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Apology to Washington U Black Students

July 20, 2018

Officials of Clayton, Mo., issued a statement Thursday apologizing for how the city's police department treated 10 black freshmen at Washington University in St. Louis. Authorities, without evidence, suspected the students of leaving a restaurant without paying. Mark S. Wrighton, chancellor of the university, arranged for meetings this week between some of the students and city officials. Students said that they felt humiliated and targeted because of their race. In a statement, Wrighton said, "I do not know, in my lifetime, if I will see a day when young African-Americans aren’t counseled by their parents to be cautious of the police out of fear that something could go wrong. However, I am hopeful that by speaking up and speaking out and committing ourselves to change -- on our campuses, in Clayton and in the surrounding St. Louis region -- we can make progress toward that day."

Craig Owens, the city manager for Clayton, issued a statement as well. "In hindsight, it is clear to us that we mishandled the interaction with these 10 Washington University students and lacked sensitivity about their everyday reality because of how racial bias affects their lives. For that, on behalf of the City of Clayton, we sincerely apologize. Our police department has a duty to protect the businesses and citizens of Clayton, including the Washington University students who reside here. We intend to honor that duty. We understand, however, that what is at question is how we go about doing that. On July 7, with these 10 students, we did not carry out our duty in a way that demonstrates we act without bias."

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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