Police Abuse

Amidst Calls for Abolishing the Police, Universities Cut Ties With City Police Departments

A complete end to police on campus probably isn't in the cards, but smaller victories are within reach.


Following George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police, a grassroots movement has emerged urging university officials to cut ties with local police departments.

The epicenter of this push has been the University of Minnesota (UM), which has announced that it would cease a huge portion of its collaboration with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). The university's move was sparked by the student body president, Jael Kerandi, who demanded a full termination of the university's police contracts in a May 26 letter that gave the administration 24 hours to respond.

The following day, the university announced that it will no longer work with MPD at large events such as football games, limiting its involvement with the department to cooperation with the University of Minnesota's Department of Public Safety.

Meanwhile, in Worcester, Massachusetts, the local cops' abusive treatment of protesters has prompted Clark University to discontinue its partnership with the police department. Student petitions demanding that universities end police cooperation have garnered thousands of signatures at New York University, Georgetown University, and the University of California, among others.

Georgetown Student Association President Nicolo Feretti says the movement's primary goal on his campus is to reduce the presence of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers in student life. Armed MPD officers often accompany the university's unarmed public safety officers responding to mere noise complaints, he says. Although the campaign is still in its "information-gathering stage," Feretti adds that a meeting with Georgetown University Police Department Chief Jay Gruber to discuss student concerns is in the works.

Although Feretti doubts that Georgetown will "completely get rid of MPD contracts," he hopes the administration will at least "limit the extent of the contract to only use them in ways that would not be present in students' lives."

Such shifts could curb police power on campus without long legislative battles over institutional reforms. It would certainly send a potent message to police departments that they have overstepped their authority, and it would serve as an experiment in the effects of less invasive policing in collegiate communities.

The University of Minnesota's move has prompted Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, along with many smaller venues and organizations, to likewise end their contracts with city police. Feretti thinks a successful campaign at Georgetown could have similar chain effects throughout the neighborhood and the city. As more universities heed the demands of their student bodies, similar community challenges to police legitimacy may arise, increasing the impetus for wider reforms.

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  1. Abolish the police?

    And replace them with what, exactly?

    Sure, there are too many laws, and too many abusive cops to enforce them. Too many cop unions, too much “qualified immunity,” and so on.

    But presumably these activists thing *someone* should be enforcing the laws against murder, rape, burglary, arson, etc?


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    2. I think the idiots are the ones that want to completely abolish the police. Unfortunately, the ultra left are pushing to defund the police. Huge mistake, especially in minority communities that already have massive crime and violence issues. I also think the ultra right are pushing the narrative that this is all we are seeking when we talk about police reform, pure anarchy and no rule of law. There is a middle ground. Calm the ultra aggressive tactics used by some police departments, enter into a real relationship with the people in the communities they are supposedly serving and no more militarization of the police. Police should have a relationship with universities especially when it comes to fighting violent and sexual crimes, but I for one don’t understand why there are so many cops at some of these universities where crime isn’t a huge issue. Employing some private security and cutting some of these contracts isn’t the worst thing in the world. It also frees up police resources to do other work.

      1. I for one don’t understand why there are so many cops at some of these universities where crime isn’t a huge issue

        Yeah my experience the local cops would take an hour to show up for an armed robbery but be johnny on the spot when it came to underage alcohol citations. Wasn’t hard to figure out why when you got that $500.00 fine for drinking a beer.

        1. I agree. They were so quick to bust kids that have a little pot (obviously this is before that started to change nationally in terms of legalization) but would not show up for 45 mins. when my buddy got robbed. Interesting what the priorities were, but not surprising. I actually don’t blame the police in that instance, I blame the dumb politicians who set up the system this way. Follow the money..

      2. “Several of us on the council are working on finding out what it would take to disband the Minneapolis Police Department and start fresh with a community-oriented, nonviolent public safety and outreach capacity,”
        “Calls about mental health crises could be answered by mental health professionals. Calls about opioid abuse could be answered by addiction experts. Instead, both get cops, usually armed”

    3. re: “Abolish the police?”

      That’s not what the proposal above does. The proposal above merely says that universities should use private security (which they already have) for routine functions like crowd control, noise complaints and security at university events.

