WSU Police Hosts Barbeque to Connect With Diverse Student Body
OGDEN, Utah – Weber State Police and the Office of Access & Diversity will host the third annual Eddie’s Barbeque, an event that provides a safe space for participants to talk about policing and race relations, Sept. 22 from 2-4 p.m. in the Shepherd Union Ballroom.
The barbeque, which is free and open to the public, will provide a casual setting for community members and police to discuss topics of concern. Participants also will hear from police and diversity program speakers.
“This event’s main goal is to build trusting relationships between the Weber State Police Department and our campus community as a whole,” said Capt. Seth Cawley. “We hope the officers and participants develop and strengthen the common bonds that exist between police and marginalized communities.”
Those in attendance will hear about the steps campus and community police departments are taking to ensure fairness and reduce bias. The barbeque also provides students an opportunity to explore law enforcement as a viable career option by learning about the job from current professionals.
Eddie’s Barbeque was first held in 2016. Eddie Baxter, then the vice president of WSU’s Social Work Club and a member of Black Scholars United, recommended the event at a town-hall discussion about race in July of that year. Baxter suggested having a local event where police and members of the community could gather and get to know one another.
“One of my recommendations was to start a small campus event to find common ground between students of color and public safety officers,” Baxter said. “It is important for us to see the human qualities in each other and end the ‘us versus them’ mentality. By recognizing similarities in each other, we can form relationships and break down barriers.”
Baxter graduated in social work from Weber State in 2017, but he is still involved in Eddie’s Barbeque.
“The Office of Access & Diversity has worked hard to make sure the event keeps the name and the original intention of discussing race relations between police and people of color,” Baxter said. “We are making sure we are being creative in the dialogue between the community and officers.”
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