Days after the June 15 discovery of a noose hanging from a Davis High School football goal post, City Council members made a request of the city’s Human Relations Commission — to advise the council on ways to promote and foster the inclusion and nurturing of all people in the Davis community.
The commission tackled that mission at its monthly meeting Thursday, discussing methods for continuing the conversation about hate crimes and their impacts.
One project in the works is the creation of a “video collage,” comprising a diverse cross-section of the Davis community, who will offer commentary denouncing the noose incident and promoting tolerance, said commission vice chairman Craig Blomberg, who has been working with Davis Media Access on the concept.
The Human Relations Commission selected a subcommittee to work on the project, which is slated for July 12.
Commissioner David Greenwald suggested planning additional community outreach in the fall, possibly involving panel discussions, neighborhood-oriented events and talks with students “and getting a sense of what their concerns are.”
Such outreach may be well-timed, as UC Davis prepares to welcome a student population more diverse — both nationally and internationally — than in years past.
“We have a vested interest” in ensuring both the city and campus offer a supportive climate, said Rahim Reed, associate executive vice chancellor for campus community relations at UCD and an ex-officio member of the commission.
Reed said the university has embarked on several proactive measures to foster that climate, such as a campus community orientation for newly hired police officers that will acquaint them with leaders of UCD’s student life organizations.
That program eventually may extend to city police “so they have a chance to understand the eclectic group of people we’re bringing to Davis from around the world,” Reed said.
UCD also has plans for a police/community relations survey that will gauge students’ experiences with both city and university police, Reed said.
The results of that survey, slated for early next year, will be made public and shared with police “to use as an educational tool,” Reed said.
Meanwhile, the investigation into the hanging of the noose — which Davis police have labeled a hate incident — continues. Lt. Paul Doroshov said the department has fielded a number of tips, which narrowed the time frame of the incident to late on the night of Thursday, June 14, but so far those tips have yielded no suspects.
Anyone with information about the noose is asked to call the Police Department at (530) 747-5400.
Jann Murray-García, president of Blacks for Effective Community Action, said Thursday the community would benefit from swifter information about hate crimes and incidents. It was three days before the Police Department released information about the noose discovery, and only after receiving inquiries from reporters who learned of it through other sources.
Doroshov took responsibility for the delay.
While police at times must consider whether releasing information will help or hinder an investigation, “we should have moved faster in terms of getting that out, no question there,” Doroshov said.
Murray-García said there is more danger in people not knowing that such incidents are occurring in their community.
“There should never be any doubt that the right thing to do is get the word out that this has happened,” she said. “Our biggest enemy is complacency.”
— Reach Lauren Keene at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 747-8048. Follow her on Twitter @laurenkeene