Recent events on campus inspired conversations of racial prejudice from university officials.
President Robert Henry sent an email last week to the campus community addressing claims of racial profiling.
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An investigation on the claims of racial profiling from a black student against campus police was completed within a week.
“Based on the outcome of the investigation, I believe the actions of the officers involved fell short of our standards,” Henry wrote.
The officers were placed on restricted duty. They will work in the campus police station until they receive more training and are allowed to return to field duty.
Despite addressing the claims of racial prejudice, Henry wrote in a different email to Student Publications that there was “no evidence of racial profiling or racial bias.”
Racial profiling and racial bias can be obvious in certain places like airports, but are subtle most of the time. People don’t notice or think about it, especially if it doesn’t happen to you. When someone points out moments of racial bias, people often try to explain it away, justify themselves or become defensive. This is not okay.
Rarely will there be any substantial evidence of racial profiling or bias because of how subtle they can be. This doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
Despite not finding evidence of racial profiling, Henry still is reaching out to students of color. He attended the Black Student Association meeting Monday to have a group discussion about the issue. This is a step in the right direction.
Everyone should be more willing to openly talk about these issues, rather than just brush them off. Despite the “lack of evidence” of racial profiling, the student was still awoken at 2 a.m. by two officers looking for another black man. He still felt like his color was the reason for their accusations, which does nothing for the trust between campus police and students of color.
It doesn’t matter how subtle racial bias is, it matters how it affects people—especially students on a college campus.
Pay attention to your surroundings, stand up for what’s right and don’t let people justify any level of racial bias.