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Student activists seek inclusion on campus anti-hate panel

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) — Young members of the NAACP are calling on the University of Maryland to include student activists on a task force the school is forming after the stabbing death of a black student from a neighboring university.

Police are investigating the death of U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Richard Collins as a possible hate crime. Sean Urbanski, the white University of Maryland student charged in the attack, was a member of a racist Facebook group.

University President Wallace Loh announced the task force last week to help “combat hate and create a safer campus.”

Recent graduate Yanet Amanuel said Tuesday that it’s important for student activists to be included because they highlighted concerns about racial hostility before Collins’ death. Students in the ProtectUMD Coalition have criticized the university for not acting on their concerns.

“A lot of students in the coalition feel that the only reason this action plan has been put in place is because of media pressure and, that in order to really effectively have an action plan in place, you have to have an open dialogue conversation with the students who are impacted by this situation as well as having student leaders involved in the task force process as well,” Amanuel said.

The Maryland State Conference NAACP, Youth & College Division and the Prince George’s County NAACP Branch were holding a news conference Tuesday evening to talk about the climate on campus and the need for student involvement.

The killing happened after reports this year of racist threats at the University of Maryland, College Park, including a noose that was found inside a campus fraternity house as well as reports of racist flyers.

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