Campus Reform | Fund the police? UIC invests in cops amidst ‘increased criminal activities on campus'.

Fund the police? UIC invests in cops amidst ‘increased criminal activities on campus'.

'The need for unarmed security guards has increased each year,' a university report justifying spending increases on campus police stated.

'Campus Reform' previously covered increased crime near Chicago-area colleges and its correlation to the Defund the Police movement.

Despite students across calling on the university to defund police on campus, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees (BOT) recently increased spending for campus security due to “increased criminal activities on campus.”

In August 2020, students protested in front of the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) chancellor’s home, demanding that the institution end its association with university police.

Last month, Campus Reform spoke to UIC students about crime on campus. They said that they had noticed an increase in crime and the local leadership’s policies are putting them at risk. 

During Fiscal Year 2018, the UIC requested that its Board of Trustees approve “unarmed security services” for the following year. In response, the BOT approved a four-year contract award with two security firms.

The contract was negotiated between two security firms for September 2018 through September 2022. One of the security firms’ contracts was increased from $1,600,616 to $3,563,944 during FY19. This change did not require the Board of Trustees’ approval because it was “below the threshold for BOT review/approval.”

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A March 2020 change order reveals that this increase was not sufficient as the Police Department requested an additional $3,000,000 be added to the security firm's contract through FY 2022. 

As a result, the BOT recommended a change order in March 2020 to increase funding to $6,073,112 to cover estimated expenses for FY 19-22. The board estimated that FY 20-22 would cost $1,890,986 each year.

Over one year later in July 2021, the BOT published in a change order that the FY19 actual cost was $1,196,628.68 and the FY20 actual cost $2,914,374.21. The combined difference from the 2020 estimate was over $803,138. 

The July report now estimates FY21 will cost $3,721,637 and FY22 will cost $5,883,361.11, a combined difference of $5,823,026.11 compared to the 2020 estimate.

This change order added $4,779,091 to the firm’s contract which runs through FY2022. That modification brings the new total estimate to $13,716,001 for the entire security contract.

In line with the revised budget, the document states that "the need for unarmed security guards has increased each year since the contracts with the vendors were executed."

[RELATED: Students demand Bates College 'halt' body camera funding for campus safety officers]

UIC junior Edu Sandoval told Campus Reform that despite these changes, he has still noticed an increase in crime on campus and “not many” security personnel. 

“If anything I see an upwards in crime. I take the train to school and there are usually crimes by the train station. There is ongoing reporting about crime in the area,” he said. 

Sandoval attributed the uptick in crime to the policies passed by local lawmakers during the Coronavirus pandemic such as releasing prisoners to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in prisons.

“When I go home sometimes from school, I’m literally at the train and I talk to some guy and he’s like ‘oh yeah I’m actually out of prison. They let me out,’” Sandoval said.

“Obviously if you let so many prisoners out I mean it’s not a coincidence that you have crime,” he continued. 

When asked about his thoughts on the “defund the police” movement, Sandoval pointed out an imbalance. 

“If you talk about cops are bad more than criminals, then it kind of empowers criminals to act,” he said. 

Campus Reform reached out to the University of Illinois Chicago, but did not receive a response.