By: Black Student Union
We, the Black Student Union of Towson University, were recently made aware of an incident of clear racist intent that occurred on the campus of Towson University in the College of Liberal Arts Cafe on April 5th, 2016. This incident involved a white male Towson University student and black women who are Chartwells employees of the Liberal Arts Cafe. This altercation is not a first, as the student has a history of not only harassing employees but other students on this campus.
A year ago he “chest bumped” and poked his finger into the chest of one of the male employees, then called the workers “ni**ers.” He disappeared for a period of time shortly afterwards. It’s not clear if official actions were taken against him or if he stopped coming to the Café on his own accord during this time. On Tuesday April 5th, 2016 he returned to the cafe to order a venti size cup. The woman at the counter could not hear him correctly over the loud machinery and repeated what she thought was his order. He responded angrily saying “your kind of people don’t listen” and repeated his order. When he was given his order, he threw his change at the cashier.
When he returned the following day, the cashier refused to serve him because of his previous behavior. He grew angry and made additional comments about “their kind not having common sense” as well as about his status as a student and how this means he cannot be refused service. The women behind the counter called the police twice during the encounter. The student threatened to come across the counter and take the cup he ordered. He also said he “had something for them” and dug around in his backpack. Once TUPD arrived, they escorted him away. They also confirmed with the women that the identity of the student was correct. This incident has not been reported in the TUPD Crime Log because according to TUPD, the student did not commit any crimes. The women who were involved in this incident, consistently reiterate how unsafe they feel and express concerns about whether or not Towson will protect them. While the university has increased police presence in the building, the women are still required to serve the student and provide him with anything he requests free of charge.
As the Black Student Union of Towson University, a part of our mission is to create safe space, provide a voice, and to educate Towson’s black community. We are truly disheartened by the lack of communication and transparency of the administration concerning this incident. While we understand that the university has procedures in place, this incident must be taken seriously. The lack of policy reinforcement conceals the larger issue of this incident, leaving us to question the actual safety and protection of this campus.
We will not stand for this deliberate act of prejudice and racism on this campus while the administration of Towson University continues to yet again remain idle. We feel that the student in question should be held responsible for his actions. Furthermore, the administration should take considerable measures to ensure that hate bias on this campus is heavily policed, reported, and made transparent to all of Towson’s student body. The hate bias policy should be reinforced to essentially protect all students, faculty, and staff regardless of occupation, status, or demographic if we are to truly regard Towson as a safe and inclusive campus.