Marquette routinely sends out “Public Safety Alerts” when there has been a crime near campus. Those alerts serve to warn members of the Marquette community to be careful. But also, the alerts virtually always include a description of the suspect or suspects. Presumably, some alert person might see and report the suspects.
Until just recently, the descriptions have included the one most useful piece of information: the race of the suspect.
A public safety alert in 2008, for example, described two armed robbery suspects as follows:
Subject 1: Black male, 18-20 years of age, 5’8”-5’10”, medium build, wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt and black jeans
Subject 2: Black male, 18-20 years of age, 5’8”-5’10”, medium build, wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt and black jeans
And as recently as July 1 of this year
, a suspect in another armed robbery was described as:
The subject is described as a black male, 25 to 30 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, slim build, dark complexion, short black hair, wearing a gray T-shirt and blue jeans.
But on August 1 of this year, another Public Safety Alert, described yet another armed robbery
Marquette Public Safety responded to an armed robbery about 11:30 p.m. Sunday (July 31). An alumnus was approached by two suspects with a weapon in the 700 block of North 23rd Street. The victim surrendered his cell phone and some keys. The two suspects fled northbound onto North 23rd Street and then westbound onto West Wells Street. The victim was not physically injured during the incident. Both DPS and the Milwaukee Police Department searched the area and are still investigating.
What is missing? Any description of the robbers at all.
We thought this odd, and made an inquiry with Kate Venne, official spokeswoman for Marquette, and was told that the only descriptions available from the victim were too vague to be of any value. We called Public Safety, and an officer there told us they did not want to “profile” on the basis of race, and repeated that the descriptions were too vague.
The Pretense Blown
But then Saturday night, we got yet another Public Safety Alert
, describing yet another armed robbery. The description of the suspect was given as follows:
A man, described as in his 40s, approximately 5’8” tall, wearing a white t-shirt, dark pants, a black baseball cap and a fanny pack, approached a student outside a residence in the 2100 block of West Michigan Avenue.
This isn’t vague. In fact it’s pretty precise. Yet there is no mention of the race of the robber.
We wrote Venne, asking why the race of the robber was not mentioned, and she responded that:
Hi John: Those decisions are made on a case by case basis in consultation with DPS.
This, of course, was an evasion, not an answer. So we e-mailed her back and asked:
Then perhaps you can explain why, in this case, there was no mention of race?
It’s not credible that the race of the offender was not known. It is also not credible that it would not be helpful in identifying the person, should he try to rob somebody again.
She has not responded.
Then very shortly thereafter, we received yet another Public Safety Alert
, describing yet another armed robbery. The two suspects were described as follows:
The first man is described as between 22 and 25 years old, thin build and was wearing a black hoodie and blue jeans. The second man is described as approximately the same age, thin build, 6’0 tall wearing blue jeans and a grey t-shirt.
Again, we have two very specific descriptions, and no mention of race.
Venne’s claim that decisions to reveal the race of a robber are made on a “case by case” basis simply has no credibility. There is no conceivable justification for including a rather detailed description and omitting race.
What was have here is obviously yet another example of political correctness.
Ironically, failure to include race won’t stop people from concluding that the robbers were black. Given neighborhoods near Marquette, and the well-known fact that blacks in Milwaukee commit proportionally many more crimes than whites, everybody will assume that the offender whose race is concealed is black.
And this applies to people who are too politically correct to admit that they assume that.
What Should Parents Think?
We are sure that parents who pay good money to send their children to Marquette truly appreciate the fact that when their children’s safety conflicts with political correctness, the former is sacrificed to the latter.
And of course we all will draw certain conclusions when Marquette, through its spokeswoman, provides an evasive and disingenuous explanation.
Labels: Crime, Kate Venne, Marquette University, Political Correctness, Public Safety Alert