None of the students who received false tickets with degrading language on it will be filing charges against the HSU students responsible for the incident. Instead, students are continuing to advocate for better representation of minorities on campus.
Chief of Police Jimmy Ellison said ACUPD’s further investigation on the case has been terminated.
“As of this week, all victims/recipients of the offensive citations have been contacted, interviewed and all have declined to file any charges related to the matter,” he said.
However, months before any tickets were placed on students’ cars, one student began researching the more subtle forms of discrimination on campus.
Kholo Theledi, senior sociology and family studies major from Pretoria, South Africa presented information during the Undergraduate Research Festival regarding student group’s representation of minority groups.
“Just being in meetings with different leaders of those groups, it had come about that they were feeling a sense of not being appreciated by the university,” Theledi said. “Even though they felt like their efforts were very important because they were trying very hard to increase the awareness of diversity.”
She interviewed student leaders of about nine multicultural enrichment groups on campus and recorded their perceptions of equal representation on campus.
T’neise Ragland, president of Black Students’ Association and senior education major from Dallas, said the physical representation of discrimination helped to bring about awareness of the multicultural student groups on campus.
“Now that they’re acknowledging us, I hope they realize it’s important and it’s a necessity to have these groups on campus,” Ragland said.
She said the ticket was just the beginning of a long-standing issue of discrimination against students in minority groups.
“There’s a definition of institutional racism that says it does stem from the institution or organization itself, and a lot of people don’t know what’s going on,” she said. “So often times it’s very subtle or they don’t know that what they’re saying is offensive.”
Theledi said the leaders thought their group’s events were not advertised enough on campus.
However, the leaders agreed that ACU’s effort to enrich the campus through the creation of the groups was a large step in the right direction. She said each leader realized the groups main representative voices for students similar to them on campus, and just being available to the students for conversation could make a difference.
J Sheppard, recipient of a ticket and senior information technology major from Oklahoma City, Okla., said BSA was instrumental in keeping him at ACU.
“I’ve talked to other people and they feel the same way,” he said. “They’re always reaching out to people and making connections, trying to make people feel at home, because it doesn’t look like home.”
In terms of progress, Ragland said the university is still far from socially equal.
“Our school is historically sexist and racist, just from the time it was built and where it came from,” she said. “So acknowledging that and working toward fixing that is a great first step.”
She said that she, Sheppard, Byron Martin and other administrators recently drafted an action plan of interest that could help the university become more accepting and aware of other cultures.
Actions included instilling a direct line of contact between students in multicultural groups and higher administration, allowing students to communicate their needs to people in positions to make larger, more effective changes.
They have since forwarded the plan to higher administration and are waiting for a response.
Students can attend BSA and Hispanic Unidos Chapels, get to know students involved in those groups and hold student representatives, such as Students’ Association, accountable for standing up for students.
“Instead of advocating for us, advocate with us,” Ragland said. “Someone needs to be held accountable for the things that are happening to the students, to your peers.”