UT-San Antonio students demand campus police disarm, disband
Following the discovery of a white supremacist banner on the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), an Antifa group is joining calls for the school’s police department to disarm and disband.
On November 15, UTSA employees found and removed a banner hung on campus by Patriot Front, a white supremacist organization, which declared that, “America is our birthright.”
"We...denounce any and all proposed solutions to the presence of white supremacy on college campuses that call for an increase of the power and presence of the police."
A group called the United UTSA Coalition subsequently sent a letter to UTSA President Taylor Eighmy on Nov. 27, demanding that he denounce “fascist and white supremacist hate groups on the UTSA campus.”
Other demands included “tighter security and surveillance,” and a “mandatory diversity and sensitivity training program” for “all incoming freshman and any transfer students that have not received similar training elsewhere.”
The United UTSA Coalition threatened to hold the UTSA administration “complicit in any future threats or instances of violence” if the demands were not met.
President Eighmy responded to the group’s letter in a statement on Nov. 29, proclaiming that he shared their “total rejection of the deeply racist, misguided practices of Patriot Front and other white supremacist groups.”
“The fact that they have targeted UTSA is very distressing,” President Eighmy continued, and announced that the university would be “deploying additional cameras,” as well as “increasing our officer patrol presence on campus.”
However, not all campus groups were happy with the proposed security changes, including one self-professed “anti-fascist” organization.
Revolutionary Horizon (RH), a “revolutionary group that primarily consists of students at the University of Texas at San Antonio” and describes itself as “anti-racist” and “anti-fascist,” released a response to President Eighmy’s statement on December 15, decrying his proposed solutions.
RH stated that the overwhelming majority of President Eighmy’s solutions “fail to address the issue of white supremacy on the UTSA campus on any level,” referencing the proposals to increase the “scope, presence, and power of the UTSA Police Department on campus.”
“We reject this notion, and denounce any and all proposed solutions to the presence of white supremacy on college campuses that call for an increase of the power and presence of the police on those campuses,” the RH statement declared.
RH further demanded that the UTSA administration prohibit “law enforcement and military agencies” from attending UTSA career fairs, classroom discussions, or public forums.
Other demands included “the immediate disarming of UTSA police officers of any and all lethal and military-grade equipment,” as well as a “publicly stated intent” by the UTSA Administration of “a complete and total disbanding of the UTSA Police Department,” within six months.
According to the UTSA PD’s current Code of Conduct, all officers are currently “required to carry a firearm while on-duty,” but may exercise personal discretion while off-duty.
Other campus organizations have endorsed RH’s demands.
The UTSA Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) shared RH’s statement in a tweet, writing that the group “fully endorses this call to action.
“Rather than allowing UTSA to go forward with increasing police on campus, we need to mobilize for active measures decrease the influence of violent, racist institutions on our campus,” the tweet declared, concluding with the hashtag, “#DisarmDefundDisband.”
Another alleged student and member of UTSA YDSA similarly tweeted a message of support.
“These are exactly the demands UTSA students should be calling for,” the student exulted. “Police are designed to uphold a white-supremacist class system, you can’t treat them as a solution to fascism. Everyone take some time to read this statement! #DisarmDefundDisband.”
Campus Reform reached out to RH, UTSA YDSA, the United UTSA Coalition, and campus police for comment, but did not receive any responses in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @rMitchellGunter