Black students ask University to stop using racial descriptions in crime alerts

UMPD

Photo: Bob Crippa, KARE 11

Black students and staff at the University of Minnesota have joined forces to ask that campus police discontinue using racial descriptions in school-wide crime alerts saying racial profiling of black males “inflicts negative psychological effects” on them.

Members of the “African American and African Studies, Black Faculty and Staff Association, Black Graduate and Professional Student Association, Black Men’s Forum, Black Student Union and Huntley House for African American Males” sent a letter in early December to university officials citing a November incident where campus police “wrongfully identified a student as the suspect” in an attempted robbery.

“[We] unanimously agree that campus safety should be of the UMPD’s utmost importance; however, efforts to reduce crime should never be at the expense of our Black men, or any specific group of people likely to be targeted,” the letter read, according to the local CBS News affiliate. “In addition to causing Black men to feel unsafe and distrusted, racial profiling is proven to inflict negative psychological effects on its victims.”

Ian Taylor, Jr., president of the Black Men’s Forum said Wednesday at a meeting that crime alerts with the repeated wording of “black, black, black suspect…really discomforts the mental and physical comfort for students on campus because they feel like suspicions begin to increase.”

The letter outlined 12 suggested recommendations, including requiring officers with the University of Minnesota Police Department to “attend diversity training,” the CBS report said.

On Tuesday, after announcing that robberies “in and around” the campus have increased “27 percent over the last few years,” Pamela Wheelock, vice president of University Services, responded in writing to the group’s concerns, but disagreed with the recommendations to remove racial descriptions in campus crime alerts.

According to the article:

I am concerned that members of your organizations and others in the University community believe there to be an increase in racial profiling. As I stated earlier profiling will not be tolerated on campus. If there is a concern or complaint about University police practices, both Chief Hestness and I are committed to investigating the matter promptly and thoroughly.

I firmly believe that a well-informed community is an asset to public safety…I believe that sharing more information in our Crime Alerts, not less, is most beneficial in terms of public safety, especially when that information is available.

The information we share can include a complete description of suspects, unique identifying characteristics such as an accent or a distinctive piece of clothing, or the description of vehicles involved.

We have reviewed what other Big Ten Universities and local colleges and universities include, and our practice of including the race of a suspect when it is available from a victim’s description is consistent with their practices.

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Janeen Capizola

"And though she be but little, she is fierce." And fun! This conservative-minded political junkie, mom of three, dancer and one-time NFL cheerleader holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science. [email protected] Twitter: @JaneenBPR

Comments

34 thoughts on “Black students ask University to stop using racial descriptions in crime alerts

  1. jerry says:

    But of course there Not Racist

  2. 19below says:

    Also curious is that one 12 recommendations of this collection of groups is that officers with the University of Minnesota Police Department to “attend diversity training”.

    Would a baccalaureate degree in diversity make a suspect in any particular crime alert less black of less white, or shorter or taller or driving a F150 instead of a Camary? A physical description is just that. No amount of “training” will change that.

    What these groups seem to want is the obfuscation of specific facts in specific circumstances which are directly applicable but inconvenience a sociopolitical agenda.

    1. Eric Goodman says:

      If they are all forced to attend diversity training, that removes one more layer of the “penalty” phase should an officer be charged with discriminating or profiling. The plaintiff could petition the judge to throw the book at the defendant, since the standard 1st option in profiling cases is to attend the training in the first place. Think of the juicy lawsuits that could be filed? “The university police profiled and discriminated against my client even AFTER they attended courses that taught not to do that. You see, they are truly racist, and therefore the university owns me even more money for pain and suffering and emotional anguish!”

    2. Tim says:

      “Also curious is that one 12 recommendations of this collection of groups is that officers with the University of Minnesota Police Department to “attend diversity training”.”

      I think these black groups need to attend diversity training. They don’t seem to be able to cope with other groups in a polite way.

      1. SusieQ says:

        It occurs to me that every group, dept. etc. bends over backwards except the groups that whine and complain all the time, even when they are trying to be helped. When are they going to pitch in and help in some way shape or form.

  3. Pamela K. Cahoon Laub says:

    Well their little, bitty feeling got hurt by truth. How about different terminology: The suspect is a non-white, medium, light or darks-skinned male. Would they be happier with that? Give me a break! If a black is the suspect – say it – just as you would say a white, Asian or Native American to narrow down the potential perpetrator pool of suspects.

  4. Frank E. Licata says:

    OK then if the cops can use the words “black” land “white” to describe a perp, they should also not use the words “male” and “female” too because that may offend some women’s rights groups. WTF is wrong with people? Are they all as retarded as race-baiter Oompah Winfrey now?

  5. joe cartwright says:

    The what do you call them?? Nigg@#& ???

  6. Robert Jones says:

    If you don’t want your description included in reports of a crime…don’t commit crimes.. Black, White, Asian, or Indian.

  7. chris8lee says:

    ironic how all the groups involved in the letter use “black” in their titles

  8. Allan Daniel says:

    Let me suggest that the Black Student Union would be better off using its time finding ways to reduce crime in black areas instead of finding ways to hide the uncomfortable fact of wholesale crime commited by blacks.

  9. Si Simmons says:

    RE: “Black students ask University to stop using racial descriptions in crime alerts” — any suggestions?

Comments are closed.

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