I read Tyler Evains’ “Commentary: Increased security reflects anti-black bias” (May 4) and it was like déjà vu all over again. Didn’t we go over this a few years ago when something similar happened? I even remember going to a meeting where the President listened and responded to students about similar concerns. But maybe my recollection is not good, and maybe I don’t have all of the facts in this case, so let me approach this in the following way. We can argue about what the policy should be, but not about its application. Whatever the policy is, it must be applied uniformly, if that is not the case now. If this requires a conversation with the University with the La Verne Police Department, then the conversation should be had. But we must have equal treatment under the law (and policies) on our campus, even if that is not the case in the wider society. We need to look no further than the mass incarceration of black folks in the United States for the evidence.
In my Latina/o Experience class we’re reading Victor Rios’ book, “Human Targets,” on how police and school officials label and criminalize young people of color, even unintentionally, sometimes out of fear, others because they don’t understand (and do not make enough of an effort to understand). I hope we’re not doing that at La Verne. I would like to see a response by the appropriate office(s) of the University to Tyler Evains’ concerns, which I’m sure other students share, and for a statement to be issued to the campus community, assuring it that if there has been racial bias, it was inadvertent (assuming, and I hope, it was), apologizing, and then announcing steps that will be taken to prevent its re-occurrence. If we can’t handle something like this at an institution that professes the loftiest of values and a commitment to diversity, we’re in even more trouble as a society than I thought we were and that a recent presidential election suggests.
Professor of Sociology