Black campus police officers sue University of Washington, claiming ‘unbearable’ racism

There are 5 rank-and-file UWPD officers, and all five are suing the University of Washington for unbearable racism. According to the New York Times:

“In Seattle, the descriptions of overt racism inside the campus Police Department stand out in a city that proudly touts its efforts to combat racism, and where Black Lives Matter signs can be seen in yards and windows all over town. Yet only 7% of Seattle residents are Black, one of the smallest concentrations among large U.S. cities. On the University of Washington’s campus in Seattle, the numbers are even smaller, with Black students making up about 3% of the student body.

With nearly 50,000 students enrolled at the Seattle campus, the university’s police officers investigate on-campus crimes, patrol areas around residence halls and help manage security for public events. The department, which employs 22 officers and 11 supervisors and commanders, has touted its own diversity efforts, saying “different viewpoints, experiences and backgrounds are central to meeting the unique needs of the community we serve.” Amid last year’s racial-justice protests across the country, some of them on the university campus, the department boasted about how it trains its officers to beware of implicit bias”.

Officer Damien Taylor said he overheard white officers talking about the case of George Floyd, who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis last year, saying, “His Black ass got what he deserved.”

The New York Times

Seattle Times coverage of Abolition May

We love that Seattle Times covered our work in Abolition May, focusing on the ways that community members from UW Seattle, UW Bothell and Seattle University came together to talk about our work with the Cops Off Campus movement.

Not covered was the conversations we had with USAS and SUPER UW about how to build our solidarity with Palestine.

Sunday, May 23 at 2pm: University Solidarities, Palestine & Beyond

A worker from UW’s Facilities department takes down a barrier that surrounded the statue, which was doused with red paint to symbolize blood. Photo by Jon Williams

What can students and university communities do to be accountable for their relationships to gentrification, prison labor, and militarization?

Join us for a discussion about the relationship between defunding campus cops and defunding imperial violence at UW Seattle, George Washington Statue at 2pm PST on Sunday, May 23. We’ll hear from organizers with UW Students United Against Sweatshops, UW BLM / Subvert UD, and SUPER UW about their work to make UW accountable to its funding so far, and their plans for next year.


Accessibility: Use the 15th Ave NE and NE 41st St stop just north of the museum and head downhill (south) to the ramp next to the Central Parking Garage entrance. From Central Parking Garage, take the Odegaard elevator and follow the signs for Husky Card access, then exit Plaza level and go right.

Join us Sunday, May 23 for #CoffeeNotCops

On February 4, 2021, President Cauce praised UW for the ways UWPD is tied to the Office of Student Life and spending its budget on regular events like “Coffee with a Cop.” Decriminalize UW found through Public Records Disclosures that UW spends over $8 million per year on the UW Seattle campus alone (not including Harborview and other UW affiliated medical centers). While President Cauce pointed out that UW does not have a contract with Seattle Police Department, she failed to acknowledge that UW actually subsidizes the Bothell city Police Department for increased police surveillance on campus.

Join us on Sunday, May 23 at 11am PST with your mask in hand and your mind open to new ideas for “Coffee Not Cops” where organizers share what we have learned, what we are doing, and what our demands are moving forward. We’ll have representatives from UW Seattle including the Black Student Union and Decriminalize UW; UW Bothell including CCT; and the new Seattle University Total Abolition group.


Accessibility: Use the 15th Ave NE and NE 41st St stop just north of the museum and head downhill (south) to the ramp next to the Central Parking Garage entrance. From Central Parking Garage, take the Odegaard elevator and follow the signs for Husky Card access, then exit Plaza level and go right.

Co-sponsors: Cops Off Campus Coalition; USAS; UW Black Student Union; SUPER UW; UWB CCT; UW Black Graduate Student Association; and UW BLM / Subvert UD

Roundtable discussion on Tuesday, December 1 with scholar-activists Angélica Cházaro, Chandan Reddy and Dean Spade about Spade’s new book, Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During this Crisis (and the Next) (Verso, 2020). According to Spade, “Mutual aid is a term used to describe collective coordination to meet each other’s needs stemming from an awareness that the systems we have in place are not going to meet them. Those systems, in fact, have often created the crisis, or are making things worse.” Mutual aid projects have proliferated during COVID-19, and have been core infrastructure in the current uprising against racist policing and vital on the front lines of fires, floods and storms caused by climate change. As we face unprecedented times, this discussion offers insights rooted in friendship and solidarity to help us build collective power and the relationships we need as we look to 2021.

The first 10 minutes of video only show the ASL interpretation, but the video shows all panelist participants after that. Apologies for the technical difficulties!

UW Graduate Student Senate endorses the movement for Black Lives

On October 14, 2020, the UW Graduate & Professional Student Senate (GPSS) endorsed the movement for Black lives at UW!

Specifically, they endorsed all points from the UW Seattle and Bothell Decriminalize petitions. Further, they endorsed the Black Student Union’s (BSU) platform to allocate more funding to Black RSOs and the Ethnic Studies Department; increase the tri-campus diversity requirement; create a cluster hire that addresses police violence; increases funding for the GO-MAP program for Black, Indigenous and other students of color; and remove statues celebrating white supremacy.

Special thanks to Danielle Brown and Frances O’Shaughnessy to seeing the work through.

President Cauce promises to reduce UWPD patrols by 20%

In a major victory for the Decriminalize UW coalition, President Cauce promised to cut UWPD patrols by 20%. At the same time, she dismissed Black faculty, staff and student experiences of discrimination, vowing only to minimize the “visibility” of campus policing.

You can read her full response to the BSU here. (She has not written similar responses to other members of our campus community.)