ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland’s public colleges and universities would be required to develop stronger policies for reporting and documenting campus hate crimes and bias incidents under a measure introduced in the General Assembly on Friday in response to the stabbing of a Black Bowie State University student at the University of Maryland.
Democratic Delegate Angela Angel modeled her bill partly on some actions already taken at the College Park campus in the aftermath of U.S Army 2nd Lt. Richard Collins’ death in May 2017, with a goal of seeing those replicated statewide.
For example, the measure calls for a coordinator to take reports and make sure they are posted online for students, faculty and the public to see. The University of Maryland is in the process of hiring such a coordinator.
“I hope the steps the University of Maryland is taking to make the campus a safe place for all students is expanded to all other universities and colleges in the state, and hopefully other states are able to model this bill to protect their students, as well,” said Angel’s chief of staff, Yanet Amanuel, who was part of a coalition urging stronger measures against hate crimes when she was a student there.
The bill would require that the outcome of such investigations be made public. It also would mandate hate-crime awareness training for freshmen, and electronic alert systems that notify students about campus hate crimes. The measure would require the Maryland Higher Education Commission to submit a report to the General Assembly on the universities’ compliance with diversity goals and reporting on hate-bias incidents.
“It seems to be happening in our society more and more — that there’s kind of this undercurrent that we’re not necessarily paying as close attention to — and then when something bubbles up and a tragedy happens, then we’re reactive,” Angel said.