Frostburg State University Community Reacts to Freddie Gray’s Wrongful Death
The continuing chaos in Baltimore, Maryland following the death of Freddie Gray has facilitated a national conversation concerning the public’s relationship with police around the country. Frostburg State University’s student body is comprised of many individuals from the D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia metropolitan area, many of whom originate from Baltimore.
In light of the peaceful protests and violence in the “Charm City,” FSU administrators held an event called “Frostburg Cares” with the intent of reflecting on and raising awareness of the current happenings in Baltimore.
On April, 12, 2015, Freddie Gray, a twenty-five year old African-American male from Baltimore, ran away from Baltimore police after making eye contact. Officers arrested him for allegedly illegally carrying a switchblade; however, according to Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore City’s state’s attorney, the knife he was carrying was legal and not a switchblade.
Gray mysteriously fell into a coma as a result of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Gray was pronounced dead on April 19, 2015, due to a severed spine. His death has been ruled a homicide and six officers are now facing charges, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Riots and fires througout the city have led Baltimore administrators to enforce a city-wide curfew that begins at 10 pm.
Read The Baltimore Sun for more coverage on Freddie Gray’s death.
A large group of students, staff, and faculty members attended the “Frostburg Cares,” event, eager to share their opinions and concerns on the death of Gray and the protest. Each student was assigned to a round table, with individuals of varying ethnicities and cultures. A speaker was assigned to each table, documenting the conversations between pupils and presenters.
Robin Wynder, director of FSU’s Diversity Center opened the event with details of what the forum consisted of. “Frostburg is a community. This is a community conversation. I want everyone to respect each other’s opinions and thoughts.”
“Let’s refrain from using the word animal because it’s disrespectful,” one student suggested.
“Keep in mind that we are all different with unique opinions. We should be respectful and mindful of how we address each other,” another student voiced.
“If outsiders understood and lived in the environment of Baltimore, they would have a better understanding of why people are reacting in this manner. The pressure of living in Baltimore alone is enough combined with the pressure of the police force is overwhelming. The law means absolutely nothing to them right now; they have failed to do their job, which is to protect people. It doesn’t matter how many buildings or houses protesters destroy because it will all be re-built. However, Freddie Gray will not be able to get his life back,” stated Jessica Mcnair, senior and Law And Society major.
“Baltimore is a city that was already struggling. Had this protest occurred in Orange County or Beverly Hills, the situation would not have been sensationalized or depicted as something negative. People are tired. Cops killing black men has become a pattern within our community. I don’t believe that there is a such thing as a peaceful protest when the killings are reoccurring. At some point the riot must cease, simply because the attention is being diverted from the real issue—Freddie Gray,” Charday Green explained.
Students, faculty, and staff members that are affected by the death of Gray or the protests in Baltimore have been encouraged to seek help from FSU’s counseling services.
“To everyone that participated in this event–thank you. Any emotions that you have been experiencing because of this situation is normal,” said Katelyn Currier, President of the Student Government Association. “We want everyone to know that Frostburg State University cares.”