Why Cops off Campus?
Since they have existed, Universities in the United States have played a role in policing and destroying the communities around them. Campus-based police departments such as UCPD are a more recent development, and one that overlaps with institutional efforts to suppress students, workers, and activists of color in general, and Black students, workers, and activists in particular. In recent years, those police departments have become increasingly militarized; while enrollment and tuition costs have increased exponentially, police presence and budgets have too.
“In Fall 2019, the University of California enrolled 1.4 percent of the total students enrolled in post-secondary education in the United States. In that same year, the UC's permanent budget earmarked over $138 million for policing... But the harm, and the cost, of investing in policing, as we have suggested above, is not simply measurable in a dollar amount. It is an investment in safety of the cheapest kind. A safety that, backed by the ever present threat of lethal force, habituates us to the fact of steadily increasing inequality that has only ever been possible through the devaluation of Black life in general.” Read more: A Statement of Black Solidarity: Cops Off of Every Campus
What do safety and security mean to you?
For many people, police are the furthest thing from safety. On our campus, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other student populations are often stopped, questioned, and harassed by UCPD officers. There is a fundamental problem with campus police if some community members feel protected by them while others are threatened. We want to implement a new system that makes everyone feel safer, protected, and respected.
In their June 2020 statement responding to UCSD's failure to address its complicity in white supremacy and the prevalent culture of anti-Blackness at our school, the Black Student Union demanded that UCSD “cut ties with and divest from University of California Police Department (UCPD) and local municipal police forces.” Their statement provides a set of clear, practical steps towards intentional divestment of policing to be carried out across the institution. They call, for instance, for a reallocation of funding from policing to programs that support community wellness and protection for students and workers. In place of policing, they demand a community-controlled system of safety. We are here to amplify these demands. Listen to our Black peers, colleagues, and students when they say that we need a community-controlled system of safety, not policing! Read more: Black Student Union statement, June 2020
Let's reimagine our campus as a place where care is prioritized. What does care mean for you?
Cops Off Campus Coalition at UC San Diego
We are a group of community members, students, faculty, and other workers at UCSD joining together in support of a movement initiated by BIPOC community members and colleagues across the University of California and California State University systems, calling for an end to policing in our schools by Fall 2021.
Cops Off Campus Coalition Across UC and CSU Campuses
The Cops Off Campus Coalition emerged amidst a global pandemic, relentless state and vigilante violence against Black, Brown and Indigenous People, and worldwide calls for abolition. The movement to get cops off campus is led by BIPOC community members, students, faculty and graduate and other workers across UC and CSU campuses. Our coalition's goal is the abolition of policing: this starts with a call to imagine all of our campuses without police by Fall 2021. Read more: @ucftp
What is Abolition?
The call for Cops off University of California Campuses is part of a bigger movement for PIC (prison industrial complex) abolition. Abolition is a set of diverse, revolutionary left political practices that enact the democratic world we want, now.
“PIC abolition is a political vision with the goal of eliminating imprisonment, policing, and surveillance and creating lasting alternatives to punishment and imprisonment.
From where we are now, sometimes we can’t really imagine what abolition is going to look like. Abolition isn’t just about getting rid of buildings full of cages. It’s also about undoing the society we live in because the PIC both feeds on and maintains oppression and inequalities through punishment, violence, and controls millions of people. Because the PIC is not an isolated system, abolition is a broad strategy. An abolitionist vision means that we must build models today that can represent how we want to live in the future. It means developing strategies for taking small steps that move us toward making our dreams real and that lead us all to believe that things really could be different. It means living this vision in our daily lives.
Abolition is both a practical organizing tool and a long-term goal.” — Critical Resistance
Mutual aid, housing and healthcare for all, access for all, transformative justice, community defense, education for liberation — all of this work gets us closer to more livable lives.
Isn't getting cops off campus unrealistic?
Asking questions like this is an important part of learning. We are so well trained by society to accept the systems and structures we’ve known within our lifetimes as if they were inevitable — even when those same systems and structures (like policing) cause us harm. Abolitionist practice teaches us that they’re not inevitable!
“Human history shows us that systems of state control are constantly collapsing and being invented and reinvented. It is actually unrealistic to believe that the current wildly harmful, resource-intensive aberrant, unpopular system of caging large numbers of humans will continue. Bottom Line: If it can be built, it can be dismantled.” — Dean Spade (with feedback from Mariame Kaba), read more here.