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Martin Stallworth

Conversations About Life


Prof. Martin
22 April 2016
The Irate 8 and Diversity on UCs Campus
On July 19, 2015 is a day that will live in infamy when we talk about
the history of The University of Cincinnati. On this summer day a UC police
officer, Ray Tensing, irresponsibly pulled the trigger and killed Samuel
Dubose. Samuel Dubose was an unarmed black man who was pulled over for
missing a front license plate, not even remotely close to an offense to cause
his death. While this tragic event was low point for the city it was a
microcosm of the problems that exist all across the United States because of
institutional racism. While this was big loss for the Dubose family, his death
was a catalyst for a movement that has strived to combat issues of
institutional racism at the University of Cincinnati.
The issue of lack of inclusion and diversity is not a new issue at the
University of Cincinnati. As far back as 1968, the UBSA petitioned the board
of trustees and the UC president to make campus more inclusive for black
students, faculty and staff. However, these issues persisted and in 1989 the
same group submitted a proposal to increase African American presence on
campus. In response, the board of trustees requested that the university
president looked into whether creating a center was a viable option. This
idea of a center eventually became the African American Cultural Resource

Center. Although the creation of the center showed that the university was
making strides to increase the inclusion on campus there was still much
more work that needed to be done. This is where the new Irate8 organization
came in after the murder of Samuel Dubose.
The name "The IRATE 8" stems from two things: the fact that black
students comprise 8% of UC and the frustration we have about our quality of
life on this campus (theirate8). I believe this to be a reasonable frustration
since African Americans take up around 45% of Cincinnatis population. I
know from personal experience when this group gets brought up there is an
immediate stereotype of angry black people from some other students on
campus. Many of these students do not feel as welcome as they should on
campus and they provided video testimonies of racism that they have
experienced on campus. The main goal of the group is to enhance the black
experience on campus. However, some opposition believe that the mere
existence of the group is morally wrong and racist.
Most of the opposition against the Irate8 takes a utilitarian approach to
explain why they believe the existence of the group is wrong. Utilitarianism is
defined as, the doctrine that actions are right if they are useful or for the
benefit of the majority. Since they group is working to enhance the college
experience of only black students on campus, a small minority, they are not
working to benefit the majority. The idea working to increase the benefits of
a minority instead of the majority goes against the basic principles of
utilitarianism. If you look at it from a pure utilitarian standpoint it is quite

easy to understand why they make this argument. One glaring weakness in
this argument is that it assumes there is already equality between all groups
and that groups like the Irate8 are trying to benefit more than the majority of
the campus which is white.
The arguments that groups like the Irate8 make are more of a natural
rights theory approach. John Locke is the most well-known proponent of this
theory. He argued that people have rights, such as the right to life, liberty,
and property, that have a foundation independent of laws of any particular
society (Tuckness). The black students on campus feel as though they are
having their natural right to life infringed upon because they believe the lack
of inclusivity on campus makes their experience worse that that of a white
student. Natural rights theory works under the belief that all men are created
equal; therefore, all college students should have the same opportunities to
have the best possible college experience. Currently, black students do not
believe that they have these equal opportunities so the Irate8 seeks to work
with the university to create these opportunities to level the playing field.
The key difference is that white students believe that black students are
attempting to get ahead of them while black students believe that they are
trying to level the playing field. I side with the Irate8 because I believe that
institutional racism hinders black students from having an equal college
experience with white students. There is also the divisive argument of
whether black student groups are racist themselves.

