UC Irvine students call for destruction of 'slave patrol' campus police
The Black Student Union at the University of California, Irvine has called for the abolition of the campus police department, calling the very idea of policing “unethical.”
“The problem is that policing as an institution is unethical; it accompanies anti-Black violence,” the BSU writes in a Change.org petition, which as of this writing has a goal of 200 signatures.
The problem, according to the petition, traces back to a decision by the student government to ban the display of all flags, including the American flag, from the common area that is under its jurisdiction. In response, it alleges, university administrators subjected six student leaders to Soviet-style interrogation, complete with forced confessions.
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“A non-deputized Black person could never do the following: hold six right-wing students hostage in an administration building, while violating their civil rights; make police protection from anonymous violence contingent upon them signing a document; and, force these students to apologize for refusing to fly red, black and green Black Liberation flags in their student organizations’ commons,” the petition reads.
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“The police are always already on the other side, ideologically and historically,” the petition continues. “Police kill Black women and men in cold blood as it is necessary for societal operation.”
According to the BSU, there is no difference between contemporary police forces and the KKK of old, insofar as both “intimidate, imprison, sexually assault, and murder Black people.”
The group asserts that this “creates a violent space for students for the mere fact [sic] that institutions of higher learning should occupy and provide safe spaces to learn, think, and intellectually grow,” and complains that “the police operating on UCI’s campus problematizes [sic] the notion that the university is, in fact, a safe space to learn, think and grow for Black students.”
The group demands that “UCIPD and any additional paramilitary force presence on campus be dismantled,” saying that contemporary police forces “are modern incarnations of the antebellum plantation and slave patrols.”
The petition rambles on, bringing up Trayvon Martin, the LA riots, and other polarizing events, periodically reiterating its call for the dismantling of the campus police force.
“I feel like they really push the narrative of victimhood to demonize the university,” Peter Van Voorhis, a conservative activist and member of College Republicans, told Campus Reform. “They’re saying they were being pressured with the threat of losing their lives, so therefore we need to ban the police on campus.”
Van Voorhis described the petition as “a way for very left-wing students to try to get attention,” but called it “a pretty baseless attack,” and countered that “calling people racist and xenophobic doesn’t make things better.
“I think even left-wing students would realize that it’s a little bit insane to call for police to be banned in order to create a safe space for marginalized groups,” he added.
The petition had received 145 signatures out of its goal of 200 supporters (out of a student population of just over 30,000) as of press time, and several were even moved enough to comment on their own experience with the university’s support for “unsafe” spaces or to share their disrespect for the police.
One commenter, who identified as a lecturer at UCI, talked about the "forms of intimidation exercised on students through campus police presence" and said she "fully support[s] the BSU demands."
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