Cops off Campus holds their last meeting of Spring Term
UO has begun a process of auditing its campus police force, but for some a hired consulting agency named Twenty First Century Policing (21CP) leaves the fox guarding the hen house. According to Cops off Campus UO, their own community audit on campus has concluded, “Abolition is our conclusion.” The auditing agency 21CP is primarily composed of former police chiefs and administrators. For Cops off Campus the audit that started in January this year hardly comes close to the type of community review board campus organizers have envisioned. Organizers are also worried that the report will appropriate abolitionist language, and most of all UOPD will have the opportunity to edit the report prior to public release. The $110K audit will in no way obligate the UOPD to follow any of its recommendations. Organizers believe a smokescreen of reform now allows campus authorities to move forward on a suite of half measures. Some of these including Community Service Officers, and various acknowledgments glorifying CAHOOTS and aping its best efforts.
Cops off Campus ends the year with its May 25th public meeting by briefing who they are, where they are, and where they want to be. Over the course of the last year the group has transitioned from its previous iteration as Disarm UO into a stronger abolitionist stance of the Cops Off Campus Coalition. Now branded as Cops Off Campus UO (COC), the group takes a strong anti-capitalist position that opposes the prison industrial complex, colonialism, imperialism, patriarchy, and racism.
Their presentation opened with an indigenous land acknowledgement that fed directly into their core mission and seamlessly recognized the historical relationship between stolen indigenous land and policing. Reflecting on the history of COC they showed how the group has periodically released information about UOPD’s negative impact in the community. They have demonstrated how the foundation of UO’s police department is built on a program of privatization subsuming the public university system. And they have emphasized how UOPD was only established in 2011, which obliges meeting participants to easily imagine a campus community without policing.
Most importantly the abolitionist stance of the organization allows it to refrain from reformist efforts and compromises with campus administration. Over the course of the last academic year the group has largely been successful in efforts to underline a problematic relationship between Campus Duck Rides and the UOPD. Campus police had largely asserted control over the ride service (Previously called Safe Rides) and Associated Students of University of Oregon (ASUO) were paying 90% of the Duck Rides budget. This created a situation where student activity fees collected by ASUO were being funneled into the UOPD. It now appears that UOPD will no longer control the ride service in the next budget cycle and Transportation Services will take over control of Duck Rides.
Cops Off Campus ended its final Spring term meeting with a workshop asking participants to brainstorm how they would rather spend the UOPD’s eight million dollar budget.