Chair of University of California board of regents is considering 40% 'reduction' to campus police
A number of representatives from the University of California school system participated in a virtual discussion on the future of campus policing.
During the virtual event, the chair of the University of California board of regents admitted that he’s open to discussing significant cuts to campus police.
“There’s room to have a discussion about a significant reduction in policing on campuses…and I don’t think the 40% number is out of the range of possibility.”
Calls from students and now administrators to defund the police on campus are growing in California. The chair of the University of California board of regents admitted that he’s open to considering cuts in the number of police officers on campuses across the university system.
Regent John Pérez made the comments on April 21 during a virtual panel hosted by CalMatters, a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom on California policy and politics, and KQED, a media company based in Northern California.
The virtual panel was held to discuss whether or not colleges need their own police forces and if so, what kind of changes are needed “so that departments are responsive to the community, and students of color feel safe on campus.”
During the discussion, members of the University of California Student Association made a proposal to decrease armed officers on UC campuses across the state by 40%.
Naomi Waters, vice-chair of the Racial Justice Now Campaign in the University of California Student Association discussed the association’s proposed changes.
Waters proposed a hiring freeze of police officers and “the disarmament of at least 40% of officers on duty.”
[RELATED: Georgetown students demand to abolish campus police, even with DC crime on the rise]
Waters also spoke about reallocating funds from the police department and putting those funds towards mental health resources instead.
Pérez agreed with those proposals.
“I can’t speak for others,” Perez said. “I think there’s room to have a discussion about a significant reduction in policing on campuses. Significant. And I don’t think the 40% number is out of the range of possibility.”
“I actually think that the UCSA recommendations are really well reasoned and lay a very good foundation for the discussion we should be having,” Pérez said.
However, immediately after Pérez made those comments, he admitted that police are important to have on campus.
“I’m going to say something unpopular. One of the reasons we need police on campuses is because campuses are not free from violent crime and they’re not free from other expressions of crime that are appropriately responded to by police,” Pérez said.
He also went on to discuss why the conversation on defunding the police must extend beyond college campuses.
“And so if the only focus of our conversation is doing away with police on college campuses, what happens when somebody calls in to complain? It’s exterior police forces coming in and having an even more confrontational experience,” Pérez said.
Pérez has also been involved politically at both the state and national levels. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush to serve on the President's Commission on HIV/AIDS. Pérez is also a longtime member of the Democratic National Committee.
[RELATED: Ohio State students occupy student union, demand school cut ties with Columbus police]
Other guests at the panel included Joseph Farrow, chief of police at UC Davis, and Dylan Rodriguez, professor at UC Riverside. Campus Reform has previously reported on Rodriguez’s past comments made about Zionism and how it “politically toxifies our schools.”
Recently, a group at the University of California, Merced called "Cops off Campus" hosted a series of talks about abolishing the police, but the meeting was not available to the public, as Campus Reform reported.
"Cops off Campus" is a group that aims to get "Cops Off University of California Campuses."
Campus Reform reached out to the University of California Board of Regents but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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