This petition will be delivered to: (1) the CSU Board of Trustees, (2) the CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro, (3) the President of each of the 23 CSU campuses, (4) the systemwide Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU), (5) the Cal State Student Association as well as each of the 23 CSU campus student government organizations, and (6) the Police Chief of each of the 23 CSU campuses. Demands will be presented at the September 14-15, 2021, CSU Board of Trustees meeting.
We want everyone to feel safe on our campus!
Campus police are not exempt from the systemic problems facing American policing. The creation of campus police is recent, an administrative backlash against increased access to higher education for people of color as well as student movements during the 1960s and 70s to decolonize the university [1,2].
There is no magic distinction that makes campus police less violent to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), as well as LGBTQ+, undocumented, and disabled bodies. In 2012, Cal State San Bernardino police officers responding to a mental health crisis shot and killed Bartholomew Williams, a Black graduate student, at his off-campus apartment building . In 2014, the San Jose State University Police shot and killed Antonio Guzman Lopez just off campus--no police were charged and video evidence has only recently been released in response to a Public Records Act request . Even when police violence is not fatal, it is still traumatizing for those community members who are targeted. For example, in 2019 Cal Poly police racially profiled a faculty member of color, who was pulled over without reason, handcuffed, and subjected to a personal and vehicle search for weapons before being released with no citation or apology .
The violence of policing extends to a lack of justice when it is Black bodies who are the targets of hate crimes. In 2008 at SJSU, Gregory Johnson Jr. was the only Black member in the house of Sigma Chi, his fraternity, an organization with a racist history. After he was found hanged and dead in their basement, campus police reported the death as a suicide despite major inconsistencies in the autopsy report . In 2017, David Josiah Lawson, a Black student at Humboldt State, was murdered at a house party near campus. The area has a complex history of racialized violence, and the case remains unsolved .
These incidents are a stark reminder of how, year after year, the California State University system recruits students of color to their campuses, but does not provide adequate support for their safety and education. Instead, university police are armed with AR-15 rifles, handguns, tasers, and pepper spray. Historically and in our contemporary moment, police forces have disproportionately assaulted and killed marginalized people. Their mission and impacts are contrary to the stated goals of the University, a public teaching institution. If the CSU truly cares for its students, it cannot continue to arm and disproportionately fund a police force that is part of the epidemic of police violence across this country.
We, the undersigned, demand the following:
𝘋𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘻𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘜𝘗𝘋
--No more funding for firearms and other military grade weaponry
--Disarm campus police and security of all lethal weapons, including AR-15s and handguns, as well as non-lethal weapons like tasers and military-grade pepper spray, which in some cases can cause death and/or permanent disability.
--Termination of officers following multiple reports of excessive force and ensure that officers with records of violence are prohibited from serving as campus police
--Defund police budgets across the CSU with the goal to eventually abolish police. This means shifting campus resources to...
𝘈𝘥𝘥𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘔𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘏𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘵𝘩 𝘙𝘦𝘴𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘤𝘦𝘴
--More mental health services in support of the International Accreditation of Counseling Services (IACS) standard of 1,000 to 1,500 students to one counselor and at least $20 million to fund the student ratio bill SB 660
--Crisis intervention and response teams comprised of specialists like counselors and EMTs, not police, on each campus
𝘚𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘐𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘗𝘰𝘱𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴
--Ensure every CSU campus has: a dedicated Black student resource center, Latinx student center, AAPI student resource center, Undocumented student center, and Indigenous student resource center (established and led in collaboration with BIPOC faculty, staff, and students and Ethnic Studies departments)
--More resources for the creation and/or support of “safe spaces” and a dedicated center on every campus for LGBTQ+ students
--Implementation of restorative justice practices at all CSUs