“As long as ACPD is armed, Black students will not be safe.”
The student activists who oppose this are actually framing it as a racial issue.
The College Fix reports:
Amherst College police force to remain armed, student activists unhappy
During an end-of-March virtual town hall, the Amherst College chief of police indicated his force would not accede to student demands to disarm.
This did not sit well with student activists who have demanded police disarmament since last year, The Amherst Student reports.
The Reclaim Amherst Campaign, with the support of the Association of Amherst Students, had released “a broad set of priorities” which would transform Amherst in order to “nurture […] an environment that is beneficial and responsive to its non-white students.”
The document states “As long as ACPD is armed, Black students will not be safe.”
At the town hall, ACPD Chief John Carter noted that after the death of George Floyd, his department conducted a thorough review and was found to already be in compliance with Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission standards. These include a ban on the use of chokeholds and the expectation that bystanders speak up in instances of (police) excessive force.
However, Carter said, “Amherst College doesn’t exist in a bubble” — its campus police will remain armed as the “continued concern about hate violence and interpersonal violence has not abated.”
“If anyone watches the news anymore,” Carter added, “you can see that the danger from aggressive folks around hate crimes, active shooters and other violence still exist on a regular basis.”
Carter said Community Service Officers (CSOs) would be used for “non-police related functions” such as patrols in academic buildings and for residence hall calls.
Association of Amherst Students President Jeremy Thomas responded to Carter by renewing AAS’s call for disarmament of the ACPD, and for a doubling of the number of counselors in the Counseling Center.
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