The riots and peaceful protests that followed the death of Freddie Gray in April put new a focus on Baltimore’s longstanding social problems, including segregation, public health and economic inequality.
Now, a course being offered this fall at the University of Baltimore will take on those issues and explore possible solutions.
“Our city is great, but we have serious work to do to make it a more livable, viable environment in the years to come,” university President Kurt L. Schmoke, a former mayor of the city, said in a statement. ” With its programs in business, law, public affairs and the arts and sciences, the university is “ideally suited to deliver a course that looks at how we can fix what is broken in Baltimore,” he said.
“Divided Baltimore: How Did We Get Here, Where Do We Go?” is a course for both graduate and undergraduate students that university officials have been planning for several months, but the unrest following Gray’s death intensified their efforts, according to the university.
The goal is to consider the root causes of problems related to education, employment, justice and other topics; when possible, students will compare Baltimore with other cities that have overcome similar issues to see if those solutions could be replicated here.
The course will be taught by veteran faculty members from the University of Baltimore as well as guest lecturers.
“We can’t claim our efforts will make all the difference in the world,” Darien Ripple, manager of the university’s Experiential Learning Program. “But this is what we should be doing as a city-based institution and I believe that it can and will help us overcome our problems.”