For the past 20 years, Dr. Nancy Greenstein has championed student issues.
As director of police community services for UCPD’s division at UCLA, Dr. Greenstein has dedicated her career to supporting students’ activism and amplifying their voices. She has worked tirelessly to help Bruins feel safe and heard.
This week, she’s retiring from her career at UCLA.
As former students and activists, we want to express our gratitude and admiration to Dr. Greenstein for playing an integral role in our work’s success, and highlight the importance of her unique position as a bridge between student voices and UCPD – a position and legacy that needs to remain for years to come.
Dr. Greenstein provided both of us with foundational support for campuswide initiatives during our time on campus, such as through the Bruin Consent Coalition and the Let’s Get Lit! lighting campaign. She helped establish the Campus Safety Alliance, UCLA’s first ever student-UCPD direct line of contact, and facilitated numerous student safety initiatives.
Her position was the mechanism by which students were able to positively engage with UCPD officers and with the department as a whole. Dr. Greenstein dedicated herself to making UCPD a safer and more inclusive environment by doing what so many administrators are hesitant to do: take students seriously.
Dr. Greenstein worked with student survivors and activists with Bruin Consent Coalition – formerly known as 7000 in Solidarity – to support robust campus reforms and increase support for survivors of violence. Violence and harassment are realities many Bruins have faced or will face on campus. The most important things a survivor wants after a trauma is to be heard and to find justice – whatever that means to them. And Dr. Greenstein did just that.
Dr. Greenstein also advocated for survivors to join important administrative meetings, promoted student ideas – including increased trauma-informed training for police – and provided mentorship for activists on the ground. This resulted in changes to the student code of conduct, increased administrative support and funding and statewide advocacy for the entire University of California system.
She also worked alongside members of the Undergraduate Students Association Council’s Internal Vice President’s Office to create the Campus Safety Alliance, a formal committee that serves as a mechanism for collaborative dialogue and problem-solving between the UCLA administration, UCPD and students. This multistakeholder approach to community relations works to change the goal of campus safety from policing to inclusivity.
Dr. Greenstein took student concerns seriously, stepping in where others have given up. For years, student leaders tried to address basic safety issues – like lighting in the North Village – to no avail. Conflicts between jurisdiction and bureaucracy made any proposed fix too difficult to navigate. But that didn’t stop Dr. Greenstein. She leveraged her position to identify key stakeholders, schedule appointments with government officials and develop the framework of the Let’s Get Lit! lighting campaign alongside student leaders and the Internal Vice President’s Office. The campaign resulted in North Village lights being upgraded to LED bulbs and a long-term plan to assess and update the underground circuitry.
Dr. Greenstein was also willing to help students address bureaucratic transparency. Rather than shy away from feedback, Dr. Greenstein worked to institutionalize quarterly UCPD open forums through the Internal Vice President’s Office. These forums were developed in an effort to create listening sessions, tackle hard conversations and foster understanding between students and officers. Without her insight into department mechanics and her unrelenting desire to develop positive relationships with students, these forums never would have gotten off the ground.
UCPD, like police departments across the country, is imperfect. There is always more work to be done to foster stronger community ties and trust. UCLA is a microcosm of larger American society, and in light of rampant police brutality across the U.S., it’s important to note that not all Bruins feel welcome in Westwood or protected by officers.
And yet, in part to address these issues, Dr. Greenstein has been a bridge between students and officers. She translated our asks into concrete actions.
It is essential Dr. Greenstein’s work does not get dismantled. Dr. Greenstein is the reason there is such a strong relationship between students and the police department, and UCPD and the UCLA administration need to uphold her legacy of collaboration and inclusion.
Nancy, thank you for listening, for caring and for creating positive change for all Bruins. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Badalich graduated from UCLA in 2015 and served as the Undergraduate Students Association Council’s student wellness commissioner during the 2013-2015 academic years. Hourdequin graduated from UCLA in 2017 and served as the Undergraduate Students Association Council’s internal vice president during the 2014-2016 academic years.