Since some of the opposition to the Irate8 believe that the group is
attempting to make black students the main priority of the university, they
also believe that the group is inherently racist. If you are using the definition
of racism at face value, then this is also a reasonable argument. Personally, I
believe that the definition of racism is much more complicated than that. An
article in the Texas State University Star articulates this by stating, in order
to be racist you need to possess two traits: privilege and power (Hurst). I
prefer to look at racism from this more complicated definition as black
students at this university neither have the privilege of the power to be racist
against white students. Since the Irate8 is striving for equality and not
superiority the argument of racism can be considered false. One thing that I
believe is not stressed enough is that the work the Irate8 is doing benefits
everyone. If the minority groups on campus are encouraged to be more
involved, then that is to the benefit of the university. Furthermore, this work
for overall equality benefits the other minority groups as well because it will
make it easier for them to have a more inclusive campus experience as well.
It is the same argument that was made in class about feminism. Feminism
does not only benefit women, but it also benefits men as well. While there
was much resistance to the mere existence of the Irate8 group, there was
even more resistance to their list of demands.
On October 14, 2015, The Irate8 issued a list of 10 demands to the
University of Cincinnati. This list of demands was similar to demands made
by black student groups in colleges all across the United States. There was

much opposition on campus about this list of demands because many other
students felt no student should demand anything from their university. I do
not believe many people took the time to look at each demand individually
because they opposed the mere thought of a group making demands. I will
dissect each demand and look at arguments for and against them.
We demand that the University of Cincinnati immediately restrict
Phillip Kidd and David Lindenschmidt on or off campus (Irate8). These two
men were the first two officers on the scene after Ray Tensing shot Samuel
Dubose. Tensing reported that he had been dragged by Duboses vehicle
before he fired the shot. Officers Kidd and Lindenschmidt corroborated this
account of the incident. However, the footage from his body camera proved
that statement to be false. What this means is, Kidd appeared to have made
a statement that warranted a criminal charge (Hunt). It turned out that
neither officer faced any charges. The university initially put both of them on
paid leave but that did not last long. The officers are currently patrolling on
and off campus. It can be argued that since they were not formally accused
of any charges that they had the right to keep their job. Losing their job over
an opinion made by students would set a bad precedent of the university.
The Irate8 is making the argument that these officers keeping their jobs
breaks the trust between University Police and their black students. They
believed that this contradicted the purpose of the police force as they quoted
the Presidents Task Force of 21st Century Policing. This group was quoted
with the belief that, building trust and legitimacy as the first pillar to

effective unbiased policing (Irate8). I also believe that the fact that these
two officers have jobs contradicts this statement. How can we legitimately
trust two officers who backed up a false account of a murder?
We demand that the University of Cincinnati enforces a fully funded
comprehensive racial awareness curriculum that is mandatory for all
students, staff, and policeto be put in place by the start of the 2017-2018
academic year (Irate8). According to a member of the Irate8 that I have
spoken with, they feel like this lesson could best be administered in the
mandatory freshman learning communities. I agree with this plan because
during my freshman year learning community was twice a week and there
were some sessions where we definitely could have fit in some kind of
conversation about racial awareness. I believe that this could only benefit all
students because the real world has more diversity than what neighborhood
they might have come from. It is a great skill to be able to communicate
effectively with people of all walks of life. I do believe the upperclassmen on
campus need this kind of racial awareness as well so I would suggest
creating some kind of seminar on racial awareness or at least make more
classes available to the general population that deal with racism. One of the
biggest reasons I believe there is strong opposition to the Irate8 is
miseducation. Many people believe racism ended after the 1960s Civil Rights
Movement. If more people are made aware and educated on the existence of
institutional racism, then that can open their eyes on other issues like gender
inequality. Neither of these ideas would cause any students to have an extra

class in their schedule so there would not be any logical opposition to this
demand.
We demand that the University of Cincinnati conducts holistic profiles
including extensive background checks, mental evaluations, and accounts of
past misbehaviors of all faculty/staff/police hired at the University of
Cincinnati (Irate8). This is another clear cut issue that I believe would not
have any opposition. It would be a liability for the university to hire someone
who had a history of violence. The university should have the right to do
background checks because that ensures the protection of all of its students
and staff members. However, this may not be enough because just because
someone does not have a history in violence does not mean that they would
not commit a violent act in the future. In the case of Ray Tensing, Greenhills
Police Chief Neil Ferdelman stated, Officer Tensing did a good job for us. He
was very friendly, very approachable (WLWT). UC had no reason not to hire
Ray Tensing if this is the review of his former police chief. WLWT also gave
statistics to show that, this year Tensing made more than 10 percent of all
UCPD traffic stops with citations involving a black person (WLWT). I do not
believe that something like this could be a coincidence. Professor Martin
suggested during class that a simulator that tested your racial bias would be
a good indicator of how employees would react to certain people in certain
situations. I think this would be a great addition to the interview process for
any future employees. I also believe that the University should administer
some kind of racial bias simulator for current employees to see if they are

