At North Carolina State University, a petition launched June 9 by the “NC State Coalition of Black Organizations” stated that “as students of NC State University, we do not feel safe nor protected by the Raleigh Police Department or our current University Police Department.”
On June 10 — one day after the petition began circulating — someone was killed on campus, but it was not at the hands of police.
The suspect was arrested on suspicion of murder for the on-campus shooting, university police stated on their website. Both the suspect and the victim are black, according to local news reports and social media profiles. They are not students at the school, and are unaffiliated with the campus, and the motive may have involved some sort of family dispute, the reports noted.
According to the most recent crime stats published by NC State campus police, there were no murders or acts of manslaughter on campus in 2018. But there were other on-campus crimes reported in 2018: nine rapes; 16 fondlings; five aggravated assaults; one robbery; 13 burglaries; two motor thefts; 60 drug-related arrests; and 32 cases of stalking.
As for the petition, titled “A Request for Substantial Change in Policing at NC State University,” it states that for “far too long, Black people in America have been subjected to acts of inherent racism through policing. Racial profiling, harrasment, excessive force, and murder. The sense of security that police presence is supposed to provide does not apply to people of color, especially Black people.”
The petition lists 12 demands, including that the university cut ties with the Raleigh Police Department, give the campus community more input over the University Police Department with respect to policy, hiring and budget, and enact a new system that better handles complaints against officers.
The petition also demands officers undergo annual “extensive training on de-escalation tactics, diversity and cultural engagement, racial bias, and mental health” to be “administered by local Black organizations that specialize in these programs.” And, among other measures, the petition demands campus security alerts “should not only be sent when the suspect is a Black man.”
As of Tuesday afternoon the petition had nearly 5,000 signatures.
“The petition also comes following Chancellor Randy Woodson’s responses to the current racial climate and incidents of racism by students leaked on social media,” the campus newspaper the Technician reports. “The authors of the petition say the chancellor’s responses do not address the ‘relationship between campus security and Black students,’ nor do they include ‘a plan to ensure the safety of Black students’ on campus.”
A statement put out by Dave Rainer, associate vice chancellor for environmental health and public safety, and Daniel Lee House Jr., chief of police of the NC State University Police Department, addressed the petitioners’ concerns.
The statement denounced and condemned “the lethal force used by police against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others,” but explained that the campus officers have special training on how to serve in a university setting, and defended the ability to retain mutual aid agreements with the Raleigh Police Department for campus safety and other reasons.
“Through best practices, transparency, and effective communication, we strive to meet the needs of the NC State community. We welcome opportunities to explore issues, address concerns and improve our services,” the letter states.
IMAGE: Art Olympic / Shutterstock