Being and feeling safe is crucial to any learning environment. Students who are part of marginalized communities are unfairly targeted by campus law enforcement and survivors of sexual violence are getting less support from their campuses.
Title IX Changes
The Trump administration has made sweeping changes to Title IX protections. Within these changes, it now requires colleges to hold live hearings and allow cross-examination when adjudicating sexual-misconduct complaints. The new regulations also will narrow the scope of complaints that colleges are required to investigate. These reforms discourage students from reporting sexual assaults and loosens accountability for universities to protect their students. These new policies could be detrimental to progress is access to resources and support for sexual assault survivors. Universities must continue the current process and protections for their students.
Campus Police Reform
Many larger campuses have their own police or security forces. Too often students and campus visitors are unfairly and unjustly racially profiled and/or the victim of excessive use of force by campus officers. Student activists can retrieve data on the budget for these forces through a request to these police or security offices or file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Activists can work to reallocate funding away from these forces and into resources like the Mental Health Centers.
Students can also advocate for the establishment of strong civilian police oversight committees for their campus. These committees are also known as citizen review boards or civilian review boards. They are a chartered body of students, staff, faculty, and community members dedicated to reviewing police conduct through citizen oversight. This form of police accountability often gives the broader non-police community a medium to voice concerns and provide criticism of law enforcement operations of their campus police departments. Unsurprisingly most campuses do not have a mechanism in which citizens can file complaints against the police or security force. Complaints can be filed with the police oversight committee, investigations can be held, and sanctions can then be imposed.
Campus police and security forces should also adopt the policies demanded in the 8 Can't Wait campaign:
1. Ban of Chokeholds and Strangleholds
2. Require De-Escalation
3. Require Warning Before Shooting
4. Require Exhausting All Alternatives Before Shooting
5. Duty of Intervene
6. Ban Shooting at Moving Vehicles
7. Require the Use of Force Continuum
8. Require Comprehensive Reporting