Marquette Warrior: Marquette Students Victims of Armed Robbery: University Conceals Race of Suspects

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Marquette Students Victims of Armed Robbery: University Conceals Race of Suspects

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: , , , ,


Anonymous Tracy said...

Thank God they had the good sense to tell us these guys were wearing blue jeans! Very critical information indeed!

10:11 PM  
Blogger Dad29 said...

And the new "policy" will actually FURTHER race fears. Should a perpetrator be white, no one will ever know it.

Thus, the auto-assumption will be that the perps are black, which may not be true.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Marquette University Alumni Office,
First you had the debacle of renaming the mascot the "Gold" then you showed your true callousness with breaking an employment contract of lesbian activist Jodi O'Brien. .Now, your police chief admits that the existing MU reporting policy on crime is illegal - ever hear of the Cleary Act? Then there are the sexual assaults by the bball team that was covered up.

I graduated from Marquette and received an MBA and over the past decade and a half have been a loyal supporter of Marquette, have volunteered at your events, and have donated thousands of dollars to support your mission. But no more as you have shown that your organization is inept and possibly even criminal.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly, Marquette is doing PR damage control. They simply can't have their hefty-tuition payors from out of state thinking that Marquette is located in a neighborhood were black crime has run amuck. After the State Fair (black) flash mob hit the national wire, they don't want to draw anymore negative attention to their location. All this is going to do is make people assume that all criminals are black--exactly opposite of what they think they are doing by leaving out this key part of the description. Idiots.

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Austin W. said...

I would be very interested to know who drafts these releases. Is it DPS or someone in the University's PR office that puts out the safety alerts? If DPS drafts them without the PR department's help, University students and staff should be very concerned. The fact that a quasi law enforcement agency supposedly doing its best to protect the campus is afraid to put out an individuals single most obvious characteristic in a safety bulletin is not acting in the best interests of safety at all. Hopefully the day never comes when the real police can't use race as an identifier.

8:31 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home