still fit to work at the university. This would not be a violation to any potential
employees because the university has the right to make sure that their
employees match up with their Bearcat Bond.
We demand a recurrent substantial monetary allotment to go to all
offices and initiatives that directly support and impact the recruitment,
retention, and matriculation of Black students on this campus (Irate8).
Some of these offices and initiatives include: the AACRC, The Office of Ethnic
Programs and Services, and Emerging Ethnic Engineers. Opposition to this
demand would say that it would be wrong for the university to commit to
give money to groups that support only one ethnic group on campus. As
previously stated, if you are arguing from a utilitarian standpoint you would
not agree with the university allotting money to these groups. Giving money
to retain and gain only black students would only benefit a small minority of
students on campus and not the majority which would be white students.
According to the University Diversity Plan (2011-2016), The University of
Cincinnati will attract, retain and graduate academically prepared students
who reflect a wide range of diversity. This shows that the university has
shown that it wants to commit to increasing the diversity on campus. In my
opinion, if the university wants to attract more black students then allocating
these funds would be the best route. Many black students feel uncomfortable
during college visits if they do not see a black presence on the campus.
Personally, I did not attend Miami University because I was not sure how I
would be able to hit into the campus environment. Adjusting to college is

much easier when you have people who share a common culture or other
traits that you can bond with. I know from experience that I have close
relationships with most of the black or other minority students that share the
same major as myself. A larger black presence on campus due to these extra
funds could lead to an increase in recruitment, retention, and matriculation. I
would also suggest the university create groups that go into the nearby high
schools to talk to the minority students because going to the students shows
that the university cares enough about them to come to their schools to
recruit them.
We demand that the University of Cincinnati allocate appointed voting
student senate seats in Student Government from selective representatives
from underrepresented communities (race, sexuality, and gender) (Irate8).
Until diversity in the university is not a problem I agree with this process.
Students tend to vote in students who remind them of themselves and their
own voices. This creates a cycle because if there is a large majority of a
certain ethnic group on campus, then minority student groups would not be
able to get students who represent them into office. This also applies to
female, other ethnicities, non cis-gendered, and students with different
sexualities. This would only serve to benefit student government as different
groups of people often carry different points of view. With these different
points of views come new issues being discussed and different viewpoints on
current issues that could cause a difference in thinking. Opponents of this
would argue that this would be a form of affirmative action. This would

prevent many students who do not fall under these minority categories from
getting positions in student government. Even though these students will
suffer the student government as a whole will be more productive if all the
different groups on campus are represented and content. This would also
allow many students to work with a diverse group of people to promote
change which could only help them once they get into their professional
careers. I would suggest this process for a few years and see if it has any
affect on voting at all.
We demand that the University of Cincinnati hire at minimum 16 staff
and senior black faculty over the next 3 years (Irate8). One of the things
that left a big impression on me as a black student my freshman year was
the fact that almost all of the staff in the campus dining halls were black. I
often made jokes that if I ever had to drop out of college I would certainly
have a job waiting for me in Center Court. While I was joking at the time it
was truly depressing that the largest black representation in the staff was in
cooking and custodial positions. As a health science major I have so far only
had one course that had a black professor at the helm. This was my
sociology professor my second semester freshman year. That has been one
of my favorite classes so far because I felt like she made a greater effort to
relate to her students. I feel as though black professors at a predominantly
white have to work harder to relate to their students because the fact that
they are a minority do not make them automatically relatable to white
students. This dedication to relating to students inherently makes their

