HHS statement concerning PUPD-student incident

The following message was sent to HHS faculty, staff and students via e-mail on February 17, 2022.

The incident that occurred on our campus on Friday, February 4, has shocked and disturbed so many in our community, and with good reason. The incident involved use of force by a Purdue University police officer on a Purdue student. (Please be aware that the video footage available online has potentially triggering and distressing content.) On our college campus, where we expect unbiased, fair and appropriate treatment in all contexts, this incident raises many questions. Purdue has promised a swift and thorough internal investigation of the situation; an independent review of the Purdue University Police Department’s investigation by the Indiana State Police; and release of all evidence, including body-worn and in-car camera footage. These are essential first steps, and transparency is absolutely necessary for our community to fully understand the incident and where we go next.

To be sure, one of our “nexts” must be giving space and support for our students as they grapple with the incident and aftermath. Many students of color, and especially Black students, may be experiencing fear, anger and identity threats while also looking for meaningful action. Staff and faculty, especially our Black colleagues, have been impacted as well. We must recognize that, regardless of the investigation outcomes, the incident may trigger the broader context of unconscionable acts of police violence and deaths of Black men and women. We have provided some links for student support below (1-3), and we urge students to contact us if they need help finding resources or with other needs. We have also provided links intended to be useful in classroom contexts and in one-on-one contexts (4-7).

To students who do not feel personally implicated but wonder about showing support and being an ally, now is the time to take that step if you have not already. You can take the perspective of others and experience empathy by really listening to your fellow students of color, which will allow you to be supportive. Resist the “easier” non-engagement and avoidance route, which is often focused on the self and paved with fears about saying and doing the “right” thing. This is a time for focus on others, dialogue, community and support. We hope you will find the resources on allyship below to be helpful (6-7). Staff and faculty may also benefit from these resources.

The College of Health and Human Sciences is deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of its students, faculty and staff. We prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in our mission. Please reach out to us if you need anything.

Sincerely,

Margo Monteith, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Marion Underwood, Dean

Tammy Conard-Salvo, Assistant Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

HHS Unit Directors of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Azza Ahmed, School of Nursing

Uzay Emir, School of Health Sciences                                                                      

Chenell Loudermill, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Laura Murray-Kolb, Department of Nutrition Science

Yumary Ruiz, School of Public Health

Sandra Sydnor, White Lodging-J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management                    

Kip Williams, Department of Psychological Sciences

Brandon Yates, Department of Health and Kinesiology                                                   

Resources

1.  Black Cultural Center

  • Drop in Discussion at the Black Cultural Center (BCC) – Tuesday 2/15/22 @ 5:30 p.m.
  • Black Healing Conversation at the Black Cultural Center (BCC) – Monday 2/21/22 @ 6:30 p.m.
  • Additional discussion spaces will be announced later

2.  Counseling and Psychological Services (765-494-6995)

3.  Counseling and Guidance Center – Purdue College of Education (494-9738)

4.  Preparing to Discuss Race and Police Violence in the Classroom

5.  Preparing for a Conversation about Policing and Racial Injustice

6.  Teaching about Police Brutality

7.  Teaching about Race, Racism and Police Violence

8.  Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism (Allyship)

9.  Being a Better Ally