University of Minnesota students were sent an email on Wednesday from President Eric Kaler, stating that it was the decision of both himself and Vice President Pamela Wheelock to remove “racial descriptions” from the crime alerts. Kaler and Wheelock have committed a gross injustice against the safety of the student body. The email admits to a variety of absurd reasons for this shift in policy on crime reports.
Wheelock states that,“Moving forward, the University will only use a suspect description when there is sufficient detail that would help identify a specific individual or group.”
It’s hard to think of an instance where suspect descriptions would not help the public in identifying a specific individual or group. It seems impossible to properly inform the public of a threat if a description of the perpetrator is not given.
For example, on Jan. 23, 2014, a crime alert indicated that a white male 45-50 years old sexually assaulted a girl in the Prospect Park area. The description of a “white male, 45-50 years old” is an extremely important aspect to identifying who committed the crime. While this description is obviously not sufficient to make an arrest, it is enough for students to be wary of a person fitting that description acting in an odd manner.
This does not mean all “white males, 45-50 years old” on the U of M campus are sexual predators, and it is highly unlikely that anyone on campus would make that inference. The same reasoning could be applied to a crime alert on Jan. 23, 2014, when four black males assaulted a student and stole his valuables. Again, this does not infer that all black males on campus are criminals, yet the description was helpful to law enforcement officials in arresting three out of the four people who had committed the robbery.
The email pointed out that Kaler had “heard and sincerely considered the diverse voices and opinions that have been shared.” Having asked the conservative groups on campus, many said they had not been informed or asked for their opinions at all in these matters. In fact, the email said that “particularly black men” are the ones that feel upset and targeted by these racial descriptions. However, the email fails to indicate any sort of concrete event or link between these crime alert descriptions and some sort of negative stereotype against black people.
Nevertheless, black males feel offended by these crime alerts. But should they? The crime alerts are in no way referencing that black males on the U of M campus are more likely to assault people, it is simply stating the description of the perpetrator of a crime. The crime alerts are simply stating the facts of a crime which occurs on campus. Anything that people infer about the descriptions should not be the concern of the U of M administration.
The proximity of this policy change to the takeover of Morrill Hall a few weeks back is particularly disturbing. Students and non-students part of a group known as Whose Diversity? took over Kaler’s office and demanded, among other things, an end to racialized crime alerts. Kaler should realize that these people were radicals within the U of M’s student body and that their opinions do not reflect that of the vast majority of students. Kaler should not bend to the pressure of radicalized leftist groups on campus who have taken illegal actions in order to get their message across. This group cares little about the safety of students, being that it is more concerned with getting its own agenda across by whatever means necessary.
In a public safety update sent by Wheelock, in which she addressed the improvements made to the U of M’s security, she stated that “While conditions have improved, we’re not about to declare victory or hang a Mission Accomplished banner on Coffman Union.” Indeed, Wheelock herself acknowledges that there are still threats to the U of M’s security. The use of racial description in the crime reports is just one of the many tools that have been used by the university in the past to combat crime on campus. Endangering students in an attempt to cater to the demands of overly “politically correct” non-student activists is cowardly on the part of the U of M, and Kaler should be ashamed of himself for giving in so easily.