Over 730 people have been killed by United States police officers so far in 2016. Of the 730, 201 have been black men and women, according to an ongoing tracking project done byThe Guardian. Among the 201, 36 of these people have been unarmed.
The deaths of unarmed black men and women has caused a loud uproar on either side of the issue throughout the U.S. Racial tensions can be thought to have increased throughout the past few years, with riots, mass shootings, and police brutality becoming more visible. The effects of the wild events can be felt across the nation, even in institutions like the University of Denver, where inclusivity and diversity is claimed to be highly valued.
“I feel like it is really important to have people
from different cultures because you get to learn new things and that’s what I thought college was all about. I was very excited to meet people from different places and different backgrounds,” Sophomore Kyla Peck said. “But when you come to DU, the only background you get most times is very rich, come from very upper middle class backgrounds.”
Kyla Peck is one of the several students ready to walk out from the University of Denver due to several problematic areas within the university.
“It was more the student population I had a problem with because I was really shocked at how ignorant students can be and how in a time where we have so much information at hand, how little you guys actually know about anything that goes on in the world. It was very offensive,” Peck stated.
After deciding to stay at the University of Denver, Peck along with Black Student Alliance, BSA, went to the Undergraduate Student Government, USG, and formed a partnership. On September 30th, USG sent out a newsletter to all the students enrolled at DU to discuss their disheartenment towards the act of defacing a Black Lives Matter message written on the Free Speech Wall by Driscoll Green. Those involved in BSA and USG were not the only ones effected by the actions, however.
“I’ve experienced a bit of racial tension. Like over on Driscoll Wall right now there’s a whole Black Lives Matter mural. When I first saw what happened, I wasn’t sure what was going on, I thought that they had put that up intentionally, but I don’t know, it makes me wonder who did that and what their thinking was,” Sophomore Mitchel Latimer said.
Though the university may attempt to bring in
students of diverse backgrounds, it may not seem as though their efforts are working for some students.
“I think they definitely try to make it [the university] diverse, but it’s just not for whatever reason,” Latimer said.
“We want to hold DU accountable because they shove diversity and inclusive excellence down our throats, but you don’t actually live by it. When I was recruited here, they talked about how diverse the school was and everything, […] but I was shocked to see that that 22 percent diversity was actually nonexistent. It was really disappointing,” Peck said.
For attendants at the University of Denver, racial inequality may or may not seem prevalent in the everyday life on campus. Although it may not be shoved in the face of every student, it could be an issue that is more underlying.
“It is everywhere. It’s in ourselves too, to a certain extent. We just don’t know it and we have to cognizant of it, aware. Being aware of the privilege we have,” Sophomore Alaina Merin said. “You can’t just say, ‘I’m not a racist.’ And then say white privilege isn’t a thing.”