Minneapolis, MN – A group of University of Minnesota students has demanded that administrators disarm the university’s police force.
Approximately eight members of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) group staged a silent protest outside the university president’s office on Friday morning, Minnesota Daily reported.
In addition to their demands about disarming the University of Minnesota Police Department (UMPD), the student group also called on the university to increase their efforts to recruit more students from minority communities.
“This is essentially a reminder that we expect these demands to be met,” protest organizer Jackson Bianchi told Minnesota Daily.
The group referred to the demonstration as a “study-in.”
During the event, the students ate donuts and worked on their studies while sitting next to a sign that read, “DISARM UMPD.”
“I have a midterm in half an hour,” student Etienne Magdalen explained. “I agree with the resolutions [from SDS], I just have to balance social justice with school.”
“The goal is to occupy space…to keep it chill and study,” another protest organizer, Jack Nimz, told Minnesota Daily.
The SDS posted footage of the sparsely-attended event on its Facebook page.
“We're here at President Joan Gabel's office to demand that the University increase diversity and disarm the UMPD!” the post read. “Since winning our All Campus Elections referendum last spring, we have seen no action by adminstration to implement our demands, so we're here to sit, study, and occupy space to show that we're not going anywhere! We will win our demands!”
This isn’t the first time the SDS has pushed to disarm the UMPD.
In April of 2018, the student group held a “Disarm the UMPD!” event to demand “justice for the murder of Stephon Clark,” according to the event Facebook page.
“The police have shown that they are not trustworthy,” the page declared. “Issues of gun violence, and action on gun control is well overdue. This conversation however, cannot go forward without the discussion of limiting the weapons of the police.”
“There is no reason that officers need a firearm on them at all times,” the SDS argued. “There is no reason that the UMPD needs 141 guns for 55 officers, a ratio of 2.5:1. Furthermore, the fact that 57 of these are assault style weapons is absolutely absurd for a force whose job it is to police students.”
The group further asserted that having armed officers on campus makes students feel “unsafe.”
“Especially minorities who are disproportionately affected by police violence,” the page read.
Students claimed that the UMPD has become “obsolete” due to the “mere existence” of other nearby law enforcement agencies, including the Saint Paul and Minneapolis police departments.
The SDS also alleged that the university’s police force “spends $500,000 per year on new arms and supplies,” Minnesota Daily reported at the time.
Approximately 15 people attended the 2018 event, according to Minnesota Daily.