Physical descriptions of crime suspects are racist, black students claim

Robby Soave Reporter
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Administrators at the University of Minnesota have been asked to stop considering race… when compiling physical descriptions of crime suspects.

A group of minority students and teachers representing the African American and African Studies department, 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 sent a letter to UM President Eric Kaler demanding that campus crime response protocols be reconsidered.

At issue is the campus crime alerts. When a crime is committed, university authorities release a physical description of the suspect to the campus populace. Since race is an important identifying physical detail, a suspect’s ethnicity is included in the alert.

The minority groups identified this as a racist practice, according to Campus Reform.

“Efforts to reduce crime should never be at the expense of our Black men, or any specific group of people likely to be targeted,” said the letter, according to CBS. “In addition to causing Black men to feel unsafe and distrusted, racial profiling is proven to inflict negative psychological effects on its victims.”

In addition to no longer including a suspect’s race in the crime alerts, the letter also asked for campus police to receive more diversity training.

Kaler did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

University Vice President Pamela Wheelock said racial profiling “would not be tolerated.” However, she stressed that it seemed important to include more information about suspects in the alerts, rather than less.

“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,” said Wheelock in a statement.

If the university did put an end to its practice of considering race in crime alerts, it would be an ironic exception to campus policy. UM practices affirmative action, and considers an applicant’s race when deciding whether to admit. (RELATED: UMich meets demands of black students who threatened ‘physical action’)

The Daily Caller reached out to the Black Men’s Forum at UM to ask whether the group supports an end to racial considerations in admission as well as in crime alerts. The group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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