A high-ranking member of the Minnesota Student Association, Lauren Meyers, called on her peers in student government to harass campus law enforcement officers.
“When you say disrupt [the University of Minnesota Police Department], what exactly do you mean by that?” Ranking At-Large Representative Andy Knuppel asked.
“Make their lives hell,” Meyers replied nonchalantly. “Annoy the s**t out of them.”
“Okay…” Knuppel replied, clearly taken back by the answer.
The goal, according to Meyers, is to “use up their resources.” She encouraged students to place fake calls for help to “make officers show up to something.”
The comments were made on a video conference call where members of the student government were discussing a letter calling on UMPD Chief Matt Clark to resign for “repeatedly and unequivocally disregard[ing] students demands, fail[ing] to increase campus wellness and safety for students of color, and … allow[ing] the utilization of UMPD as a physical arm of the oppressive state to subjugate and silence community members both on and off campus.”
Here it is. We received a copy of the video that was deleted from Reddit.#UMN Student Association Rep Lauren Meyers advocates disrupting #UMPD police to "make their lives hell, annoy the sh*t out of them, use up their resources, make their officers show up to something." #MN pic.twitter.com/DxQD4b0aDE
— CrimeWatchMpls (@CrimeWatchMpls) April 27, 2021
Two police unions, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) and Law Enforcement Labor Services (LELS), issued a statement, asking Meyers to apologize to UMPD.
“Actively planning to thwart UMPD by generating false calls for help is insulting to the overwhelming majority of the campus community that rely on public safety services. MSA leaders should be ashamed — and apologize to the campus community and victims of crime on campus,” MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters said in the statement. “Last month the campus community had 13 incidents of aggravated assault, 52 burglaries, 22 car thefts, 4 sexual assaults, numerous thefts, and a murder on or near campus. We’re frustrated that elected student leaders would purposefully choose to stir further division to make the campus less safe.”
The unions also called on university officials to launch an investigation “for Student Code of Conduct violations.” The unions cited multiple areas of the student code of conduct, including falsification, attempt to injure or defraud, and disorderly conduct.
Subd. 3. Falsification. Falsification means willfully providing University offices or officials with false, misleading, or incomplete information; forging or altering without proper authorization official University records or documents or conspiring with or inducing others to forge or alter without proper authorization University records or documents; misusing, altering, forging, falsifying, or transferring to another person University-issued identification; or intentionally making a false report of a bomb, fire, natural disaster, or other emergency to a University official or an emergency service agency.
Subd. 5. Attempt to Injure or Defraud. Attempt to injure or defraud means making, forging, printing, reproducing, copying, or altering any record, document, writing, or identification used or maintained by the University when done with intent to injure, defraud, or misinform.
Subd. 9. Disorderly Conduct. Disorderly conduct means engaging in conduct that incites or threatens to incite an assault or breach of the peace; breaching the peace; obstructing or disrupting teaching, research, administrative, or public service functions; or obstructing or disrupting disciplinary procedures or authorized University activities.
The unions also stated Meyers’ calls for thwarting police could result in a number of misdemeanor and felony offenses, including “reporting fictitious emergency resulting in serious injury,” which carries a 10-year sentence and/or a $20,000 fine.
Two members of the student government, Andrew Knuppel and Morgan McElroy, slammed Meyers’ comments.
“We are two members of the Minnesota Student Association (MSA) Executive Board and we wholeheartedly denounce the comments that were made during the April 14, 2021 Executive Board meeting regarding police interference on campus,” the pair said in a statement. “We call upon our fellow student leaders who have stayed silent over the last 72 hours to denounce the comments made in the clip that’s been widely circulating in the media.”
“To achieve any progress on critical campus issues such as police reform and campus safety, elected student leaders should strive to engage with administrators and campus law enforcement collaboratively,” the joint statement said. “The public comments made by our colleague, unintended or otherwise, have cast a dark shadow on what should be a constructive dialogue among elected student government leaders, the student body, administration, and other stakeholders.”
Knuppel and McElory told Alpha News the full video recording “has since been deleted from our internal communications network and is the only Executive Board meeting recording we do not have access to at this time.”
According to Alpha News, this isn’t the first time a member of student government has been involved in anti-law enforcement rhetoric. Earlier this year, Nikil Badey, who the school newspaper identified as a “student government leader” lied about UMPD racially profiling him. Badey was stopped because they believed he “may have fit the description of a suspect in an armed robbery that occurred earlier that night,” The Minnesota Daily reported.