course more interesting and leads you to invest more time in learning their
material. More black staff, specifically professors, across the university would
help keep classes more engaging. It would also give the black students more
role models to look up to because these staff members were able to gain
success in their field despite their race. I would challenge the university to
hire more black staff in the science departments because I know from
experience that those departments lack a black presence. Opposition to this
position would also argue that this would be another example of affirmative
action. They would likely argue that race should not be a factor in the hiring
process and the best person for the job should get the job. While I agree that
the best person should get the job, there could be a situation where a black
applicant has the same credentials as a while applicant. Goal II of the
Diversity Plan stated that, All colleges and departments at the University of
Cincinnati will attract, retain, and promote an increased number of
historically underrepresented and other diverse faculty in tenure and clinical
track positions, including faculty at advanced ranks. This statement shows
that the university has announced its commitment to increasing the diversity
of the staff as well. Due to this commitment it would behoove the university
to hire black applicants in staff positions when applicants have similar
credentials. I believe that when you make the opposing argument you are
working under the assumption that there are no enough black applicants
with the credentials for the jobs and the university would have to lower their
standards to find black staff members. I do not believe this process is an

example of the university lowering their standards, but this is an example of


the university giving more opportunity.
We demand the University of Cincinnati doubles the amount of black
students on main campus over the next 3 years (Irate 8). I believe this to be
the most complex issue that faces the university from this list of demands.
This once again brings up the topic of affirmative action which is illegal. A
student at The University of Michigan shared her opinion on the idea of
affirmative action by saying, the point of attending a university is to gain
wisdom and knowledge, not to spend time with the most diverse group of
people that can be gathered together (Gonchar). I believe this argument
sums up the opinion of all the opposition that opposes the idea that UC
should work to double the population of its black students. We are in college
to gain the knowledge and wisdom we need to be well-rounded and
productive members of society. This is something that cannot be denied, but
I do believe that her statement contradicts itself. I believe that spending time
with the most diverse group of person is an excellent way to gain knowledge
and wisdom because you can get different viewpoints on issues; whereas, a
homogenous group of people will likely share the same opinion on issues and
not learn anything new. I also believe that she was working under the
assumption that the only way to ensure diversity on campuses is through
affirmative action where you are lowering your standards to accept minority
students. A lot of people assume that if there is a minority on campus they
are there because of affirmative action not knowing that affirmative action is

illegal. My composite ACT is higher than the average ACT score of average
UC students so I know that I have the qualifications to attend this school.
Would the opposition be more open the idea of universities accepting more
minority than white students if they did have the same or better credentials
than the university average or is this a deeper issue?
As far as increasing the amount of black students on this campus I
believe that there are a few things that could be done. As stated earlier, I
believe a stronger university presence at the inner-city schools could
encourage more of their black students to attend UC. I also believe that if UC
helped to improve the education of the surrounding schools there could be a
better pipeline of black students that are qualified to attend the main
campus. More tutoring services could help some, but UC should be at the
forefront of trying to change the way schools are funded. Many schools that
have majority black students are located in low-income neighborhoods which
inherently creates an unequal education. If UC worked to make school
funding more need-based, then this would become a more long-term solution
to the problem. When only 5% of students that were accepted onto main
campus are black is compared to the the over 25% that are accepted into
the UCBA you can see there is a clear discrepancy. We can attract qualified
black students by completing some of the previous demands, but we can not
ignore the inequality in the education system if we truly want to fix this
problem.

We demand that the University of Cincinnati build a standalone


AACRC or renovate to expand throughout the 60. W Charlton Building
(Irate8). As the university works to gain more black students with each
recruiting class it would only make sense for the need to expand the AACRC.
This center houses many different events and with more students coming in
more space is needed for the center to live up to its intended purpose. It was
initially intended to be a research center so that black students and other
interested students could learn more about the history of blacks in the US
and think of ways the community can grow in the future. The Irate8
discussed creating a library that housed black literature, artifacts, etc. about
black life. This is a great idea because it could lead the university to create
spaces for other minority groups on campus and help many students expand
their breadth of knowledge. I would go even further and encourage students
of different backgrounds to frequent this center as well. I would assume the
argument against this would be the fact there is a center specifically for
black students. I often here that if white students developed something
similar that there would be outrage. My response to that would be that white
students would not need a center because they are not a minority group and
the entire campus is essentially their center because they are the majority.
There is not a need for a specific space to house their own events because
they already have all the spaces they need.
We demand that there exist a SACUB funded student organization
devoted to diversity initiatives and programming that promote cultural

