"You can't separate the person from the career. It doesn't matter that there are good cops." So says Aneesah Shealey, a student at DePaul University, quoted in Tuesday's Tribune. Fortunately, the administration at Depaul recognizes that part of a college education is learning that not everything is black in white, not every position should be absolute.
What is this all about? Some students at Depaul object to DePaul offering educational programs to--Oh My God-- officers of the Chicago Police Department! These programs include a Master of Jurisprudence Degree in Criminal Law, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration, and a Writing Fellows Program. The courses are taught at the Police Academy, not on the DePaul Lincoln Park campus.
It would seem to me that officers familiar with the law would be more likely than more legally naive ones to treat the citizens of Chicago fairly and respect their rights. It would seem to me that those officers who are schooled in the nuances of management would eventually rise in the ranks and provide positive leadership. It would seem to me that officers enrolled in a writing program would be open to the world of literature and the arts, and be most likely to embrace the diversity of humanity.
And it seems to me that Shealey and friends, instead of trying to get the programs banned, could fight for the programs to be as good as they can be. The students could insist that the curriculum includes an emphasis on diversity, the recognition of human rights, and the danger of bias. They could advocate that the courses could be on one of DePaul's campuses so that students and officers could mingle and try to understand what makes their opposite numbers tick.
But according to Shealey, the goals and all the positive aspects of the program are irrelevant. If you are a cop you are tainted with the sins of the hierarchy and your fellow officers, and a university should have nothing to do with you. Talk about the arrogance of youth!
DePaul, via an announcement from Provost Salma Ghanem has made the right decision by refusing to discontinue the academic program for the Chicago Police Department, by not bowing to "cancel culture." Yes, the Police Department needs to change, but it is not going to go away. What better way to improve it than educating the women and men whom we should expect to preserve and protect all of us?
Thank you, Provost Ghanem and DePaul University.
Illustration courtesy of: http://clipart-library.com/officer-cliparts.html
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