View Full Version : Amid race concerns, UMN curtails crime suspect descriptions

07-25-2018, 04:14 PM
The University of Minnesota no longer will include race and other descriptions of suspects in email crime alerts, unless there is enough detail to aid in an arrest.

Federal law requires that colleges and universities give timely warnings about serious safety threats on campus, but critics say the U’s routine use of racial descriptors in crime alerts has made campus unwelcoming and less safe for people of color.

University President Eric Kaler agreed, although for some, the change in practice does not go far enough.

In a letter Wednesday to faculty, staff and students, Kaler said he has been persuaded that suspect descriptions “may unintentionally reinforce racist stereotypes of black men and other people of color as criminals and threats.”

Officials now plan to provide no description of a suspect unless “there is sufficient detail that would help identify a specific individual or group.”

A review of 51 crime alerts since 2012 found that suspect descriptions in 15 cases would not have met the new criteria.

Pamela Wheelock, vice president for university services, said she and the campus police chief will decide case by case whether to give a description of the suspect, including race, gender and other identifiers, such as clothing or tattoos

Female student: A man tried to rape me officer !

University President Eric Kaler: Arrest all men within 50 miles.