Shooting can’t sour neighborhood relations

By Letter to the Editor

As members of the Southside Solidarity Network, a group that aims to promote healthy relationships between the University and its neighbors, we are, like all members of our community, deeply struck by the tragic shooting of Amadou Cisse and the other violent crimes of November 19. We appreciate the University’s prompt reaction: The immediate community gathering, memorial services, availability of counseling services, and increased safety efforts have helped us all as we struggle with our grief and fear. Now we must come together to determine our more lasting responses, and to shape the legacy that the events of the past few days will leave to our community.

As we craft future policies, we urge the administration, the UCPD, and all students and staff to be mindful that this community does not consist only of those affiliated with the University. It is crucial that our responses make the area safer for all residents and respect the dignity and needs of all. We must be careful that the proposed—and important—increases in safety education and updates do not reinforce old stereotypes or harden the boundaries between Woodlawn and the University. We must be careful that in our efforts to guarantee security to students living on South Campus, we neither create a more rigid divide at the southern border of campus nor subsume the blocks and communities directly to our south. We must be careful that the placement and use of cameras, police presence, and other security initiatives do not become a point of increased tension or abuse in University–neighbor relations. Most broadly, but most importantly, we must not allow legitimate concern to breed unmerited prejudice, division, or hatred in our community.

Hallie Trauger and Mark Hopwood

Class of 2010 and first-year

graduate student in philosophy

Members, Southside Solidarity Network