After months of heightened racial tensions on the University of Maryland, College Park campus, the administration announced Monday a streamlined procedure for responding to hate-bias incidents.
The university plans to hire a hate-bias response coordinator to help carry out the newly codified procedures, which call for multiple university agencies to collaborate to create a safer campus environment.
This marks the latest step taken by the university after a white former UM student was charged with fatally stabbing a black Bowie State student in May.
Campus community members are instructed to report hate-bias incidents to the University of Maryland Police Department or the university’s Title IX office, which will acknowledge and review the report within 48 hours, according to the newly released protocol. Those who report such an incident will be referred to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and other campus resources.
The hate-bias response coordinator will then formulate an action plan after talking with the people impacted by the incident and relevant campus administrators.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will keep an online log of such incidents, the protocol states, and update it as reports are received. A finalized system for alerting the broader community will be announced in coming weeks, school officials said in a news release. Opt-in email announcements will be sent out to the campus community, according to the protocol.
“A clear and transparent protocol for hate-bias incidents on our campus is essential to ensuring a sense of safety for our students, faculty and staff,” said Roger L. Worthington, the university’s chief diversity officer.
In May, Army Lieutenant Richard W. Collins III, 23, a black Bowie State student, was visiting friends in College Park when police say Sean Urbanski, 22, who is white, approached them near a university bus stop.
Urbanski, the former UM student, stabbed the Collins in the chest, according to charging documents. Collins was just days away from graduation at the time of his death.
Urbanski, who belonged to a Facebook group called Alt Reich: Nation, was later indicted on a hate-crime charge, as well as first- and second-degree murder.
The past few years in College Park have been punctuated by other racially-motivated incidents: a noose was discovered in a fraternity house and white supremacist posters were glued up around campus on multiple occasions. Swastikas have been reported scrawled on campus buildings.
Shortly after Collins was killed, university president Wallace D. Loh announced a series of steps to fight hate on campus, including the creation of a task force on bias and campus safety. Loh has also committed to periodic campus climate surveys, collaboration with the Anti-Defamation League for campus programs and the creation of rapid-response campus team to help victims of hate and bias, along with other steps toward diversity and inclusion.