National Center for Campus Public Safety

A National Conversation on Police and Community Interactions on HBCU Campuses

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On July 14, 2016, President Barack Obama held a televised town hall meeting, “The President and the People: A National Conversation,” to discuss race and policing in America. The event acknowledged that the national climate surrounding police shootings involving people of color and the retaliation against law enforcement officers had escalated to a point where leadership was needed. Many chiefs of police at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) also recognized that their students, in particular, were being negatively affected by these incidents and the national climate.

Consistent with its role as a nationwide resource for addressing critical issues in campus safety, the National Center for Campus Public Safety partnered with the HBCU Law Enforcement Executives and Administrators (HBCU-LEEA) to host a two-day event in the nation’s capital on August 30 and 31, 2016. The emerging issues forum, A National Conversation on Police and Community Interactions on HBCU Campuses, held on the second day involved in-depth discussions between student leaders and their police chiefs/safety directors representing 20 colleges and universities. The primary purpose of the forum was to identify gaps in perception between students and public safety officials and to build a framework to help the campus community bridge those gaps.

The group agreed that the issues needing urgent attention are: local/campus police interaction; fear of law enforcement; lack of trained officers; challenging authority; and, communication between campus police and students. They identified a series of potential solutions to urgent challenges in these areas and committed to implementing specific recommendations on their campuses within 15 days of the forum, by the end of the semester, and by the end of the academic year.

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