WASHINGTON — A Maryland congressman made a strong speech against hate crimes on campus Wednesday on the House floor in the wake of the death of Army Lt. Richard Collins on the University of Maryland campus.
Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Maryland, called on the Trump Administration to help end “a dangerous rising tide” of hatred on and off college campuses. Collins, WHO was commissioned last week as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, was stabbed to death on the University of Maryland campus early Saturday morning.
Brown, whose district includes Laurel, Severna Park and Langley Park, saluted Collins by displaying an enlarged picture of the Bowie State student, who received his degree posthumously Tuesday. Brown cited Collins’ military and church background, as well as his interests.
“His parents were robbed,” Brown said.
He added, however, that Collins’ death didn’t happen in isolation.
“This tragedy exposes a dangerous rising tide. This incident was not some random act of violence; it was a heinous, despicable and unprovoked crime of hate.”
Collins’ alleged killer, Seth Urbanski, a U.Md. student, was a member of the racist Facebook group The Alt-Reich Nation. Collins’ death is being investigated as a hate crime, but authorities are urging patience. Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski told The Associated Press Monday, “I’m asking … that we take pause and allow all these investigators to do their work.”
Brown said of Urbanski, “He was not some outsider; he was a homegrown terrorist who was radicalized on campus.”
Brown went on to cite other reported incidents at U.Md., such as racist fliers and a noose found inside a fraternity house. He also cited incidents nationwide, including fliers at the University of Texas reading “American is a white nation” and swastika-laden fliers at UCLA reading in part “the hordes of our enemies, from the blacks to the Jews, are deserving of fates of violence.”
The congressman said groups have tracked 150 racist incidents on college campuses in 33 states since the fall.
“A year ago, it was such a rarity that no one was even counting,” he said.
He didn’t mention President Donald Trump by name, but said “One would have to be purposefully obtuse to not see a direct line from the recent elections to the emboldening of these perpetrators across the country,” and called out “leaders who have been too content to remain silent and look the other way.”
Brown suggested zero-tolerance policies for hate speech and racism, citing efforts at the University of Massachusetts, which has a “hate SWAT team.” He also called for more diverse voices among college faculty and staff.
Treating Collins’ death “as an isolated incident,” Brown said, “will only make the situation worse.”