There is a systemic issue of racial bias in our community, and consequently, I don’t support the conclusions in the Williams/Moss report for several reasons.
I am not the first person to assert these remarks publicly. In fact, black students in our community have made statements similar to this since the release of the Williams/Moss report two years ago.
Comparing the statistics in the report to our peer institutions is both qualitatively unsound and problematic. It merely proves that the issue of racial bias is prevalent in communities and higher-education institutions across our country and that policing problems are not just unique to our community. The issue at Wake Forest is a product of systemic biases.
It’s extremely unsettling that university police did not bother to ask Deborah Marke if she was okay or why she was upset, and even more unsettling that students of color are being profiled, questioned and arrested at rates staggering to that of white students.
Deborah’s story is not uncommon; it is representative of the stories of many students of color on our campus and reflects the complexities of racial bias at Wake Forest that we, as a community, have yet to fully work through.
Incidents like these are deeply upsetting and manifest a need for increased and restructured empathy training toward minorities in police departments within our community and those across the country.
This report brings to light a long-standing issue in our community, and I am strongly urging the administration to follow through on awaited reforms discussed during the deliberative dialogue and numerous discussions, and advocating for University Police to refocus empathy as the core pillar of our community.
In my conversations with the administration, I understand that reforms are underway and progress is afoot, but they must be better communicated to students. I unequivocally believe that initiatives to fix community policing issues are of commensurate importance, starting with simply admitting that there is, in fact, a problem.
Regardless of reforms and initiatives underway, many students will remain unhappy with any progress until the trust deficit between the administration and students is mollified and truth before reconciliation is truly enacted.
Student Government President