Race, Police & Justice: Voices from the Colgate Community

On Thursday, March 3, 2016, Associate Professor of English and Africana and Latin American studies Kezia Page sponsored the brown bag “About Diversity: An Open Conversation with the Hamilton Police and Campus Safety.” As the Arnold A. Sio Chair in Diversity and Community, Page and Assistant Professor of Sociology Alicia Simmons moderated a discussion about diversity and policing in the Colgate community with Chief of Hamilton Police Rick Gifford and Director and Chief of Campus Safety Bill Ferguson.

Faculty, staff and students gathered in the multipurpose room of the ALANA Cultural Center to raise questions about increasing officer diversity trainings, filing formal complaints against the police and holding both Hamilton Police and Campus Safety officers accountable within the current system. During the brown bag, students also highlighted the importance their geographic backgrounds played in shaping their views of law enforcement officers. And while students said they believe that unconscious bias influences why students of color are frequently targeted by the police, Gifford said this account is due to their perceptions and is not the reality.

Throughout the discussion, students and faculty of color shared numerous personal experiences of racial profiling at the hands of both the Hamilton Police and Campus Safety. From these stories, Page noticed a recurring theme: students and faculty of color felt policed at higher rates than their White peers.

The following responses to the brown bag were submitted to The Colgate Maroon-News.