Pro-police petition causes campus controvery, student considers 'academic leave'

An anonymous student at the University of Pittsburgh is considering 'academic leave' and transferring schools after a pro-police petition sparked backlash on campus.

The student issued an apology for creating the petition.

An anonymous student at the University of Pittsburgh (UPitt) is considering “academic leave” and transferring schools after a pro-police petition sparked backlash on campus.

The petition, which has since been deleted, was created to fight for an increased police presence on campus following a surge of sexual assault (SA) cases. 

“I am so, so sorry that I made your situations even harder. I am ashamed of myself. I don’t think words can ever describe how sorry I am. The petition will be deleted as soon as I can figure out how to do… so,” the student allegedly wrote on a subreddit page. 

[RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Injured student assaulted during Matt Walsh event]

The student continued, writing, “I’m considering academic leave, or transferring to another school, if that’s possible.”

The Pitt News reported that the anonymous student helped organize an Oct. 7 protest to demand the Pennsylvania school take action to increase student safety. The student reportedly requested anonymity “because other protesters raised concerns about some of the demands — namely, increased police — and she did not wish to be associated with the demands personally.” 

The petition reportedly received 6,000 signatures and urged UPitt to “add security cameras to stairwells, bring back swipe access and increase accountability of perpetrators.”

However, many students reportedly opposed the petition’s call to increase campus police on the grounds that it could make students of color feel unsafe on campus. 

Sal Zuber, a student at UPitt, questioned the negative reactions the petition received when interviewed by Campus Reform.

So what do they propose? If they don’t want more security or police and guns are bad, what do they suggest?,” Zuber asked.

[RELATED: OPINION: Defund the Police: Another bad idea from higher ed]

Zuber also informed Campus Reform that he personally met with the UPitt Police Department to discuss the ongoing issue on campus.

“I actually met with the chief of pitt police and the vice chancellor to talk to them about pitt security and police presence a few weeks ago,” Zuber said. “They have augmented their practices in recent weeks, and I think that they are doing their best with the resources given to them.”

Another Pitt student, who requested to remain anonymous, not only argued in favor of the police, but against Pitt prioritizing other things like COVID and diversity.

“The police are here to protect all students. We need a higher police presence on campus and more lighting on the streets at night,” the student told Campus Reform

“Pitt seems to focus their priorities on Covid and Diversity yet the real concern should be the safety of students walking home at night and getting to class safely,” the student continued. “I am constantly getting asked for money on my way to class multiple times a week and being approached by strangers. It is scary to walk home at night.”

“We pay a lot of money in tuition and the number #1 priority should be [the] protection of students.”

Campus Reform reached out to the University of Pittsburgh and Pitt Police for comment. The petition creator was unable to be reached. This article will be updated accordingly. 

Follow @thelogandubil on Twitter.