies statewide.

"We have a great relationship with the Utah Department of Corrections,” said Sgt. Keith Livingston, manager of the U Health Internal Security Training Division. “We help coordinate with external security personnel and helped design resources in the hospital for receiving forensics patients and prisoners who need health treatment.”

For the expert team, safety is a shared responsibility, where trust and prevention are essential.

"It takes the whole community to create a safe environment,” said Brian McCollum, U Health Security operations manager. “We want our community to be involved—receiving training, having mutual trust and knowing how and where to report incidents.”

Security behind the scenes

Safety and security go beyond the daily presence of officers and the division’s process for training and managing incidents. Rolynn Snow, U Health Security risks assessment coordinator, explains that the environment is also important.

"A nurse, doctor or patient needs to be safe when they go to their car at midnight,” Snow said. “We evaluate the structure, buildings, landscapes, design, lights and every aspect of the environment to give recommendations for improving safety, such as installing new cameras or a panic button. We also track visitors and support the pharmacy by ensuring medication is secure."

U Health Security also operates a dispatch center with eight employees that oversee more than 1,000 security cameras in medical facilities at the U.

"It is exciting to see the growth and changes that have happened in the past few years,” Smith said. “We are committed to helping the health care staff feel safer, and we’ve already seen their injury rate decrease dramatically. We have a strong team and are developing the next generation of safety and security leadership. We want to leave a legacy.”

Community Services committed to safety and wellness

The new Community Services division at the U recently hired two new crisis support specialists dedicated to providing assistance to victims of crime.

Any person from the U community can reach these specialists 24/7 to discuss situations such as stalking, domestic violence and inappropriate behaviors.

Evelyn Cervantes started Aug. 17 and coordinates closely with the U Police unit specialized in interpersonal violence. Cervantes, who is fluent in Spanish and has experience working with diverse communities, will be doing victim advocacy, helping victims through the criminal justice process.

“We want to build a program to support victims in many ways,” she said. “We are working to have an emotional support animal and arranging formal transportation for those who need assistance. We want to provide comprehensive assistance to everyone.”

Hillary White, a social worker with experience in trauma-informed crisis intervention for domestic violence survivors, started on Aug. 24. In addition to working with victims, she is also developing an internship program for students interested in careers in victim advocacy or crisis support.

“We not only support victims with resources,” she said. “It is about helping them during the process with questions about how to make a police report, questions about their families and their life after.”

 About Community Services – A resource for everyone

The Community Services division is the newest part of public safety at the U. It was created after Marlon C. Lynch assumed his role as inaugural Chief Safety Officer in February 2020. The division acts as a liaison between victims and law enforcement, as well as connecting members of the campus community to other services and resources available on campus.

Jamie Justice, director of Community Services, envisions a division that serves as a mediator and advocate while also connecting victims with services on campus and external agencies.

“Our priority is to have specialized people who are advocating for and attending to victims’ needs,” she explained. “Our crisis support specialists are dedicated to victims, working to provide a space where people can speak and feel supported.”

Community Services is committed to inclusion and is available to everyone.

“We know that a victim can be anyone, but we don’t hear from men or members of underrepresented groups as often,” Justice said. “We are committed to building a division prepared to support people from all backgrounds. People need to be heard to heal, and we’re here to help them on that journey.”

You are not alone

If you are going through a difficult situation, need more information about reporting a crime or want to talk with a specialist, call 801-585-2677 and ask to speak with a crisis support specialist.

*Crisis support specialists are mandatory reporters under Title IX. Confidential resources are available through the University Counseling Center, Women’s Resource Center, and Victim-Survivor Advocates in the Center for Student Wellness. More information is available at SafeU

Multiple public safety agencies collaborate for Vice Presidential debate at the U

Editor’s note:

In October 2019, the Commission on Presidential Debates selected the University of Utah to host the only 2020 vice presidential debate on Oct. 7. This was the first time a national debate was hosted in Utah.

“Thank you to everyone who helped make tonight’s Vice Presidential debate a safe event for all who attended. I am especially grateful to U Police officers and our local, state, and federal partners. Your tireless commitment to serving on the frontlines and your collaborative efforts contributed to creating a safe environment for this historic event.”

-Rodney Chatman, University of Utah Police

Summary of public safety events during the 2020 Vice Presidential Debate:

  • Arrest made by Salt Lake City Police for disturbing the peace.


U public safety hosts Thanksgiving Drive for Feed U Pantry

University of Utah public safety is hosting a Thanksgiving Drive for the Feed U Pantry, from Oct. 5 to Nov. 5, to support U community members in need. Since 2014, the Feed U Pantry, located in the basement of the A. Ray Olpin Union building, has provided food to anyone with a valid Ucard. Through the years, this volunteer-powered food pantry has assisted more than 1,000 U community members and their families.

Collection bins, provided by Utah Food Bank, are marked with the Feed U Pantry logo and are located in the Union Building (outside of the Union Administration Office), at the front desk of the Public Safety building (1735 East South Campus Drive) and at the Jon M. Huntsman Center (arena) at the top of the stairs to the garage.

"We know that many people are experiencing especially difficult times during this pandemic, and we want to support our community," said Ana Belmonte, communications and marketing specialist for the Office of the Chief Safety Officer. "We're committed to all aspects of safety and recognize that wellness and food security are an important part of an individual's overall sense of security."

The donations will be delivered to the U food pantry on Monday, Nov. 9, before students leave campus.

Canned items (tuna, meat, vegetables), dry food (rice, pasta, ramen), and hygiene items (toilet paper, shampoo, soap) are the most needed items.


From Monday, Oct. 5 to Thursday, Nov. 5


About the feed u pantry

Since 2014, the University of Utah food pantry has provided food for anyone with a valid Ucard. More information about the Feed U Pantry here