The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday announced 20 new members for its school safety board ahead of its first public meeting in the coming months.
Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas appointed 20 members to the 30-member Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council (HSAPC), after reconstituting the board last year.
One of the appointees is the head of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Randi Weingarten, who has drawn the ire of Republicans over school closures policies during the pandemic. House Republicans recently wrapped up two hearings entirely focused on Weingarten and the AFT’s supposed role in keeping students out of schools during COVID-19, while she argued her group did everything it could to get children back in classrooms.
Other appointees include President and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges Walter Bumphus, President of Asian Pacific Islander American Association of Colleges and Universities Ruby Moy and Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District Alberto M. Carvalho.
HSAPC has multiple missions with the foremost being safety and security on high school and college campuses. It will work with schools on emergency preparedness, prevention, response, mitigation and recovery efforts.
Other objectives for the council include improving communications between entities about threats and security information, developing career opportunities for the DHS and expanding research opportunities.
“Leaders of our academic institutions and campus life have a great deal to offer in helping us counter the evolving and emerging threats to the homeland,” Mayorkas said.
“The Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council’s insights into strategic research, innovation, career development, and partnership opportunities for the Department will support our mission to safeguard the American people, and help our country think through and prepare for whatever threats lie ahead. I am grateful to each of the twenty Council members I am appointing today for their willingness to serve, and I look forward to receiving their guidance and recommendations,” he added.
The group Mayorkas appointed represents a wide array of people invested in academia, including higher education associations, campus law enforcement and two- and four-year colleges and universities.
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