Skip to main content

U of M removes racial descriptions from crime alerts – unless it's likely to ID suspect

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

The University of Minnesota will stop using racial descriptions of suspects in its campus crime alerts after complaints it "reinforces negative stereotypes" of people of color.

New guidelines for the crime alerts announced by President Eric Kaler announced new guidelines for its crime alert Wednesday state that descriptions of race will only be included in the public announcements if the information is likely to lead to the identification of a suspect who presents a risk to people.

But, "where the information is too general to advance that goal, we will note that only a limited description of the suspect(s) is available," he added in a letter to staff and students.

According to the Pioneer Press, around 30 percent of the crime alerts released by the U since 2012 would not have enough information about a suspect to warrant the person's race being identified under the new rules.

The move follows an extensive study by university services vice president Pamela Wheelock into the issue of using racial descriptors on the alerts.

"For some, knowing they have all the information available about a crime, including the complete suspect description, makes them feel better informed and increases how safe they feel," Wheelock said in a news release.

"But others – particularly Black men – have shared that suspect descriptions negatively impact their sense of safety. They express concern that Crime Alerts that include race reinforce stereotypes of Black men as threats and create a hostile campus climate."

Sit-in protest

The use of racial descriptors was one of the issues brought to Kaler's attention by the student group Whose Diversity?, which staged a sit-in at his office earlier this month in which 13 were arrested.

In Wednesday's letter, Kaler said he was "moved by the personal experiences" conveyed to him during the sit-in.

Whose Diversity? told FOX 9 that the change in policy is not enough to improve conditions for people of color on the Twin Cities campus, saying the changes "are merely bread crumbs meant to pacify dissent and halt further actions toward justice."

"Moderate concessions are not enough to ensure the safety of students of color on this campus, and Whose Diversity? will not stop calling for substantive change until justice is served," they added.

Next Up

Amber alert wisconsin

Amber Alert in Wisconsin: Search for missing 15-year-old girl

Police believe 15-year-old Kryssy King may be with a 22-year-old man.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 10.18.12 AM

3 St. Paul fast food restaurants robbed in space of an hour

The thieves struck between 7:15 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 9.06.40 AM

What to do with the Kmart site? Minneapolis wants your ideas

The project will connect Nicollet Avenue south of Lake street and north of the Midtown Greenway, reestablishing a street grid.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 7.53.55 AM

Crowd evacuated at end of homecoming football game in Brooklyn Park

Police blamed 'unruly teens' in the stands and some who were trying to enter the stadium.

gas

State to help 44 Minnesota gas stations add E15 pumps

The yellow 88 button is coming to more gas stations in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 4.54.42 PM

FBI, police investigating bank robbery at Edina's 50th and France

An ATM technician was robbed by four men at a U.S. Bank.

Ethan Glynn

Paralyzed Bloomington football player begins rehabilitation in Colorado

Ethan Glynn is at a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital.

Press Bar fire

Owner of St. Cloud bar gets 6 years for arson, ordered to repay $3M

A February 2020 fire at the Press Bar and Parlor was later determined to be an insurance job.

IMG_5455

Bloomington, Richfield districts tighten security ahead of weekend football

Enhanced safety measures will be in place this weekend.

Related