By: Jessica Griggs ~Campus News Editor~
As tensions between police and people of color across the nation remain a divisive issue, Xavier Police, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), the Black Student Association (BSA) and Rec Sports have partnered for an event in hopes of fostering positive relationships between students and police.
Eight teams made up of law enforcement, students, staff and faculty will go head-to-head in a basketball tournament 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on April 17 at the outdoor basketball courts.
Four of the teams will consist of Xavier Police, Cincinnati Police, Norwood Police and Norwood Fire and Rescue, while a group from Smooth Transitions, commuter students, faculty and staff members and the returning champions, the X-Men, make up the other four teams.
“There have been a lot of conversations on the national scene about the policing of black communities, and the model we are given on TV isn’t very positive,” Taj Smith, director for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, said. “This event is an effort to put in a different model and provide a counter image that says there can be good relations between police and people of color.”
The event aims to engage all students so that students and law enforcement can develop more active relationships.
“Students should invest in community building not only to feel safe, but also so that they can see the police as more than just people with badges,” Smith said. “BSA’s role is to provide other kinds of games at the event so that students who don’t want to watch the basketball games can build community too and also have fun.”
Rec Sports will help by supplying referees, basketballs, clocks and other supplies while BSA will provide alternative outdoor activities, including an activity involving pie.
“This year’s event is actually one that will expand campus diversity and relationships as the collaborative efforts of BSA, Xavier Police, CDI and (Rec Sports) are working to create an event that offers games, food and music outside of the tournament itself,” junior Montel Adkins said. “This event has also expanded to include students outside of the tournament itself so that all are engaged in the best interests of the community.”