Santa Barbara, CA – The University of California Santa Barbara student government unanimously approved a resolution demanding that university administrators disarm campus police.
Supporters of the resolution, which was passed by the Associated Students Senate on Feb. 27, claimed that having armed law enforcement officers on campus is “bad for student mental health,” and causes student to live in “perpetual fear and tension,” the Daily Nexus reported.
“It should never get to the point where a trained officer has to use their weapon in any sort of capacity to a student,” said student Ricardo Uribe, who authored the bill.
“There are a lot of non-lethal ways that a police officer can make sure that a situation doesn’t escalate,” he added.
The resolution saddled the student government’s president with the task of sending a letter to the university’s chancellor, explaining “the dangers presented by an increasingly militarized police force” on campus, as well as “the dangers police have posed to the student body in the past,” the Daily Nexus reported.
“Having the UC be armed is something that should not be happening, especially the UCPD,” Uribe said during the student government meeting.
There is no reason why police shouldn’t just use non-lethal tactics to stop active shooters or similar threats on campus, he said.
“It shouldn’t have to be the work of untrained civilians to de-escalate the situation,” Uribe added.
Student Ivana Cruz, who is also sponsoring the resolution, drudged up the 1970 Isla Vista Riot as evidence that police have “indiscriminately brutalized” students in the past, the Daily Nexus reported.
Cruz said that one student was “walking home from a liquor store” in the midst of the riots, when he “was violently arrested because the police mistook his handle for a Molotov cocktail.”
Uribe also complained that officers have been “over-policing” the university’s off-campus Halloween festivities, which take place in Isla Vista.
Just five years ago, six students were murdered and 14 more were wounded in Isla Vista during a massacre carried out by 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Rodger brutally stabbed his three roommates to death before he jumped into his car and took off across down, firing indiscriminately throughout the ensuing eight-minute rampage that only ended when he fatally shot himself.
It was unclear how the student government group plans to combat an active shooter on campus without an armed police force.
As part of the student government’s resolution, they have also committed to work to develop student services “which are not dependent on police intervention,” the Daily Nexus reported.
Having armed police on campus is “bad for student mental health, and it’s definitely going to affect the way that our ability to function as students works,” Cruz said.