VCU Police to remove racial descriptions from crime alert emails

VCU Police to remove racial descriptions from crime alert emails

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - VCU Police are removing racial descriptions from the department's crime alert emails, with top department officials saying the move will help reduce negative stereotypes.

It was not an overnight decision, with the change in email alerts coming after VCU conducted research and put together focus groups made up of students, graduates, and faculty members

NBC12 asked some students if they knew of the change made by VCU Police.

"I'll be honest I'm pretty bad at reading the VCU emails, but I didn't know that until you told me," remarked VCU student Lexi Hughes.

"I just think it's not necessary because I'm a student, and when I need to know something, I need to know every detail right then and there to keep myself safe other people safe."

Racial descriptions are no longer included in crime alerts sent out via email, but NBC12 has been told that a full description will still be placed on their public safety page, with emails including a hyperlink to the site with a note saying to "click here for a full description."

NBC12 received the following statement from VCU Police:

"Chief John Venuti believes this revised approach will fulfill dual goals of informing the community on public safety issues and reducing negative stereotypes that influence students, faculty, and staff. This adjustment in emails will move VCU forward in its own discussions of diversity and inclusion, while still keeping timely warning details available to the public."

We asked Lexi what she thought of the department's move.

"VCU is already so good at making sure that their students feel accepted and it's a very diverse school," she remarked.

The department considered using words like light medium and dark to describe suspects, but it was determined that could be highly subjective.

Copyright 2016 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved