I was in the computer lab of our M.D. Anderson Memorial Library on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 21 when’ I walked by a student who was sitting at a computer surrounded by three UHPD officers.
This student questioned why the officers were bothering him, and they said they were looking for someone who was reported to be ‘suspicious.’ The officers said it had to do with his skin color and clothing.
The student didn’t have his ID on him, so they made him show his student credentials on the computer. The student asked if studying at a computer was suspicious behavior, and if so, why the other students were not being questioned. They said they did not match the ‘suspicious’ description. They said he needed to prove he was a student before they would leave him alone.
This ordeal took more than 20 minutes. When it was finished, the student said he was unable to concentrate on his studies.
He was the only black student in the area. From the officers’ communication with this student, and their description of what was ‘suspicious,’ it appeared that his offense was being black while studying.
Why are our tax and tuition dollars funding a department that harasses people for being black while studying? Should our students have to worry about having a certain skin color or clothing to be able to study in peace? If a non-student comes to the lab and happens to be black while studying, is that person subject to harassment, ejection or arrest?
Brendan Laws, sociology sophomore