Georgetown students demand to abolish campus police, even with DC crime on the rise
Students at Georgetown University are attempting to abolish the campus police department.
Meanwhile, homicides in Washington, D.C. have been on the rise for the past three years.
The Georgetown University Student Association established a new “working group” focused on abolishing the university police department despite rising crime in the nation's capital.
The GU Student Association “advocates for student interests/initiatives and improves the student experience” at Georgetown University. To accomplish these goals, the Georgetown University Police Department Abolition Working Group was created as a subcommittee of the Policy and Advocacy Committee, according to the Georgetown Hoya.
The group’s stated goal is to “abolish” the Georgetown University Police Department.
In an update on the Georgetown University Student Association’s Instagram page, the group said, “Hey folks! Wondering what GUSA Senate is currently doing? The GUPD Abolition working group is doing some amazing work, committed & dedicated to conducting research about abolition and hosting weekly meetings."
“Are you interested in learning more about abolition and how that can look at Georgetown? Abolition is the future & we would love all hands on deck,” the post continues.
The working group acknowledged that this is not an immediately attainable goal. In the meantime, the abolition group said it hopes to prepare the university community and engage university leadership in a discussion about the eventual change.
“I do not even know if I am going to see abolition at this university by the time I graduate, which is fine,” the group’s organizer Makayla Jeffries told The Hoya.
“But at least for me, and I know for a lot of people in the working group, the work will never stop. The work for abolition, the work for getting resources for people, the work for building communities of care, that is never going to stop. We are all just in it for the long haul,” she continued.
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The group’s founding comes amid allegations from students that GUPD engages in differential treatment for students of color, according to the school newspaper.
However, as of 2019, 201 bias-related incident reports were filed in the previous five years but only one was filed against GUPD, according to the article.
GUPD has been a center of controversy on campus for years now.
For the past several years, GUPD officers have not carried firearms by their sides. They are only equipped with pepper spray and batons. In 2018, a pro-gun student group called GU Advocates for Responsible Defense sent a letter to GU President John DeGioia “respectfully demand[ing]” that firearms be reinstated for campus police.
In summer 2020, aen calling for Georgetown University to “end all contracts and relationships with police departments” garnered nearly 9,000 signatures. In response, the Student Association passed a resolution in favor of reducing the number of police contracts.
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According to Washington D.C. police statistics, homicides are on the rise. For the past three years, there has been a steady increase in the number of homicides committed in the District, with that trend projected to continue.
2020 was the deadliest year for the District since 2004 with 198 recorded homicides.
In light of these statistics, GU senior Rowan Saydlowski told Campus Reform that abolishing the campus police department would be a “terribly dangerous proposal.”
“With the large number of violent crimes in the Georgetown area that the university sends us alerts about, the majority of students on campus are very glad to have GUPD there to help keep us safe,” he continued.
GUSA and the GUPD Abolition Working Group did not respond to Campus Reform’s question about who will protect students from this rising crime should GUPD be abolished.
Georgetown University did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment.
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