UNC’s chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., two National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations, hosted a seminar on Thursday night to educate students about their rights when encountering law enforcement.
David, a UNC Department of Public Safety officer, answered students’ questions about their rights as citizens.
“You know, you get on your Facebook feeds, and it sounds like it’s the police versus the African-American community and one side’s going to win and one side is going to lose,” David said.
“It’s definitely not the case. We either work at it together and we both win, or we do nothing and we both lose.”
Senior journalism and political science major Resita Cox planned all of the events for this year’s Theta Kappa Omicron Week. As chairwoman of the week of interactive events, Cox organized activities ranging from Zumba to resume-building workshops.
Cox said events like Thursday’s help students know their rights as citizens when interacting with law enforcement.
“The relationship between police enforcement and the African-American community has always suffered, and it has always been kind of negative,” Cox said.
“It’s like we’re in constant competition with one another, but it’s not like anybody can win. We have to be on an even playing field and work together in order for the relationship to progress.”
The event began with David explaining the correct way to behave when pulled over by a police officer and how students should deal with law enforcement officers when in a complicated situation.
Junior biology major Sierra Atwater attended the interactive seminar.
“I thought it would be interesting to learn about our rights as citizens when encountering police officers, especially with the recent news media about police brutality,” Atwater said.
Atwater said events like these are important not only so students can feel comfortable encountering police officers, but also so there can be a mutual understanding that safety is the number one priority for everyone.
“I wanted to know what I am allowed to do and what I don’t have to do in a situation where I have an encounter with the law,” she said.
Theta Kappa Omicron Week will conclude with a mixer on Friday, a Ronald McDonald House event Saturday and a church service at First Baptist Church of Chapel Hill on Sunday.