It’s back to school time and receiving emails from the administration is almost protocol, but one sent message has students at the University of Akron very upset.
Recently, after widespread crime around the university, a school official sent an email telling students to “cooperate with police,” to not use profanity, to not run and to identify themselves when stopped. The problem the students had with the email? It only went out to Black male students.
The email reads as follows:
"As you may be aware, a series of robberies have occurred around campus over the last few weeks particularly on the south and east ends of campus. Although most of these crimes have not been committed by University of Akron students, the primary suspects have been African-American males between the ages of 18–23.
Your safety as well as the safety of all UA students is of utmost concern. As a result of these robberies, The University of Akron Police Department is actively addressing this issue and working to make the campus and the surrounding areas safe for all students.
Furthermore, as African-American male students, it is critical to ensure you that you are not a target based on race and gender. However, to ensure your safety, I advise you to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
In the event that you are stopped by the police, here are a few tips to follow:
Cooperate fully with questions
Identify yourself as a UA student and please carry identification with you at all times
Even if you are angered, refrain from using profanity as you could be charged with disorderly conduct
Do not run from the police as you could be charged with a crime
However, in the event that you believe you have been treated unfairly or in an inappropriate manner, please call (330) 330-972-2911 tel:330-972-2911 to make a formal complaint or feel free to contact my office at (330) 972-8289."
“Do not run from the police?” Really? For some reason the University felt the need to tell their African-American students how to act in front of police, but the bottom line is that the email was inappropriate and discriminatory. The official who sent the message claimed that he wanted to keep students safe, but perhaps increasing security would have been a better means of doing so.
This is not the first time that the city of Akron has targeted African-Americans. It is also the same place where Kelly Williams-Bolar, the mother of two who used her father’s address to send her daughters to a better and safer school, did not receive a pardon for the crime the city charged as a felony.
Based on these two events, sooner rather than later it may be time for those in Akron to do some damage control before they lose the trust of their minority population.
To contact or share story ideas with Danielle Wright, follow and tweet her at @DaniWrightTV.
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