'Defund the Police' movement still alive and well on America's college campuses

Here are five recent Campus Reform reports showcasing the breadth of America's anti-cop campus activism.

After the “Defund the Police” movement erupted following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, professors and students in universities across the nation continue to express anti-cop sentiments and movements to defund the police. The seed that was planted during this time of national anti-police rhetoric continues to flourish on America’s college campuses. 

Here are five recent Campus Reform reports showcasing the breadth of America’s anti-cop campus activism:

1. Temple University faces safety crisis after divesting from local police

In March, the Temple Association of University Professors overwhelmingly voted in favor of a vote of no confidence in Temple President Jason Wingard, Provost Gregory Mandel, and Board of Trustee Chair Mitchell Morgan after the community expressed concerns about the school’s lack of action to protect students from rising crime rates in the area.

In 2020, the school divested from the Philadelphia Police Foundation, which is a charitable organization that is “the only [one] authorized to raise funds for the Philadelphia Police Department.” Instead, the school chose to “reallocate” these funds “to support social justice programs at the university.”

Campus police themselves have since been lobbying the university administration to do more to protect students. Rossman Shaffer of the Temple University Police Association told Campus Reform in March that the administration “still has not provided enough resources to retain all the police officers they hire” and that the University needs to “value their police officers appropriately” to improve campus safety.

2. GW armed campus cops to protect DC students from high crime rates. Students called the decision ‘racial violence.’

In an effort to protect its own students from rising crime in the area, George Washington University in Washington, DC, recently made the decision to arm its campus police.

University President Mark Wrighton said that the decision was made by the Board of Trustees “after more than a year of careful consideration and deliberation, review of safety data and best practices, and input from experts.”

Many students did not appreciate the additional safety measure, however, protesting the decision and categorizing it as an act of “racial violence.”

An Instagram post advertising the “No Guns for GWPD” protest called the move an “attack on black and brown students”

“GW is arming GWPD, a private police force thats [sic] CONTINUES to assault and harm students,” the post alleged.

3. Anarchist group promotes vandalism, anti-police sentiment at Pitt

In February, UPitt Anarchy, a student group formed in the last year at the University of Pittsburgh and dedicated to remaining “involved in the proliferation of anarchist ideas and action,” posted a flyer on its Instagram page that read, “PITT IS A F**K,” with a subheading reading “DEAD PITT COPS.” 

A flyer obtained by Campus Reform advertising the group’s website, depicts only a portrait of UPitt Chief of Police James Loftus in an image that appeared to use a negative graphic photo effect.

UPitt Anarchy describes itself as “loosely organized enough that one of [its members] could do something–creative or destructive–acting as UPitt Anarchy, and none of the rest … would know.”

4. ’Cop City’ will cause police brutality, environmental damage, say students and faculty 

In Feb. 2023, activists and a consortium of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) publicly protested a proposed Public Safety Training Center, a large training space for supporting the police force as a project of the Atlanta Police Foundation. They claimed that the facility would increase instances of police burtality in the area.

Following the approval of this project, students from Morehouse College protested the funding of this facility, prompting Morehouse professors to feel “inspired to speak out.” The professors issued a letter on expressing their concerns surrounding the “Cop City,” stating that violence against racial minorities is a systemic issue in the police force and that “there is an undeniable and direct relationship” between the fate of George Floyd and the plan to build the training center. 

5. Students want local government to defund police, transfer power to activists

In May of 2022, two Florida university student groups joined forces with local left-wing activists’ proposed actions to defund the police.

Both Florida State University and Florida A&M University Students for Democratic Society chapters supported the Tallahassee Community Action Committee’s proposed “People’s Budget,” a policy dedicated to provide citizens with the power to slash police budgets, manage all police activity, and create the Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC). 

This council would consist of elected civilians who are not associated with law enforcement, yet the proposed elected council would have “subpoena power” and be in charge of approving the yearly police budget and penalizing officers who are found “guilty of misconduct” according to the organizations’ tweets reviewed by Campus Reform

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