awareness, sensitivity, and competence (Irate8). The Programs and


Activities Council is currently at the forefront of any campus-wide
programming. In order to be a part of this programming other student groups
must present to PAC to get the programs co-sponsored. The Irate8 wants to
create another group similar to PAC that would be a conglomerate of all
ethnic and cultural organizations. This organization would work in the same
way as PAC but the difference would be that other organizations would have
to co-sponsor programs that are specifically devoted to culture or diversity
and inclusion initiatives (Irate8). Opposition to this would argue that this
would provide competition to PAC. I do not think this can be considered
competition. I would consider this an alternative for students who want to be
more involved in programs that work for diversity and inclusion of different
groups which PAC is not always able to touch on.
We demand that the University of Cincinnati divest from any
companies involved in the operation of private prisons and establish a
Socially Responsible Investment Committee. Specifically, they wanted UC to
take the steps possible to cancel their contract with Aramark. This is a
company that invests into the private prison industry. It is well known that
the private prison industry is corrupt in the fact that it targets minorities. You
could even say that this industry is the new system of slavery. Mass
incarceration is a huge ongoing issue and injustice in the US because it leads
these prisoners to a vicious cycle of crime. Some might argue that a
university should not risk investors by stepping and saying what is morally

wrong. However, precedents have already been made by Columbia


University who decided to divest in companies that supported the private
prison industries. This means that UC would not be breaking any new
ground. There could also be an argument that divestment would not have
any affect on the larger issue. Refer to the late 1970s, when the University
of California et al. helped push for an end to apartheid by divesting from
South Africa and the companies associated with it (Irate8). Divestment has
been proven to useful in promoting change internationally so there is not
reason why this process could not help fix our prison system. I agree with
their suggestion that students stand together to convince President Ono to
speak out on this issue.
Even with all of the demands made by the Irate8, it will not be enough
to combat the issues of institutional racism and lack of diversity and
inclusion on campus. If all these demands are met that will still not change
these issues overnight. I am fully aware that this will be a process that could
take decades to bare the results we want. These demands are a great start,
but with time new issues will arise and we need a student body that is willing
to address these issues. That is why I believe the best thing we can do in the
short term is have discussions on these issues. If these issues are not talked
about they will be swept under the rug for future generations of college
students to deal with. My hope is that a large student group like Student
Government or PAC will hold some kind of event at the beginning of next
semester where these issues can be discussed in a civilized manner. This

would be to the benefit to the students and staff of the university. I am proud
to call myself a bearcat and I believe it is my duty to help combat these
issues so that I can give back to a university that has given me so much.
These changes do not just benefit one group, they benefit all who have a
connection with this university past, present, and future.

Works Cited
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<http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/04/campus-protestroundup/417570/>.
http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/3915000
Gonchar, Michael. "Do You Support Affirmative Action in College
Admissions?" The Learning Network. The New York Times, 24 Apr. 2014. Web.
21 Apr. 2016. <http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/do-yousupport-affirmative-action-in-college-admissions/comment-page-3/?_r=0>.
Hurst, Alysha. "The University Star." The University Star. N.p., 2 Feb. 2016.
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Tuckness, Alex. "Locke's Political Philosophy." Stanford University. Stanford
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<http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke-political/>.

Hunt, Amber. "Criminologist: UC Officer Could Be Charged with


Lying."Cincinnati.com. N.p., 31 July 2015. Web. 21 Apr. 2016.
<http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2015/07/31/criminologist-uc-officercharged-lying/30890861/>.
Hamrick, Brian. "Greenhills Police Chief: Officer Ray Tensing Followed the
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