      Of course the police will be called in for real crimes* – as they should be. Those are not matters in which the university has any right or authority to cooperate or non-cooperate. This proposal is about ending the voluntary “invitations” for armed and generally-unaccountable police to do what more-accountable private security should do instead.

      * The possible exception is anything to do with sex. Universities still seem deeply confused over their proper role in investigating and adjudicating rape, sexual assault and harassment claims. And to be clear, their proper role should be “none”.

      1. He’s speaking to the actual movement that’s partially behind this where there IS a large call to completely abolish police. That’s more an anarchist position than a libertarian one, though.

        We could function with far fewer laws and far fewer cops necessary to enforce them. I think overpolicing is an issue. But I don’t think the answer is “zero police.”

        1. Agreed. Less police, less militarization of said police. But zero police is a terrible idea. This will negatively impact the very communities that we all want to protect. Hopefully cooler head prevail in the months ahead.

        2. I have trouble considering a few anarchist loud-mouths an “actual movement”, much less a “large call”. I think those are much more likely to be very-tiny extremist positions which some media and politicians (and blog commenters) are highlighting to discredit the more moderate reform proposals.

          The proposal above to demilitarize campuses and rely on private security for routine functions could be considered one of those moderate reforms.

          1. Seriously… read the news…

            “Nine members of the Minneapolis City Council on Sunday announced they intend to defund and dismantle the city’s police department following the police killing of George Floyd.

            Council President Lisa Bender told CNN that with the nine votes the city council members would have a veto-proof majority of the council’s 13 members.”

            This is what happens when you let mob rule overrun the political process. People are too afraid to challenge the BLM activists that the most radical things get adopted into law.

        3. “He’s speaking to the actual movement that’s partially behind this where there IS a large call to completely abolish police. That’s more an anarchist position than a libertarian one, though.”

          Depends what you mean. I’m sure some libertarians would argue for replacing the professional police force with the old militia system.

      2. “Universities still seem deeply confused over their proper role in investigating and adjudicating rape, sexual assault and harassment claims. And to be clear, their proper role should be “none”.”

        I’m starting a slow clap for that comment.

      3. “Of course the police will be called in for real crimes”

        Of course…
        Just like all those rape allegations which were overseen by Title IX poohbahs, rather than a sexual assault investigation unit…

    4. You expect them to think it thru to the end game? This is all or nothing thinking, just like congress.

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    6. They’ve got kangaroo courts aplenty.

    7. Universities teach tolerance and to judge everyone on a case by case basis. Yet the same universities are lumping the police officers together as a group. That is distasteful. We need to support our police and hold them individually accountable.

    8. Yeah, not sure this is going to work like they think it will. But I would like to see a trial period where police aren’t on campus at all. There’s a lot of parents who are going to get tired of buying new cars, cell phones, etc.

  2. predators unite?

  3. What minority owned private security companies should I invest in? Remember, it isn’t racist if the guard shooting the looters is black too.

    1. They’re called ‘Kavanaugh gangs’ now and they will rule as a parallel authority on campus.

    2. I feel bad for the guy who has to go last during a gang rape.

      1. You are somehow more annoying than that alphabet soup loser who tries to correct everyone’s grammar.

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  4. So colleges do not want police involvement with the supposedly rampant campus rape problem?

    “As more universities heed the demands of their student bodies,…”

    Let’s make the decision makers the preening ignoramuses. Nothing bad will happen from that.

    1. They will have a TA from the social science dept investigate, arrest, sentence and execute the perp white cis-gendered hetro male.

  5. Wonderful money making opportunity. Sell “Police Free Zone” ‘We Will Not Cooperate” stickers to the woke, sell their addresses to those inclined to take advantage of their own money making opportunities.

  6. I’m scrounging around in the memory hole.
    Didn’t there used to be a thing about police not investigating campus rapes because the university police had jurisdiction, but the campus cops weren’t doing anything about the rapes?

    1. You are mixing two different situations, Echo. Some universities have actual police departments. The university police are paid by the university but commissioned by the state and are real police in every legal sense (including arrest powers, training obligations, reporting requirements, ability to assert (and abuse) qualified immunity, etc.). Those police departments do have jurisdictional fights with police in the surrounding community – like neighboring police departments everywhere.

