By Camila Ceja
On October first, virtual and in-person events across the state kicked off the beginning of the “Cops Off Campus” campaign– a fight to disarm, divest, and defund the university police. Although the UC campuses have remained closed due to the pandemic, the funding for the campuses’ police continued to remain, and in some cases, rise. The origin of the coalition on UC Berkeley’s campus is currently unknown, but the majority of its members are graduate students, faculty, and professors.
In early September, the Graduate Assembly of Students in UC Berkeley unanimously passed a resolution in support of the defunding of UCPD. Later on September 22, the universities united, releasing a Cops Off Campus Statement of Black Solidarity, highlighting the movement’s mission and demands. The statement declared the link between the universities’ excessive policing and increase in tuition as an attack on the Black community.
In the last decade, the UCPD budget has more than doubled, coming over $138 million in 2019. As stated in the document, the “Cops Off Campus” coalition is calling for an “abolition of policing,” as the policing of the Black community is a practice of the continued institutionalized racism. The coalition above all, demands for reparation following the history of racism against the Black community on and off campus.
Following the declaration of statements, 24 UC professors and 60 organizers, artists and scholars signed a pledge supporting the movement, including the co-founder of Black Lives Matter LA, rapper and activist Noname, and professors at campuses like Yale and Harvard. The coalition “Cops off Campus” and the respective coalition of UC’s and CSU’s demand for the dismantling of campus police by Fall of 2020.
In the statewide day of action, coalitions across campuses organized in protest. With a goal of terminating the relationship with LAPD, dozens of protesters gathered in UCLA. More than fifty UCSB grad students and professors organized along Isla Vista. Due to Northern California’s wildfires, UC Berkeley’s coalition was not able to meet in person, yet the movement remains supported on social media.
Raw Media has contacted the organizing members and is waiting to hear more information from them. To be updated on actions and information for UC Berkeley’s “Cops Off Campus” coalition, follow @cal.ftp and @cal_ftp on instagram.