The University of Maryland on Nov. 27 announced revisions to its procedures for reporting of hate-bias incidents on campus.

“A clear and transparent protocol for hate-bias incidents on our campus is essential to ensuring a sense of safety for our students, faculty and staff,” Roger L. Worthington, the university’s chief diversity officer, said in a statement. “I believe this is an important step forward in maintaining a campus community deeply rooted in equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

Army 2nd Lt. Richard Collins was stabbed to death on May 20, three days before he was to receive his Bachelor’s Degree from Bowie State University. A White man has been indicted on hate crime charges surrounding his death. (Courtesy Photo)

The university said it plans to hire a Hate-Bias Response Coordinator “as part of UMD’s ongoing efforts to combat hate and create a safer campus.”

The announcement came late in the second semester after the killing of Lt. Richard Collins III at a bus stop near Annapolis Hall in the early morning hours of May 20. Collins was killed three days before his commencement ceremony at Bowie State University, and two days after receiving his commission with the Army.

Collins’ alleged attacker, then-student and “Alt-Reich” Facebook group member Sean Christopher Urbanski, was charged with a hate crime and common law murder. Urbanski is White, while Collins was Black.

Last December, the university was presented with 64 demands by ProtectUMD, a coalition of 25 student activist organizations representing marginalized communities on campus. Following Collins’ death, University President Wallace Loh announced the creation of an Office of Diversity and Inclusion rapid-response team, but ProtectUMD followed up with four additional demands.

The demands included the employment of more professors of color, tenure for Black professors and “immediate response to hate speech or actions from the University including a consequence.” Consequences suggested by the coalition included suspension or a mark on transcripts.

The new university protocol “will maintain a log of hate-bias incidents on a webpage that will be updated as reports are received,” along with “periodic (opt-in) email announcements regarding newly reported hate-bias incidents.” It makes no mention of particular consequences for perpetrators of hate-bias acts.

“Hate-bias incidents are acts characterized by some expression of hate or bias against a particular group, or towards an individual because of their membership (or perceived membership) in that group,” the new protocol reads in part. “Hate-bias incidents may range from acts considered to be offensive to actions that cause harm.” Hate-bias incidents do not always escalate to hate crimes, but hate crimes fall under incidences of hate-bias, according to the university.

ProtectUMD also demanded “a task force separate from UMPD (University of Maryland Police department) officers to look into investigations.” In response, the university stated in its new procedures that investigations by its police department will be coordinated with its Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct and its Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion website remains under construction, and continues to feature the post “UMD Reflects,” first published in May, which pledges to “come together as a campus community to reaffirm our core values of diversity, inclusion, respect and civil discourse.”

Incidents of hate-bias on campus can be reported by calling 301-405-3333 or texting #3333. Reports can be made online to the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct at https://go.umd.edu/reporthatebias.