A small group of students at the University of Minnesota protested outside the school president’s office Friday demanding campus police officers be disarmed.
The College Fix reported that the sit-in was a follow-up to last year’s protest outside the University of Minnesota Police Department (UMPD). This year, just eight students attended. Last year, nearly double that protested outside the police department.
“This is essentially a reminder that we expect these demands to be met,” the student organizer told The Minnesota Daily.
Lest one think this sit-in was just about guns, the students also demanded an “increase [in] the diversity of the student population,” reported the Daily.
The protest was led by Students for a Democratic Society, and was referred to as a “study-in” because participating members had homework and studying to do.
“The goal is to occupy space … to keep it chill and study,” another organizer told the outlet.
“I have a midterm in half an hour,” said another. “I agree with the resolutions [from SDS], I just have to balance social justice with school.”
The Daily reported that students “snacked on Halloween-themed donuts and coffee as they studied.”
During last year’s small protest, a student said the call to disarm the UMPD was the “perfect opportunity for the University to leverage themselves on a progressive course in society and … nip in the bud any circumstances where police can murder people,” the Daily reported.
During that protest, the Daily reported that no UMPD officer had fired their weapon since 2012, “when an officer shot a dying raccoon on the St. Paul campus.” It was the only reported incident in the past decade.
SDS handed out fliers last year claiming UMPD – a campus police force – had a stock of 57 automatic rifles and spent $500,000 per year purchasing new weapons and supplies.
“The more you have police officers armed to respond to folks in the community who are armed and potentially pose a threat, the more that there’s a risk of that threat actually coming from the police officers,” a sociology professor told the outlet in April 2018.
A UMPD spokesperson told the Daily that the department did not plan to disarm, as law enforcement must be ready for potential active shooters.
The Fix reported that the UM student government voted down a resolution to disarm the UMPD by nearly 400 votes last year.
The campaign to disarm campus police officers spread early last year. Students at the University of Chicago also wanted police officers disarmed, claiming through their protest signs “UofC kills.” In reality, there had only been one report of an officer firing their weapon in the past 30 years – and body cam footage proved it was self-defense. A student with a mental illness had charged the officer with a metal pole. The student was shot in the shoulder and charged with assault and property damage.
Similarly, students at the University of California-Davis approved a resolution to disarm police officers. Shortly after the resolution passed, a Sacramento Police officer was killed by an assailant with a rifle in the line of duty.