WATCH: Students demand 'Cops Off Campus' days after nearby shooting
A student group is demanding an end to policing on campus following a recent shooting nearby.
A representative of the group said that increased police presence "would make shootings more common because there is less money going to mental health services."
A student organization called “Cops Off Campus” at the University of Texas at Austin held a protest Thursday, demanding that all campus police be removed in order to increase class consciousness and achieve socialism.
This comes shortly after an incident on Halloween night in the West Campus neighborhood that led to one man being shot in the heavily populated student area. In response, the University president, Jay Hartzell, announced that there would be increased patrols in the West Campus area, as well as the $8 million investment already planned to increase UTPD officers.
A Cops Off Campus spokesperson, who identified himself as John, told Campus Reform that the increased police presence, “would make shootings more common because there is less money going to mental health services.”
The group carried a large banner that read, “Students and Workers Demand Cops Off Campus” and “Down with Capitalism/Imperialism” along the front.
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The group also passed out literature to students with the words, “The Police Do Not Protect Us!” and directing students via a QR code to a manifesto of sorts crafted by leftist student organizations.
This is the second protest being held by the organization, with their first protest taking place at the start of the semester during a Gone to Texas student welcome event.
Most students walked past ignoring the demonstrators and some chanted along with them, however, one student challenged them. Jack Wang, a senior studying engineering, challenged the group by defending UTPD. Wang, who grew up in China, argued that the UTPD are “the good guys” and that their communist revolutionary aspirations would only lead to failure.
In response, the student demonstrators derided him saying that his arguments were “in bad faith” and argued in support of the communist revolution seen in China.
Campus Reform reached out to the University of Texas about the protest, but has not received comment.
[RELATED: UC Davis prof praised by ‘Cops Off Campus Coalition’ for participation in nationwide strike]
Throughout the demonstration, which lasted an hour, the group chanted slogans like “We don’t want this fascist nation, we want total liberation”, “what’s the solution, revolution”, and “abolish The Eyes of Texas.”
The university’s alma mater has become controversial over the past year and a half amongst students.
After the racial protests seen last summer, students across the country have demanded racial justice from their universities and during this time many UT students pushed to replace the school’s alma mater, The Eyes of Texas.
[RELATED: Georgetown students demand to abolish campus police, even with DC crime on the rise]
In response, the university put together a committee to review the song’s history and found that the song was “not overtly racist.” However, students still demanded the song no longer be played.
This has sparked a major culture war fight between students and alumni as student tour guides have gone on strike, the marching band has been split in half over the song, students have sued UT arguing the song creates a “hostile environment,” and the abolishment of The Eyes of Texas is a top priority for the Senate of College Councils, an elected representative body at UT.
Many alumni have stated that they would pull their donations from the university if The Eyes of Texas was removed, with donors calling the student-led effort another instance of “cancel culture.”
Despite the continued push by students from across the 40 Acres, The Eyes of Texas, and UTPD, is staying put at the university.
Editor's Note: A spokesperson for the University of Texas told Campus Reform, "At UT Austin, security on and around campus remains a constant priority. Financial support for the police department remains unchanged."