Reforming Police Presence At HBCU Campuses
Who we know to be the ‘gatekeepers’ of the community are now the problem, especially on HBCU campuses. Contentious attitudes toward campus police dread HBCU students, but reforms to improve policing are underway nationally. The community of our future leaders needs safety and empathy for a better educational experience.
The Current Status of Police
Recent years have shown examples of unsafe situations happening at HBCUs, like racially targeted bomb threats that cause campus-wide lockdowns. Last December, the arrest of a Winston-Salem State student went viral due to aggressive handling by police. The attitude between police and the campus community appears to be combative instead of protective.
Police Presence on HBCU Campuses
Opponents would like to say the tension stems from the military-style approach with students of color. Editor Ciera Graham breaks down a few reasons in her BestColleges article, Police Presence on HBCU Campuses. She mentions the racist ‘trepidation’ involved in law enforcement that would rather charge than help a student — this goes back to when Cheyney University established in 1837. Not to mention, the distrust for police that have a recurring pattern of ‘beefing’ up security during inner campus disputes. For example, the security of Homecoming festivities protects the community to where any trace of violent student acts are cleaned up quick, but outside disruptions of white patrons are never handled firmly. Death threats and racist acts have been happening since the beginning of HBCUs, yet it continues to be an issue.
Proactive reforms with local law enforcements near HBCUs are currently taking place. Direct implementation in various systems examines and re-evaluates existing practices. In addition, the platform of hall forums with students and police personnel creates the space for open and honest conversations. A result in which education is transparent and understanding to trust each other.
What the Future Holds
Moving forward, the voice between students and law enforcement are joining as one to decide effective measures for a safer community. The process for this will not be ‘easy,’ as one director states in a BestCollege article, but the work must continue.
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