BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Race relations were the subject of a spirited discussion on the University of Maryland College Park campus Thursday night.
The discussions come following an alarming number of race-related incidents on the campus and the tragic death of a student.
Congressman Anthony Brown spoke on campus to address both known and perceived hate crimes on campus.
From the violence in Charlottesville, to white supremacist flyers and a noose found on the college campus, the subject of race has become one of much discussion.
“If we’re going to address this issue you’ve gotta hear from students. They’re living it, they’re breathing it,” Brown said.
In May, Bowie State University student Richard Collins III and second lieutenant in the Army was fatally stabbed at a bus stop on the University of Maryland College Park campus.
Sean Urbanski was arrested and charged with the crime.
Investigators later tied Urbanksi to a white supremacist group on Facebook. The case is still being investigated as a potential hate crime.
For many students, the tragic reality of what happened on campus won’t soon be forgotten. Many hope that the conversations addressing hatred and bigotry head on will help put an end to it.
“I think the stabbing of Lt. Collins was kind of that revelation that will bring a change not just here but campuses across the country,” freshman Alex Dubinski said.
“I think the university has taken a lot of big steps forward on continuing this discussion,” junior Riley Williams said.
The president of the university also weighed in to address the challenge ahead.
“We are truly at a time when we’re fighting for the soul of America,” said UMD: College Park president Wallace Loh.
The campus has also launched a task force to tackle any instances of hate speech should it occur.
The congressman added he’s proposing a new law to help crackdown on bigotry and hate speech on campuses across Maryland.