10/10/2014: Of course I’m not talking about UO. Our debate consisted of Frances Dyke lying to us and the state legislature about how it would save money. Now Portland state is considering doing the same. Their administration is a little more honest than Johnson Hall and estimates the cost at $1.5M a year. Melissa Blinder has an excellent report in the Oregonian, with many disturbing quotes from UO students:
Before Patrick Kindred walks the quarter-mile to class on chilly days, he considers what could be an important question: To wear a hoodie, or not to wear a hoodie?
It’s not because the temperature is unpredictable. It’s because he’s black, and there are now armed police officers patrolling the University of Oregon’s Eugene campus.
Kindred said he’s terrified of police, and housemates at his predominantly black fraternity share his concerns.
“We talk about it. If we’re in a group, how man of us will there be? What are we wearing?” said Kindred, a 22-year-old native of Portland.
Now, male African American students at Portland State University say they worry they’ll face similar issues if the urban university proceeds with creating its own sworn, armed police force.
… Phil Zerzan, Portland State’s chief of campus public safety, said he doesn’t understand why minority students worry about being profiled if his department transitions to a sworn police force.
The university would have control over hiring, training and holding officer’s accountable, he said. The force would be integrated with the university’s resource centers and would be subject to the school’s equity policy.
Zerzan said Portland State has an opportunity to get policing right.
“How about not having racist cops?” the chief said. “How about having a culture and an organization that doesn’t allow that?”
10/8/2014: Time to get rid of University Police Departments
“For Safety’s Sake”, in the Chronicle, here. UO’s Mike Gottfredson gave our police guns, a wildly inflated budget, let them get away with the “Bowl of Dicks” list, and then did his best to keep them out of the loop about the basketball rape allegations. Chief McDermed didn’t even know the EPD investigation was done until she read about it in the RG. Now two Criminologists propose eliminating university police entirely. Their argument? You can’t trust university administrators with this kind of power:
Overlooked in the debate about whether colleges are pursuing sexual-assault allegations seriously enough, however, is the fact that college police departments are often responsible for investigating crimes that occur on, and sometimes even off, the campus. No other American institution enjoys the power to create and maintain a police force. Not even Fortune 500 companies or your local public high schools have the legal authority to create their own standing police departments, with full arrest powers and a slew of weapons, even armored personnel carriers.
That is a problem, because campus police departments are under the immediate control or influence of college administrators. This relationship compromises the hallmark principles of American jurisprudence: objectivity, fairness, impartiality, due process, and, most important, freedom from political interference in matters of law enforcement.
In fact, some of the biggest changes in American policing have been those dislodging police departments from the corrupting influence of political control. Yet on American campuses, political control of campus police departments—control often extended to presidents, provosts, even deans—is normal and expected.