President Robert Henry sent out an email responding to allegations of racial prejudice on campus.
After students and alumni shared experiences they had with campus police, Henry sent an email to the campus community addressing their concerns.
“These are matters that I take very seriously. The Oklahoma City University family should expect a fair, just, and safe environment. Our campus must be an inclusive place that encourages diversity and turns away racism,” he wrote in an Oct. 4 email.
Broderick McQuarters, flute performance sophomore, accused campus police of racial profiling after he was awakened at 2 a.m. Sept. 27 by two officers.
The officers told McQuarters they were looking for a black man and woman who were seen on surveillance breaking the Methodist Hall parking garage sensor. They questioned him because his truck was the last vehicle to pull into the Methodist Hall parking garage that night.
There is no report of officers going into McQuarters’s room. The police report about the broken sensor only mentions one suspect – a white woman who later admitted it was her.
“Entering my room while I’m asleep, yelling at me to get up, questioning me without any proof that it was me, and then accusing me of the crime anyway is racial profiling,” McQuarters said Sept. 28.
McQuarters said he met with Bradd Brown, chief of police, and Lesley Black, associate dean of student. He said he didn’t want the officer fired, but didn’t just want it to be a “slap on the hand.”
He also met with Henry later and said Henry was very apologetic. McQuarters said Henry handled the situation well.
“I appreciated the concern he showed throughout the entire time that I met with him, and also the fact that he took the initiative to bring this matter to light instead of just letting it pass over. He actually did something about it and took action,” McQuarters said.
An investigation into the allegations revealed that the “actions of the officers involved fell short of our standards,” Henry wrote in the email.
“The police department will ensure compliance with proper policy on entering university housing, and will also continue requiring diversity training for all officers. The officers who were the subjects of the allegations have been placed on restricted duty pending the completion of additional training. Restricted duty allows those officers to work in the campus police station, but removes them from field duty,” he wrote.
Henry also wrote that he would meet with members of the Black Student Association at their meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 in Homsey Hall in Sarkeys Science and Mathematics Center. He welcomes anyone to attend the meeting.
McQuarters said he hopes people attend and leave the meeting knowing more about what BSA is about.
President Henry wrote in a separate email that the responsibility to have an open and diverse campus rests on everybody.
“Although I believe that the early morning entry into a student’s room based on a property crime was not in line with our standards, the investigation found no evidence of racial profiling or racial bias,” he wrote. “I would ask everyone to take a deep breath and have a respectable dialogue about the kind of campus we have, and how to build on its strengths and correct its weaknesses.”