Undoubtedly you have heard about the sexual battery case that occurred in Santa Rosa Hall last Saturday. The police and faculty went to great lengths to spark what they deemed awareness on campus. What did the press release want us to be aware of and was there any attempt at awareness at all?
Earlier this year, a disturbance involving an intoxicated Caucasian male occurred in the lower 1100s hall. The male struck his girlfriend and hit some of the men defending her, causing one to go to the hospital. Four police officers responded to the domestic violence call. The perpetrator had to be sprayed with mace and have his kneecap busted in order to subdue him.
Many other incidents have happened this year involving arrests, alcohol abuse and even graffiti in Santa Rosa and on campus that have gone unnoticed by the general public. The only difference in this case is that it involves three African-American males.
In addition, in the UC Police Dept. press release, there are numerous discrepancies that have not been addressed. The beginning of the release says that the disturbance call involved “three African-American males.” Later in the release, however, the female allegedly reported that she found two of the subjects in the room with no further reference to the third. Why then was the third male even in the description if he had no link to the incident?
The next problem arises with the account of the incident. According to the same press release, one of the girls was described as “extremely intoxicated and asleep” but was also miraculously able to tell the police “that the unknown males had sexually battered her.” Someone who is intoxicated cannot accurately recount a situation, nor can someone who is asleep. The release conveniently failed to mention that the suspects were not arrested and that the victims failed to press charges. Why did the whole school need to know about something that has so few solid facts?
Also omitted from the press release was the fact that the males did not go to the school and went peacefully back to their hometown on the command of the officers. It may not always be clear, but things like this where those in control seem much more enthusiastic in dealing with potential African-American criminals make life harder for blacks on the campus. Who suffered from this incident? Not the police, not even the accused men that are no longer on campus. The black men on this campus that fit the vague description feel the brunt of this situation. So, if you see a black man, even if he happens to be wearing a white T-shirt and jeans or you can’t seem to make out his clothing description, don’t assume that he has anything to do with this case or plans to sexually batter you. Instead, say hi, you might make a friend.
Make no mistake, if in fact the incident actually occurred, our heart goes out to the victims and the suspects deserve to go to prison. We expect our students to be protected, and we demand liberty and justice for all. The justice that we saw happen in this case, for reasons unknown, did not happen in all cases. Those who govern need to be consistent and not devote all their resources to one incident and act as if another did not happen. Instead of wasting time and money on an illogical and inappropriate press release, speeches, workshops and skits speaking out against sexual battery in general could have been put on to spark awareness without targeting a specific group.
As we celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, we wonder if anything has changed. Is society still working to perpetuate stereotypes about black men? Was the hype surrounding the occurrence about the nature of the case or the nature of the race?
Cordaun Dudley is a first year film studies major. Josiah Bournes and Brandon Jenkins also contributed to this column.