On June 9, a petition titled, “A Request for Substantial Change in Policing at NC State University,” was released by the Coalition of Black Organizations. Since its initial release, the petition has gained more than 5,000 signatures.
On June 12, the Coalition of Black Organizations released a second petition titled, “Advancing Black Undergraduate Life at NC State University.” This petition listed demands pertaining to the safety and progression of Black undergraduates on campus. Since its initial release, the petition has gained more than 6,000 signatures.
The Coalition of Black Organizations has repeatedly met with administration to discuss the demands in the petitions and how to implement effective change on campus.
The demands within the “Advancing Black Undergraduate Life at NC State University” petition have largely been met. Any of the demands that have not been met so far have been planned to.
The police petition, however, has received a different response.
The immediate response to the police petition was a promise to hold a town hall on July 8 that would allow students and the University Police Department (UPD) to have an open dialogue on the issues we currently face. The town hall was then postponed to a later date that is currently unknown.
On July 7, Chief House sent a document to the Coalition of Black Organizations addressing the demands of the police petition. The Coalition of Black Organizations held concerns that the document lacked clarity and could not be easily comprehended by the public.
On July 8, Black student leaders met with Chief House and other administrative staff members to discuss the demands in detail. The meeting concluded with Chief House promising to publicly release the University Police Department’s response to the petition by clearly stating which demands could or could not be met.
On July 21, The NC State UPD publicly released a document addressing the demands within the petition.
Out of the 12 demands within the petition, the UPD promised to honor 4 of them. These 4 include: amending their current database to include general statistics regarding the use of force, allowing student-based organizations to participate in the hiring process of UPD officers, holding RPD officers to the same standards of the UPD officers when they’re employed by the university, and requesting access to the employee personnel file of RPD officers to ensure that they do not hire an officer with a record of excessive force.
As for the other 8 demands, the UPD has provided their reasoning for why they won’t implement them. These reasonings however, were purposefully vague. The main theme throughout these reasons was that they felt like they already met the demands.
It should go without saying that if a group of organizations on campus felt the need to make these demands in the first place, then you clearly do not meet them.
This ambiguity isn’t just a sign of neglect. It’s a sign of harm. The UPD intentionally not meeting each demand that was asked of them will lead to further violence enacted on Black students.
The UPD ended the document by saying that they would be open to a conversation to discuss the petition. They invited students to join any of their outreach meetings (like Coffee with a Cop) or to personally schedule a meeting with the Police Chief.
While these invitations are good-willed, they don’t acknowledge the urgency of our demands. The issues addressed in the petition cannot be solved through drinking coffee and talking. Action needs to happen. And action is what we demanded.