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Educators, Students Take Day Off To Protest The Existence Of College Police Departments
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 12: A banner that reads "Defund The Police" is seen during the "Reclaim the Park" gathering at Emancipation Park on August 12, 2020 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Community members in Charlottesville collaborated with Congregate Cville and other Charlottesville organizations to put together the "Reclaim the Park" gathering to mark the third anniversary of a far-right rally on August 12, 2017.
Eze Amos/Getty Images

On Monday, hundreds of educators and students nationwide participated in a “day of refusal” wherein they refused to go to work or class to protest the presence of police on college campuses. 

According to Campus Reform, Stanford University Professor David Palumbo-Liu went so far as to cancel his class. Palumbo-Liu also co-founded the Campus Antifascist (Antifa) network.  

The “day of refusal” was organized by the “Cops Off Campus Coalition,” a national network of students with the stated goal “to get cops off campus and cops off the planet.” Participants were asked to sign a petition, which included a list of demands. 

Demands included eliminating all police off of all campuses nationwide, demanding “the land back,” and demanding that money be reallocated from policing to “community safety and education.”

The petition reads: 

I pledge to absent myself from work, class, teaching, and more on Monday, May 3, 2021, as part of the national Day of Refusal to demand cops off campus. As a member of a campus community, I am horrified that — amidst  global pandemic, relentless state and vigilante violence against Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, and national calls for abolition — schools across North America have committed to increasing police budgets. College police forces are increasingly militarized, and I support the nationwide call to demand cops off our campus to make our university truly safe and free for all, and I will not cross the picket line. 

The coalition argues that colleges are funding police forces at the expense of educating students properly, especially amidst the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Colleges and universities spend millions — often hundreds of millions — of dollars on these police forces,” the petition reads. “This spending occurs while states cut appropriations for higher education and schools impose layoffs, furlough workers, slashing wages, and more in the midst of the pandemic.” 

The petition received 45-pages worth of signatories from individuals and university departments across the country. A slew of University of California-Los Angeles clubs and departments were among the signatories, such as the UCLA Black Feminism Initiative, the Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health, the Department of Art,  the Department of Gender Studies, and the Department of Social Welfare. 

The coalition designated May as “Abolitionist May” and created a handout with a number of activist activities to participate in. Examples included “march[ing] to your chancellor’s house and let[ing] them know how you feel,” hosting a “teach-in with abolitionist speakers,” “redecorat[ing] your campus police stations,” and hosting “street puppet theater.”

Campuses across the nation have been riddled with anti-police sentiment following the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Students have organized to create independent anti-police chapters, such as Northwestern University’s “NU Community Not Cops.” 

In October, “NU Community Not Cops” vandalized and burned school property and placed the charred remains at the feet of police officers guarding the home of Northwestern president Morton Schapiro. The group also vandalized the school’s iconic Weber Arch during a protest aimed at abolishing the campus police department. 

Related: Watch: Professor Berates Student For Calling Police ‘Heroes’ 

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