University of Minnesota Proposes Banning Mention of Race in Campus Crime Alerts

Posted: Jan 30, 2014 3:45 PM

The University of Minnesota is considering a proposal that would ban descriptions of a suspect's race or ethnicity in campus crime alerts.

From Campus Reform:

In a December 6, 2013 letter to UM President Eric Kaler and the Vice President of University Services Pamela Wheelock, several black student, faculty, and staff groups wrote that they "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 included a list of 12 recommendations to give to UMPD Chief Gregory Hestness, such as requiring the school’s officers to attend diversity training and linking back to the school’s no-tolerance policy on racial profiling with each crime alert.

There is some sanity on campus, however. Wheelock has stated that she does not agree with the proposal to remove racial descriptions from crime alerts.

“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.

This proposal is ridiculous. Student safety is more important than students getting their feelings hurt. The administrators behind the letter have mixed up "racial profiling"--thinking someone committed a crime because of their skin tone--with another process generally accepted as "being able to identify a suspect." A crime alert is useless without a full description of a subject. I have a hard time believing that students on campus are overly concerned with the race of a person committing a crime on campus when they are far likely more concerned with avoiding being a victim of a crime.

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