HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut leaders discussed security on the state’s college and university campuses Thursday after recent hate incidents.
Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) said the stress level is up on college campuses across the state. The governor called a two-hour meeting with education leaders and law enforcement officials to devise a plan to monitor and stay ahead of the hate.
Lamont met with the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), Connecticut State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation and campus security officials from nearly every public and private higher education institution in Connecticut.
The goal of this meeting was to brief officials on ways they can prevent dangerous campus hate incidents amid the Israel-Hamas war.
Just this week, students at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) found hateful words carved into a bathroom wall.
“I find a social media is an accelerant for hate, I really do. What you see on Twitter, leaving that hateful language up there, what you see on TikTok and how those algorithms accelerate some of the worst,” Lamont said.
Interim State Police Commissioner Ronnell Higgins said when hate happens, there needs to be an immediate reaction, like at CCSU, they covered over the graffiti that day.
“I think it is really important that when those incidents do happen, We have hate speech, and we do have symbols of hate. It’s important that institutions reply and reply strongly and immediately,” he said.
Higgins said it’s important to respond to and investigate these instances and to get ahead of them by meeting with cultural organizations on campus.
“When we reach out to students and other groups and humanize, humanize one another. Oftentimes, we can disrupt that bad behavior and take the temperature down,” Higgins said.