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Georgetown University activists fight effort to arm campus cops, say it would endanger minorities

Student group hosted no-whites-allowed ‘community dialogue’ about arming police

A coalition of student groups at Georgetown University, along with the campus newspaper’s editorial board, have come out opposed to the arming of campus police officers, claiming that the move could endanger minority students at the school and that an armed police presence would “increase the probability of a gun related tragedy” there.

Georgetown United Against Police Aggression, a group composed of more than 30 student organizations including a campus pro-abortion group, several LGBT associations and the Georgetown Young Democratic Socialists, wrote in an open letter on Facebook to university President John DeGioia that the school would “threaten the safety of its workers and students” by allowing its police force to carry firearms.

The letter comes nearly two weeks after another Georgetown student group, GU Advocates for Responsible Defense, petitioned DeGioia to let campus police to carry firearms, urging the president to allow school law enforcement to practice “deterrence, prevention, and, as a last resort, interruption, using lethal force.”

In its recent letter, Georgetown United Against Police Aggression told DeGioia: “By seeking to fulfill the demands of these few students, the administration would simply threaten the safety of its workers and students.”

“If the administration decides to fulfill the demand to arm GUPD…they would be exhibiting a blatant negligence toward the safety of Georgetown community members, especially those of color,” the statement continues.

The students claim to have uncovered “a number of incidents that attest to racial profiling and abuse of power” by Georgetown University’s police force, though the letter cites no specific incidents.

The letter also mentions two shootings on other campuses by university police: that of Charles Thomas at the University of Chicago and Scout Schultz at Georgia Tech.

Body cam footage revealed that Charles Thomas was shot after he charged an officer with a long metal object in his hands. Video of the shooting of Scout Schultz, meanwhile, showed that he approached police after repeatedly being told to “drop the knife” he wielded. The Washington Post later reported that Schultz had called the police on himself, likely intending to commit “suicide-by-cop.”

In addition to its letter, Georgetown United Against Police Aggression recently held a no-whites-allowed “community dialogue” in a campus building.

“All of us have a story about GUPD. All of us know someone who has been targeted. Let’s do something about it,” the event’s Facebook post reads, adding: “for the safety of students of color, allies are not welcome to attend this preliminary dialogue.”

“Allies” are individuals who align themselves with various identity groups and causes; in this case, “allies” of students of color would be white students.

Georgetown United Against Police Aggression did not respond to requests for comment from The College Fix via Facebook message.

In addition to the student group, the editorial board of The Hoya, the campus newspaper, also came out in opposition to arming Georgetown police.

“Arming campus police officers would not improve campus security and could make the Georgetown community less safe; further, to introduce guns is to heighten fear among students of color,” the board wrote, citing several statistics that purport to show disparities in police treatment of racial minorities.

Reached for comment via email, GU Advocates for Responsible Defense member T.J. Collins told The Fix that he was “disgusted by GUAPA’s attacks on GUPD and law enforcement in general.”

Saying that he was “gravely disappointed that some students have decided to make campus safety a racial issue,” Collins wrote: “I find it puzzling that neither GUAPA’s letter nor The Hoya Editorial Team’s article make any mention of how Howard and [the University of the District of Columbia], both [historically black colleges] in DC, have armed police.”

“GUARD will continue to fight for improving the safety of all students, and we will bring about meaningful change,” Collins added.

Following GU Advocates for Responsible Defense’s petition, university spokesman Matt Hill told The Fix that the school was “reviewing” the request.

“Our top priority is the safety and security of our community and we are constantly working to prevent violence and ensure the security of our community,” Hill said at the time.

MORE: Howard University group occupies building, demands campus police disarm

MORE: GWU students: Campus police protection an ‘act of violence’ — because cops support Trump

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