Crime alert mistake

As an undergraduate student about to enter into a graduate program here at the University of Minnesota, I have some concerns. I have followed the Whose Diversity? protests on Facebook and Twitter and have read their requests in the newspaper.

I agreed with a few of the group’s demands because they seemed reasonable and realistically doable. However, the one demand I believed was completely wrong to ask for was getting rid of descriptions in the crime alerts. As students and faculty of the University, it is our right to be given descriptions of a suspect for a crime. The only way to narrow down a search is by knowing who to look for. Now I understand that the rule has changed to only provide a description when necessary.

Recently, we were given a crime alert without a description of race. A girl was driven somewhere unknown and sexually assaulted. Aside from someone being murdered, this is one of the biggest fears for females on campus, if not more so because of the probability of it actually happening.

If a full suspect description was not necessary for her case, then when will it become necessary? The color of someone’s skin in the crime alert does not mean people are being racist. People report the facts, and the facts are sent to everyone for safety.

In a separate incident, someone recently ran around Stadium Village molesting girls, and the description included a white male. But this week someone goes further and we no longer get to know what they look like. If we remove skin color we might as well  remove gender because it seems very biased toward men, and we might be sexist by only reporting crimes done by men. This seems ridiculous to say, right?

But this is what you are doing by removing a major descriptor for crimes. What good is knowing height, clothes and an accent if we don’t know the rest? Just because we did not occupy Morrill Hall does not mean our safety should be compromised.