Common Sense Missing From Minority Student Proposal At University Of Minnesota


Which is more helpful when police are asking the public’s help in looking for a suspect: a witness description identifying the perpetrator “as a tall black man with his hair in cornrows” or “a tall man with black hair?”

Easy, right?

But a consortium of minority student groups at the University of Minnesota, in a fit of confusing “racial” with “racist,” is putting heavy pressure on the school’s administrators to withhold from future campus crime alerts any description of a suspect’s race.

The groups — composed of members of the African American and African Studies department, the Black Faculty and Staff Association, the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association, the Black Men’s Forum, the Black Student Union and the Huntley House for African American Males — sent a letter to UM President Eric Kaler in December calling on the university to stop including racial descriptions “at the expense of our Black men.”

CBS Minnesota reported last week the minority groups “unanimously agree” that:

…[C]ampus 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. In addition to causing Black men to feel unsafe and distrusted, racial profiling is proven to inflict negative psychological effects on its victims.

The letter didn’t address the distinction between racial profiling — which Personal Liberty Digest™ and numerous other websites have castigated as an unConstitutional discriminatory practice — and witness descriptions of suspected criminals whom police are trying to find for questioning.

What’s worse is that university officials appear to be at least somewhat receptive to the idea. Vice President of University Service Pamela Wheelock responded to the groups’ demands with a letter of her own that expressed concern “that members of your organizations and others in the University community believe there to be an increase in racial profiling.”

Wheelock did defend the standard practice of publicizing a suspect’s physical appearance as being consistent with police practices at other Big 10 universities.

Meanwhile, property crime on the UM campus is reportedly up more than 25 percent over previous years.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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