Campus Commentary

Settlement between Tensing and UC, The Elephant in the Room


Former University of Cincinnati Police Officer Raymond Tensing, who killed an unarmed Black motorist during an off-campus traffic stop, received a settlement from the University of Cincinnati on March 22 for roughly $250,000, and $100,000 in legal fees. Since the settlement a debate has emerged both on and off campus.

Three main arguments can be gathered from the interviews I conducted.

The first argument is explained by Cincinnati resident, Keller Conley. He said “While I personally believe that Ray Tensing did kill Sam DeBose wrongfully – manslaughter not murder – the fact remains that he was acquitted and the university had a police union contract with Tensing, and he should have been placed on paid leave, not fired.” Many feel as though the argument isn’t about Tensing but the police contract. People feel the university acted too rashly in response, which violated the contract. Several other people felt the same as Conley but didn’t want their names published, which speaks to the divisive nature of this settlement, and the strong feelings being cemented on both sides.

The second argument was unique and presented by Andrew Blume, a University of Cincinnati Nursing student. He said, “He shouldn’t have received a settlement outside of legal fees.” This argument was unique, but interesting. This would have been a path Tensing’s legal team could have taken to reduce losses without continuing the lawsuit. Most people did not feel the same as Blume.

This leads to the last argument: UC should have continued to fight. Many students, their parents, and Cincinnati residents believed the settlement was wrong. Most people willing to talk to me agreed that Tensing has not received justice in court, and the settlement from UC feels like a reward. Brennan Hairston, a UCBA student, said, “the settlement was wrong.” He added, “Tensing murdered a guy, and the court won’t fight to put him away, and neither will UC. It’s like everyone is saying that cops killing people is okay.” Shannon Abernathy, a parent of a UCBA student, and a greater Cincinnati area resident said, “As a parent who is paying cash for my child’s education, I am furious that the money I spend on tuition is going to a pay a settlement to a racist murderer.”

The question remains: Did UC make the right choice? Should money even be considered when discussing right versus wrong? We may not have the answers, but we should be vigilante of the choices made by our university, and always demand proper conduct.

About Jack Dohrenwend

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