The fatal stabbing of a black Bowie State student at the University of Maryland has prompted a call to address racial tensions across the school’s campus.
Sean Christopher Urbanski was charged with murder in connection with the death of Richard Collins III, a recently commissioned U.S. Army second lieutenant set to graduate from Bowie State University Tuesday with a degree in business.
The university draped a gown over a front-row chair at the commencement ceremony to honor the slain student.
Collins was visiting the Maryland campus when he was attacked around 3 a.m. Saturday while waiting for an Uber. Police are investigating the stabbing as a hate crime after linking the alleged assailant to a racist Facebook group called, “Alt-Reich.”
Urbanski was arrested at the scene and the confrontation was captured on surveillance camera.
District Judge Patrice E. Lewis on Monday denied the 22-year-old suspect bond, calling him a “clear danger” to the community, the Baltimore Sun reported.
The fatal incident comes after a series of other racially charged occurrences at College Park — most recently, students discovered a noose hanging at a fraternity and earlier this year a group of posters supporting white supremacy began cropping up across campus.
The University’s Black Student Union in a statement to the Sun said Maryland administrators “enabled Urbanski through their consistent dismissal of blatant hate speech and race-based crimes.
“This is not the first incident of exposing the escalating racial tensions at the University of Maryland and if the administration does not extend their actions beyond ‘dialogue,’ it will surely not be that last,” their statement reads.
“We, alongside other organizations, will not let this go quietly and intend to make the administration well aware of how this tragedy has affected us, until it is adequately and thoroughly addressed.”
The victim’s father, Richard Collins Jr., told NBC News he understands “the University of Maryland in no way reflects the horrific act that our son was victim of.”
The father said he was still dealing with “the initial stage of shock,” but recalled his son’s accolades and his passion for the ROTC.
“He even won a certificate for being the best, scoring the highest points on his physical training, so he was just competitive at heart and had a loving and giving heart,” the elder Collins told the news station.
“The young man would go out of his way, sometimes to my chagrin, to go and help others, but you want to try to encourage that in your children.”