The Community Response Team is a person-centered, trauma-informed mobile crisis care program serving persons in crisis on Cornell’s Ithaca campus. CRT’s objective is to provide an in-person and health-centered response to non-violent 911 crisis calls and thereby reduce the need for police response. The team employs holistic healthcare expertise to de-escalate emergency situations and assist persons in crisis to navigate their way out. CRT plays a key role as the supportive interface linking persons in crisis, the Division of Public Safety, and wraparound services across campus and in the Ithaca area. Last spring, as the CRT began to take shape, team members provided early outreach and engagement within on-campus residences to raise awareness of this new resource. For the 2022-23 academic year, the team, as part of the Division of Public Safety, will continue to develop it’s structure with a full-time licensed director and team of response coordinators providing services to all parts of campus community.
The need for such a team emerged in summer 2020 when President Martha E. Pollack called for evaluating and reimagining the university’s safety and security protocols following the widespread national protests of the killing of George Floyd. That need was echoed by Cornell’s Public Safety Advisory Committee, which recommended the university implement an alternative public safety and response model. An increasing number of universities and community agencies are finding alternative ways to respond to campus incidents reducing the need for law enforcement.