DENVER — The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to Colorado State University today demanding that it amend campus police policies and training requirements following a racial profiling incident this spring.
On April 30, two Native American brothers, Kanewakeron Thomas Gray and Skanahwati Lloyd Gray, were touring the campus when a parent who was also on the admissions tour called police on them because the brothers “really stand out.” CSU police officers detained, questioned, and searched the Grays although they were never suspected of a specific crime. The brazen violation of the Grays’ constitutional rights was rooted in the report of suspicion based only on their appearance.
“My boys were publicly humiliated and told that their looks alone make them suspicious characters. As a mother, I was horrified to hear they were pulled away from a CSU tour because of someone’s misplaced and racially motivated fears,” said Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray, whose family is represented by the ACLU. “We are all disappointed, not only with CSU’s meager response, but also with their false promises to right this wrong. I hope they fix these policies so other parents do not have to wonder if their children will be safe and welcomed on campus.”
In the letter, the ACLU urged the CSU Police Department to implement additional trainings and adopt specific policies addressing dispatcher and officer responses to bias-based reports.
In response to the rampant cases of racial profiling on college campuses, including college staff calling police on a Smith College student for sitting on a sofa on campus, the ACLU is expanding upon its policy recommendations to CSU and launching a full-scale “Living While Black” on Campus campaign.
The campaign will be geared towards campuses that operate their own police and security forces, providing model policies for administrators and toolkits and resources for students who wish to lobby for change.
The demand letter is online here: https://www.aclu.org/letter/letter-behalf-kanewakeron-thomas-gray-and-skanahwati-lloyd-gray
A blog post about the racial profiling incident at CSU is online here: