Responding to prolonged national protests against racist policing, the University of California is vowing to make “transformational change” in campus safety practices with new independent accountability boards, public disclosure of more law enforcement data and a larger role for mental health and social service professionals.
UC President Michael V. Drake has unveiled a plan to meet this “pivotal moment in history” by moving the public research university system toward more inclusive, transparent and equitable campus policing practices. Drake, who is Black, has made the issue a top priority since taking UC’s helm last year, saying he and his family have personally suffered racial profiling by law enforcement.
“Recent events in our streets and our courts have catalyzed a powerful examination of policing, race and systemic injustice in America,” Drake wrote to the campus community in issuing the plan this week. “This integrated, holistic approach to safety and security is a significant culture shift for UC, and one that will require all of us working together with open hearts and minds.”
The plan rejected calls to abolish UC campus police and redirect funding to alternative safety approaches. Those calls have grown at campuses nationwide after the killing of George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of law enforcement. Campus policing critics point to decades of documented harm to students, faculty, staff and neighbors — particularly Black and Latino males who are disproportionately stopped by police without evidence of wrongdoing.
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