University of Maryland President Wallace Loh released an immediate action plan Wednesday to address hate incidents on the campus after the homicide of Richard Collins III on Saturday.
This university’s administration has asked the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to create a rapid response team, composed of students, faculty and staff, which would provide support to victims of hate incidents. This university will allocate $100,000 to the office to support its education efforts, the statement read.
In the statement, Loh also tasked the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct with developing an annual report on all hate bias incidents at this university.
The statement announced a task force on hate bias and campus safety — made up of faculty, staff, students and alumni — that will review this university’s hate incident policy and consider programming and policy changes.
“We all want a culture that rejects hate and forges a more perfect union in our nation’s rich multi-cultural and multi-ethnic diversity,” Loh wrote. “But these are fraught times, on our campus, across the nation, and the world. It is on all of us to stand up and fight the racism, extremism, and hate that are cancers in our body politic.”
Loh announced that he will ask this university’s Athletic Council about strengthening existing Intercollegiate Athletics policy to make individuals bearing hate bias symbols or committing hate bias offenses in athletic venues subject to immediate removal, according to the statement.
Collins, a black Bowie State University student, was killed on the campus Saturday. Sean Urbanski, a white student at this university, was charged with first- and second-degree murder, as well as first-degree assault, in connection with his death. University Police are working with the FBI to determine whether the incident was a hate crime.
“United by this recent tragedy, we can be a force for good,” Loh wrote. “Together, we can be stronger and smarter than those who would divide us and subvert the values that undergird our University and our democracy.”
Some students have called on the university administration to respond more strongly to campus hate incidents.
ProtectUMD, a coalition of 25 student groups, requested immediate university responses to suspected hate speech, as well as the creation of an external review board to investigate on-campus hate bias incidents, during its sit-in at the Main Administration Building in May.
This protest came after a noose was found hanging in the kitchen of the Phi Kappa Tau chapter house on Fraternity Row in April. Additionally, in five reported incidents since December, white nationalist posters have been found on the campus. University Police are investigating all of these events as hate bias incidents.
More actions will be taken once the task force submits its final recommendations.
“This is the beginning,” Loh wrote.