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Strategy to combat racial profiling

The University started an initiative in the police department to hire more minority officers, to cut back on the potential racial profiling. However Captain Larry Griffiths from campus police said racial profiling isn’t a problem.

“It’s not an issue here,” he said. “I’ve always looked at this issue and couldn’t understand how it got off the ground.”

Though students’ complaints aren’t overwhelming at the time, any issue of racial profiling is a cause for concern. Associate Chancellor Deanie Brown’s office, along with the police department, are trying to hire more minority officers to combat complaints of profiling.

The associate chancellor was unavailable for comment on the issue.

“There’s an effort to diversify the department and that’s why we’re hiring,” Griffiths said.

However, the department is running into a problem. They can’t attract minority candidates to campus.

“We’re reaching out to the communities where ethnic people live,” Griffiths said. “But they don’t come out to test (for the positions).”

Griffiths said they aren’t just hiring to add ethnic diversity to the department. He also wants to get a fresh set of ideas into the department with a new crop of officers.

“We take the best qualified candidate,” he said. “We don’t care what color your skin is.”

State law requires the university police department to submit traffic stop reports to the Illinois Department of Transportation annually, including the parody between white and minority drivers.

According to data from the IDOT, UIS police only stop minority students 28 percent of the time. Out of the 620 traffic stops the police made, only 174 were minority drivers.

However, though minorities were only stopped 28 percent of the time, only 17 percent of undergraduates are of minority ethnicity. In graduate students, it’s only eight percent.

The report for the reason for stopping are skewed towards minorities as well. License and registration stops are higher for minorities, almost seven percent.  For white drivers it was just three percent.

Griffiths said when the police stop someone “it’s almost always for a traffic offense.”

Racial profiling may be stemming beyond the police department and student drivers at UIS. In a Student Government Association town hall meeting, a Pakistani student said he was profiled by food service in the PAC concourse.

The student said he asked for a food option without pork and a food service worker made a racial comment in response.

Also, the student said that after speaking with food service management, the manager and the worker who made the comment were snickering as he left the concourse.

Again the university was unavailable for comment on the issue.

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