UMD announces new protocols for handling hate-bias incidents

COLLEGE PARK, Md.-- The University of Maryland is streamlining its response when it comes to hate-bias incidents on campus after high profile incidents on campus this year including the stabbing death of a Bowie State University student.

University of Maryland announced the new protocols earlier this week for handling such incidents.

Some students on campus say more needs to be done to focus of prevention of those occurrences, while official says that is what the campus is aiming for with the new measures.

Natalia Salmon is a Freshman attending UMD who said, “I think it is a great move that they are making, it’s just kind of annoying that it took something this great for them to start implementing something like that.”

 What Salmon is referring to is the hate crime that killed Lieutenant Richard Collins III, a Black Bowie State student, after being stabbed to death at a bus stop on campus.

“The protocol includes both existing practices that we’ve been engaged in all along and some new approaches to the work that we’re doing on campus includeing the hiring of a new hate-bias coordinator and the appointment of a new hate bias response team of professionals on campus.”, explained Roger L. Worthington, UMD’s Chief Diversity Officer and Interim Associate Provost.
He said the new measures will help to better communicate when hate-bias incidents have occurred and allow for greater transparency.

Worthington says the new hate bias coordinator will provide support for those affected by such offensive acts.

“The Hate-Bias Coordinator will be for prevention and education and training all throughout campus.”, said Worthington.

 Austin Plummer is a Junior who sits on UMD's Black Student Union presidential cabinet who said,“My problem with the university has been that they’re more focused on reacting rather than preventing situations.”

Plummer said while the new protocols are a start, officials should be working hard to prevent such incidents from happening in the first place and would like to see concrete consequences for offenders.

“There’s no straight defined consequences for hate-bias incidents or racist incidents, so we’re trying to advocate for the university to kind of create something that holds people to a standard, so we know what to refer to if this should happen again and that there are proper consequences for these actions.”, said Plummer.

 Students will still report incidents direction to campus police and the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct.

A system logging each incident as it happens for the campus community to see is also in the works.