• Fri. Dec 2nd, 2022

By Charlisa Holloway Edelin, J.D

Associate Professor

Delaware State University

Law and Communications

Charlisa Holloway Edelin. Photo provided

It has taken some time for me to write about the Delaware State University (an HBCU university in Dover, Delaware) lacrosse incident. Mainly because the words I want to use would put me in FB jail immediately! But, also because like all Mama Bears, I am hurt. This time the police didn’t harass an anonymous person that could have been my daughter. This time it was MY kids, MY students!

What the officers didn’t see was that this bus was carrying a group of amazing students. The officers didn’t see that EC, one of my best Constitutional Law students, is one of the most brilliant legal minds that I know. In fact, she’s quoted in the article talking about probable cause and illegal car searches – my favorite unit in the course. She is studying for the LSAT and has plans to go to law school. They also didn’t see that DC earned a 100% on her final presentation in our Supreme Court class, a high-level, rigorous pre-law course. (and her presentation was completed after the incident!) Her graduate opportunities range from law to criminal justice to legal policy. The officers also didn’t see that the writer of the article is a 4.0 scholarship student and one of our rising stars in our mass communications department.  They clearly didn’t see the student leadership on board, such as ND who is the incoming president of DSU’s chapter of my beloved Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.

Instead, the officers just saw a bus of presumed drug dealers hiding marijuana and drug scales beneath their lacrosse sticks and graduation presents. I can’t imagine that the team fit any credible criminal profiles. So, I have to assume that the young women were only judged by the color of their skin. It never dawned on the officers that this bus could be carrying the next Attorney General, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist or fellow law enforcement officer. They just saw criminals, and that is the shame of it all.

During this time of the semester we professors are often exhausted and forget about or simply don’t care about our “why.” But this incident reminded me of my why. The way the students handled themselves during and after this incident speaks volumes. It reminds me that we have to continue to teach students how to use their voice; how to protect themselves and ultimately how to better this country.

I am already revamping my Fourth Amendment lecture to include a discussion on the DSU lacrosse incident. We will not forget, and as our University President say, “We shall not be moved.”