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Loyola panel, featuring NOPD retired chief Ronal Serpas, explores resounding effects of shooting in Ferguson

November 5, 2014

Loyola University New Orleans is hosting the forum, "Fergusons Across America," giving students the opportunity to participate in a discussion about what happened in Ferguson, Mo., after the shooting death of African-American Michael Brown by a white police officer set off a firestorm of violent protests as well as debates about race and law enforcement. Loyola’s Tuesday, Nov. 18 forum digs deeper into those issues and features former New Orleans Police Department superintendent and Loyola professor Ronal Serpas, Ph.D.

The panel discussion, set for 6:30 p.m. in the St. Charles Room located on the first floor of the Danna Student Center, exemplifies the fact that the situation in Ferguson is still fresh in people’s minds. In fact, a Loyola student who is originally from Ferguson saw the results of Brown's death firsthand and believes these ramifications continue today.

"Being in Ferguson, it was intense all the time. It's not going to settle down entirely until people feel like justice has been served. I feel like it needs to be more advertised," said Etefia Umana, a Ferguson native and Loyola junior. "The issues in Ferguson are not just native to Ferguson. America still needs to have a lot of conversations about race and socioeconomics. This forum can be helpful and insightful to have and we can use Ferguson as a reference point."

"The forum that we will hold is a great venue for discussing in detail the best procedures and practices that police agencies around the country are adopting to enhance community and police relations: procedural justice; police legitimacy; transparency and accountability. Taken together, these practices have great potential to reduce significantly discord between the police and communities when critical incidents happen," Serpas said.

Another panelist, Loyola psychology professor Charles Corprew, Ph.D., will also discuss the issue of hypermasculinity and how it plays into situations like the one witnessed in Ferguson. Recent studies show that there is a close link between hypermasculinity and violence, according to Corprew.

"I think it is very important to talk about masculinity from both perspectives: the police and Michael Brown," Corprew said. "There was a struggle and possibly a feeling of lost power, a core tenet of masculinity. If emasculated, men may attempt to regain their power in some form. This may have deleterious effects for all parties involved."

Sponsored by the African and African American Studies committee, other panelists from Loyola joining Serpas and Corprew include:

  • Assistant Professor of History Ashley Howard, Ph.D.;
  • Professor of Law Mitchell Crusto, J.D.;
  • Assistant professor in the Jesuit Social Research Institute Alex Mikulich, Ph.D.; and
  • President of Loyola’s Black Student Union Mathew Holloway

*photo taken by Etefia Umana in Ferguson, Mo.

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