Editorial: Students Deserve Better From Pitt Police￼
by Madison Jarnot
This issue, we covered the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion’s (OEDI) investigation happening on campus. OEDI is investigating complaints which allege Pitt-Greensburg Police Officers have discriminated against students of color on campus.
I encourage you to please read our reporter James’s coverage of the matter and hear what students have experienced first-hand, in their own words.
Time and time again, students of color on our campus (and people of color across the world) have said police treat them with disdain, disrespect, and unnecessary aggression.
This is not new. Our students had the same concerns in 2020, when police started wearing Thin Blue Line and “Blue Lives Matter” masks on campus.
Our administration’s response to this was to encourage students to start a forum with the police force for open discussion.
Our Student Government Association, as well as many other University members, have tried, but these issues are still as prevalent as ever on campus. (Again, I must ask why this is the responsibility of student organizations and not the administration, or the police officers themselves.)
Most students, faculty, and staff know there is tension between the Pitt-Greensburg police force and students of color because of the way officers treat them.
I am happy to know OEDI will be investigating students’ complaints, but I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the University took these concerns seriously last year.
Or what would’ve happened if Pitt Police took the responsibility of building community and trust with students seriously, changed their workplace culture, and were accountable for the harm they’ve already caused students of color.
Would the students we spoke with this issue still have been put in these same situations?
Why does it take something as severe as an officer questioning an innocent minor with their hand on their gun holster for the University to realize something is wrong?
Why didn’t the University listen to students of color last year and put an end to the culture which fosters behaviors like the allegations we reported on this issue?
Again, as I said in 2020, the University is still looking to recruit more diverse students and improve retention among students of color.
In Fall 2018, only 50.6% of freshmen minority students returned to Pitt-Greensburg for their sophomore year. Students of color are still a considerably small portion of the general population here on campus. As of last semester, 78.6% of our students are white.
If Pitt-Greensburg wants students of color to enroll and remain enrolled, they need to be sure our campus culture is one in which they are safe, valued, and respected.
I hope this investigation and our administration create this culture and hold any officers who have treated students of color unfairly accountable.
Other stories from volume 16, issue 5:
Students Spark OEDI Investigation of Police
Pitt Lifts Mask Mandate
Pitt-Greensburg Hires 8 New Faculty
Students Start Asian Alliance Club
Pitt-Greensburg Foodies Start Food Club
Pitt-Greensburg Adds New Courses for Fall 2022
“Online Program Development Committee” Introduced to Campus
Side-by-Side: Captain America or Iron Man?
3 and a Half Hours of “Huh?”: The 2022 Grammys
Play Your Heart Out: “Strangers of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin”
Play Your Heart Out: Fire Tower Board Game
Stream Your Heart Out: “WrestleMania 38”
WSO Captivates Audience With Chee-Yun
I Went to “Monday Night Raw” so You Didn’t Have To
You do realize that typically officers might put their hand on their gun holster as it is a more comfortable way to stand right ? Officers wear about 15-20 lbs around their waist and can be very uncomfortable.