Richard W. Collins, III was killed in a stabbing while waiting at the bus stop below Annapolis Hall, University of Maryland, College Park, May 20. He was 23.

A University of Maryland student has been accused by police of the killing. The student, Sean Christopher Urbanski, of Severna Park, is White, while Collins, a Bowie State University student, was Black. Urbanski is currently being held without bail and the FBI is currently investigating Collin’s murder as a hate crime.

A memorial to Richard Collins, III, was set up on the University of Maryland College Park’s campus after he was killed by an alleged White supremacist on May 20. (Photo by J.K. Schmid)

Despite Collins attending another university, some on the College Park campus are feeling the loss of one of their own.

“Among Black faculty and staff, there seems to be the consensus that Richard Collins could have been their child,” Joseph B. Richardson, an associate professor in the University of Maryland’s department of African American studies. “In a sense collectively he is our child.”

Wallace D. Loh, UMD’s president, described the killing as a “senseless, and unprovoked attack,” and announced a five point plan to “combat hate and create a safer campus” in two separate releases on the University’s web page.

The plan calls for an action team of faculty, staff and students to provide a rapid response of support and service to any member of the community subject to a hate-bias incident. $100,000 will be allocated to educate members of the community and support diversity. The University will begin annual reporting of all hate-bias instances on campus. Hate symbols and actions will be explicitly forbidden at athletic venues. Lastly, the university will create a task force of faculty, staff and students to review current university policies and procedures to establish new guidelines that will “foster an environment where hate is not tolerated.”

Requests for additional information about the University’s plans were declined.

“I have suggested that as one of the four mandatory general education courses all students must take before they graduate, that one of those courses deal directly with race head on,” said Richardson. “The course should be required. While I think consequences for hate behaviors are necessary, the real way to change minds is to change the way students may think about issues.”

Yanet Amanuel, 23, a student activist and sociology major, is concerned about the lack of explicit consequences in the plan and is asking for expulsion to be the remedy for instances of hate and bias.

The murder of Richard Collins was not the first racially motivated crime on the University’s campus. In 2011 Black facility workers were the targets, Amanuel said. This year, chalkings with hate-bias messages and fliers asking students to report possible undocumented students, contributed to an unsafe feeling among targeted students, Amanuel said.

At the end of last year, Amanuel as a part of the Protect MD Coalition, an association of 25 student groups, presented the Loh administration with 64 demands. Protect MD still has demands outstanding since the winter break, Amanuel said.

“It’s widely known that any time students present an issue, they delay response, and after delaying the response, they say they’re going to have a task force,” said Amanuel. “When summertime comes, they hope that students will just kind of forget about it and that it will go away by itself.”

The summer session started May 30.

“In the past, I know that the issues have gone like that. In this case, I would just like the university to know that, from this point forward, the student activists are not really going anywhere,” Amanuel said.