      The universities in the examples above have private unarmed security departments with no arrest powers, etc. They must refer all criminal matters to the local police. They often “cooperate” with the local police on routine security functions such as crowd control and noise complaints.

      1. The universities then should be required to have a paid armed police force that meets the state qualifications and has the same responsibilities the the city and state police have.
        For ball games or other large crowds the universities will have to hire security forces to handle these but none of these security forces could be connected to the police department because the city police may well corrupt the university police.

        1. Curly, the universities which establish police departments already have exactly that. Their departments must meet all the same qualifications and responsibilities as municipal police departments.

      2. thanks for clarifying.
        “I firmly believe that it is completely unnatural to have police in schools,” school board member Kimberly Caprini said during the meeting.
        Good thing school shootings have been confined to the dustbins of history now.

        1. Well, schools are gun free zones, so there cannot be any shootings.

          1. So it is written, so it shall be done

  7. So government funded universities have contracts with the police? Journalists should be asking why and for what . My guess is presence, crowd control, and traffic at large events such as football games.
    Why do police sometimes accompany an “unarmed university public safety officer” regarding noise complaints? Shouldn’t the police handle this, or does the university have their own rules stated in a contract with the student, with their own penalties that go above and beyond government law?

    Finally, a more libertarian approach might be to just assume students are adults, and if there’s a problem, let an adult call the police, or sort it out like adults. Further, seems reasonable that a university might require students to not be convicted of a crime while enrolled, to graduate and attend, or not. In a free market, students could choose a school based on what they believe are the best public safety arrangements for students.
    Instead, we’ve had the government essentially forcing (or lose subsidies) universities to setup their own partisan government and rules via a liberal interpretation of Title IX, but thankfully Trump has pushed back, e.g., by now requiring them to enforce freedom of speech, rather than punish students/faculty for speech that they don’t like, and to ensure due process. Personally, I’d like government out of the education business entirely, i.e., separation of school and state, not unlike separation of church and state, and for the same reasons.

  8. These universities should no longer call the police for traffic control at their events. Nor should it allow a police officer on campus unless the officer has a specific warrant naming the person and place.
    The universities have their own police departments and any crime on campus or to university property will be handled by their own department.
    This same policy should be at all public schools that have terminated police service. Then when there is a shooting on one of their campuses it would be the local school who would be responsible for stopping and investigating and working with the DA to prosecute any criminal activity.
    But I doubt that would last very long if there was any trouble at the university or public school.

  9. Excellent. Universities can totes manage their own criminal justice systems.

  10. Based on the excellent handling of sexual assault cases, this is clearly a much needed reform.
    I am going online now to sell all my stock in liability insurance companies.

  11. In the town where I live, everybody complains that the University Police are far more abusive than the City Police. (Luckily, I’ve never had to deal with either one, so I can’t say which is worse.)

    I guess, as Rossami mentioned above, this article is about Universities that don’t have real police departments. I do wish the article had been more clear about this.

  12. Of course, if the overwrought backlash continues, and police end up getting fired every time they touch someone, no matter the situation, police are just going to lay back and let things happen. Then we’ll see how folks like a country without police protection.

    1. This has been happening. Why do you think murder has spiked in every city? Black on black crime is the biggest issue facing black Ameticans but the white run corporations can’t profit from exploiting that.

  13. It’s funny how I can’t use the term “Wuhan virus” because on the chance that it’s racist, or deride Islamists are large when their radicals murder thousands of people, but it’s ok for BLM to criminalize the entire police for individual acts of misconduct.

    When is it appropriate for me to paint an entire group with a wide brush, and when is it not?

  14. You lost me at “grassroots movement.” Since when is a movement initiated and financed by billionaires and international corporations grassroots?

  15. We shouldn’t be assuming all police are bad. We need to look at each police officers as individuals. We need to support our police and hold each individual officer accountable. Anyone wanting to disband or ban the police is crazy.

  16. Let’s make America like Mogadishu! Make Somalia Great Again!

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