Tell the UW Board of Regents what campus safety means to you!
What is your vision for the safety of our campus and surrounding neighborhoods? What can we do with the $8 million per year that UW currently spends on UWPD through the Office of Student Life, to actually make our campus safer? What could we do with the 28,000 square foot UWPD building to serve the needs of community members? You can use the letter below, and/or also add a poem, a drawing, a photo—whatever helps you communicate campus safety!
If you share text/image via Twitter, you can tag @amcauce and @denzilJS, along with @decrimUW
Example subject line: Safety Beyond UW Policing
My name is _______ and I am a [student/staff/faculty/community member] at the University of Washington. I am also a part of [any relevant campus/neighborhood organizations]. I am writing as part of a campus-wide coalition to demand that UW dismantle UWPD and put the budget and other resources allotted to them towards a community-led vision for campus safety.
Since its establishment in the 1960s that served to criminalize and control anti-war and Black freedom movement student activists, UWPD has been deeply entrenched in cycles of racism and violence that have made police reform ineffective. In 2019, UW hired an independent investigator who found that UWPD has a “culture of fear.” In 2020, DecrimUW submitted a petition signed by over 10,000 people calling on the administration to rethink police violence. Because of this movement, UW committed to stop hiring police officers with disciplinary records and also stopped naming race in its safety alerts. However, UW now sends out three times more crime alerts than last year to perpetuate fear and justify ever larger police budgets. In 2021, all five Black rank-and-file UWPD officers filed $8 million in damage claims against UWPD for a culture of entrenched racism that made their jobs unbearable. It is clear that reform has failed and that we must take bold steps to dismantle UWPD to make campus safer.
In June 2021, campus experts submitted a “Non-Police Crisis Response” proposal that would invest in improving existing King County services. They emphasized the need to be embedded in the community – not siloed. President Cauce never responded to their recommendation… the task force she asked for! In December 2021, President Cauce abruptly announced that an administrator would begin to “Reimagine Safety” on campus. Her 12/2/21 email does not acknowledge either the existence of the U District community or the fact that a task force already completed a year long process of reimagining safety. This move proposed to centralize SafeCampus, Emergency Management and UWPD — centering UWPD, which has not had a police chief in years due to massive mismanagement!
[This section can include:
- concrete ideas for what to spend budget on and why
- what purposes UWPD building could serve, for who, what it would look like
- values embodied in alternative vision for campus safety
For a truly safe campus community, UW must:
- Partner with King County’s HealthOne unit to invest in community safety solutions, per the task force recommendation;
- Stop spending money on administrative bloat for “community relations” and “DEI” instead of investing in students, staff and faculty of color; and
- Halt the hiring process for a UWPD Police Chief in Autumn 2022. There is no reason to hire a $200,000 / year Chief for a unit that should not exist and has been dysfunctional for years.
I invite the Board of Regents to hold President Cauce accountable for failing to heed the advice of our UW experts and rebuild community trust.