As Davidson College makes financial adjustments in light of COVID-19, the College should reduce the amount of funding that the Davidson College Campus Police Department receives. This approach will address two ongoing challenges that the College faces: (a) how to cut expenditures without laying off/furloughing staff, and (b) how to "prepare students for lives of leadership and service."
The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and so many others (along with state repression and violence against those demonstrating in their name) have laid bare the role that federal, state, and municipal police departments play in upholding white supremacy and fascism. However, students and community members of color have been organizing against the expansion of police on college campuses for many years. In 2018, members of the Portland State University Student Union occupied the school's public safety office, after a Campus Police officer killed an unarmed Black man named Jason Washington. Last week, the University of Minnesota (as a result of sustained organizing by Black students) announced that they will no longer contract Minneapolis Police Department for additional support at large events, or for specialized services such as K9 teams.
First, Davidson College should answer this call to action by committing to not cooperate with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department at any point in the future, and by ending any contracts, agreements, or partnerships with CMPD that currently exist. Second, the College should commit to not using the Campus Police Department to enforce social distancing guidelines. Third, Campus Police officers should not carry weapons, including firearms and "nonlethal" weapons (ex: nightsticks, tasers, and pepper spray.) Lastly, Davidson College should commit both to not increase the budget of the Campus Police Department at any point in the future, and to transition the College away from a "policing" model altogether.
These actions will make campus a safer and more equitable place for all of us to study, work, and live.