The University of Maryland announced a list of new protocols to handle hate crimes and racism on campus.
The new rules come after high profile incidents on the campus this year, included the stabbing death of a Bowie State University student, a noose found in a fraternity house, and at least three incidents of swastikas scribbled inside a restroom.
Dr. Roger Worthington, the chief diversity officer at the University of Maryland, said the new plan streamlines communications and reporting incidents to campus police.
“We've seen a rise of incidents across the country of hate and bias,” Worthington said. He said a hate bias response coordinator is being hired to lead a team of professionals “to make sure that we have the proper preventative, medication training and response efforts anytime an incident takes place on our campus.”
In May during final exams, Richard Collins, a visiting Bowie State student, was stabbed to death while waiting at a bus stop on the College Park campus. He was three days from graduating as a second lieutenant.
Sean Urbanski, a University of Maryland student, is charged with murder and a hate crime in the stabbing death. UMd. students believe the university didn't take strong enough action after the stabbing. They are making a documentary about the aftermath of Collins’ death.
“It's being made to bring to light being a minority on this campus,” said Brieion Goodson, one of the producers of the documentary. “Lt. Collins was stabbed on campus just for being black. No other reason but just for being black. Being himself.”
“These is a historical contact for this crime, especially on this campus,” said Kristian Simon, another documentary producer. “This campus has had a history of racism. A lot of acts that led up to this incident.”
The university hopes the new initiatives to combat hate and bias send a clear message to the campus community.
“I think students need to understand that university is working very hard to make sure that this is the safest and most welcoming place that we can make it,” Worthington said.