Penn expands diversity bureaucracy to its...police force?

The University of Pennsylvania added the position of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” officer to its police force.

The appointment follows months of student activism, including a strike on election day.

The University of Pennsylvania appointed a commanding officer of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” for its police force.

On February 16, Penn Today — the school’s official news service — detailed the appointment of Officer Nicole McCoy to the new position.

Vice President for Public Safety and Superintendent of Penn Police Maureen Rush explained to Penn Today that the university wants to “have a central person who has a strategic plan to work with the community in West Philadelphia, to work with the community inside of Penn — its faculty, staff, and students — and also to work within the Police Department on the issues of diversity, equity, inclusion.”

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“We make great efforts and succeed in hiring a diverse workforce that reflects the diversity of the community we serve,” she added.

McCoy has worked for the university since 2002. She assumed her role — which is still “unfolding,” according to the university — on January 1. Currently, McCoy is attending all meetings for University City’s various public safety associations.

Manhattan Institute fellow Heather Mac Donald told Campus Reform that the university police force’s resources would be better used elsewhere.

“Homicides rose over 35% in Philadelphia in 2020, compared to 2019. Eleven children were fatally shot,” noted Mac Donald. “None of those children, virtually all Black, was killed by a police officer.”

She also noted that “the threat to Philadelphia residents and to UPenn students comes from drive-by shootings and other violent street crime, not from the police.”

“The resources and time that will be devoted to the new commanding officer of diversity, equity, and inclusion could be far better spent on tactical training and on educating Penn’s students about the realities of urban crime,” Mac Donald explained. “It is those realities that determine police deployment, not racism. Absent a reconstruction of the two-parent family in high-crime neighborhoods, the police are the best hope that law-abiding residents of those neighborhoods have for living free from fear and predation.”

According to Penn Today, McCoy’s appointment was driven by “the concerns of students, faculty, and members of the West Philadelphia community.” Indeed, since the death of George Floyd in May 2020, University of Pennsylvania students have been incessantly lobbying their administrators for police reform measures.

On election day, a student group dubbed “Police Free Penn” endorsed a “Scholar Strike for Wellness” at the Ivy League university. Though the primary purpose of the strike was to promote wellness concerns, Police Free Penn used the opportunity to push for their list of demands.

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Among these demands were calls to “open the campus, and all its buildings, to the community.” The students claimed that restricting community members’ access to academic buildings constitutes “a racist relationship with the community that must stop.”

The students also demand an end to the “racialized” emergency broadcast system, a ban on the use of guns by the school’s police force, and an investigation into the “policies and training practices of the university police.”

Police Free Penn’s petition to administrators boasts over 15,000 signatures.

Campus Reform
reached out to the University of Pennsylvania for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft