Thursday, January 30, 2014
University Refuses Demand By Black Groups To End Racial Descriptions In Crime Alerts
The University of Minnesota is caught in a bind.
As your typical politically correct university, they are as sensitive to anyone bringing up the merest accusation of racism as an eyeball is to grit.
But they also have a legal responsibility to protect students on campus, one that could cost them a huge amount of money if they flub it for any reason.
There's something of a crime wave going on at U of Minnesota. School officials reported there there has been a major increase in crime in and around the University, an increase of 27 percent over the last few years.
Their normal policy when a robbery or assault occurs and the perp is at large is to send out a crime alert with a description and whatever other details are available to warn potential student victims. Last November after a student was arrested incorrectly by campus police for a break in, a letter from the 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 to university President Eric Kaler and Pamela Wheelock, the vice president of University Services.
It demanded that future crime alert descriptions avoid any mention of race in the descriptions of suspects being sought.
“[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. In addition to causing Black men to feel unsafe and distrusted, racial profiling is proven to inflict negative psychological effects on its victims.”
At Wednesday’s forum, Ian Taylor Jr., president of the Black Men’s Forum, said members of his organization feel threatened when the use of a racial description is given in the crime alerts.
“The repeated black, black, black suspect,” Taylor said. “And what that does it really discomforts the mental and physical comfort for students on campus because they feel like suspicions begin to increase.”
'Repeated black, black suspect'? Could that be, just possibly because the majority of the suspects
and perpetrators just happen to be black males?
The letter also laid out a number of recommendations, including requiring campus police officers to attend diversity training and an official policy of including with each alert a notice warning students about the dangers of racial profiling.
The university officials are said to be 'working with black student and facility organizations', but they apparently weighed political correctness against campus sdafety and common sense ( not to mention their own liability) and came out on the side of a safe campus environment.
Pamela Wheelock, the vice president of University Services, replied to the letter, stating:
“I am concerned that members of your organizations and others in the University community believe there to be an increase in racial profiling,” Wheelock said. “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.”
No less than Jesse Jackson himself once famously confessed to his own embarrassed relief when he heard footsteps behind him and turned around and saw white teenagers rather than black ones.
Plenty of whites commit crimes, and the majority of blacks are certainly law abiding. But the unpleasant fact remains that the black Americans commit far more crimes per capita in proportion to their percentage of the population than whites do.
That's a cultural issue rather than a racial one, and one we need to face up to and work together to solve for the benefit of everyone. Whining about 'profiling' isn't how that gets done.