College cops should have college degrees because law enforcement officers in academic spaces should be well acquainted with college semesters and academics.
A San Antonio Dean's List student set to graduate in May is dead after a twilight collision with a campus police officer. The college senior, Robert Cameron Redus, was shot five times at close range and died on the scene.
A campus vigil was held on Saturday at the University of the Incarnate Word campus for Redus. University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Tx is one of the top liberal arts colleges in the Southwest United States and a private Catholic institution.
Redus was walking to his apartment sometime after 2.am. Friday morning. He had been stopped and spotted by Cpl Chris Carter for speeding and because he had hit a curb. His truck's headlights were on and Carter accosted Redus and told him to put his hands up.
Carter reportedly instructed Redus 14 times to "place his hands behind his back." The incident is captured on Carter's cruiser cam. Initial reports say Redus was stopped for driving erratically and speeding in an apartment complex several blocks from campus. Redus was unarmed and going home.
When the story first broke, witness Mohammad Haidarasi, reported that he heard Redus say in a sarcastic or surprised tone, "Oh, you're gonna shoot me?" Haidarasi reported that less than a minute later he heard four to six gunshots.
Carter and Redus struggled over Carter's steel baton. University police say Carter "produced his firearm before knocking the baton from Redus." The university police did not tell the public that Redus is half the size of the officer who stopped him.
Redus was shot five times at close range. The officer used a 40 caliber handgun. Redus was shot in the chest, neck, back, and in the eye. The officer shot six times.
The end of the semester is particularly trying for students. Academic professionals are cognizant of student stress in the week before finals. Students make it clear that they are overflowing with anxiety in varying, sometimes humorous ways. Other times, that anxiety is frightening and only a good deal of professionalism and compassion can de-escalate it.
It's pretty clear that employees on college campuses, those who are not directly involved with an institutions academic mission, are far removed from a student's state of mind as the semester progresses.
There is little to no excuse for police violence against students on college campuses. Gun violence by campus police against college students is totally unacceptable. Being licensed to carry a gun, even for employment purposes, doesn't mean an individual is licensed in the humanities, a fundamental division in any liberal arts university.
The nation is struggling with minimum wage versus living wages. There's a federal goal to graduate a good majority of the US population from college. There is growing conversation on what will become of the college graduates who aren't finding lucrative jobs in their fields.
And in the meantime, college campuses are hiring and paying good salaries to beat cops on who scarcely understand, and in some cases resent the importance of academics in modern society.
That has to change.