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University of Minnesota rebuilds relationship with police two years after George Floyd’s death
Minneapolis Police

Minneapolis Police Department has returned to providing security at large campus gatherings

Two years after the University of Minnesota stated it would cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the university affirmed its close relationship with the police department in Minneapolis, one of the cities it calls home.

“There was not and has not been any interruption or changes to day-to-day public safety efforts involving the [Minneapolis Police Department] and the [University of Minnesota Police Department] working together,” a university representative wrote in an a recent email to The College Fix.

“Two years ago changes were announced that were limited exclusively to specialized services and additional security staffing at large events,” the spokesperson stated.

Back in 2020, however, the university sought to de-emphasize its ties with the MPD.

“The University of Minnesota announced Wednesday it will scale back its relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department after George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man living in St. Louis Park, Minn., was killed by police on Monday,” Inside Higher Ed reported in May 2020.

“The university specified that it would no longer contract with the MPD for additional support at events, including football games, concerts and ceremonies, and will not use the department for specialized services such as K-9 explosive detection units,” according to Inside Higher Ed. “The relationship between the university and city police will be limited to ‘joint patrols and investigations,’ according to a letter from Joan Gabel, the university’s president.”

“As a community, we are outraged and grief-stricken. I do not have the words to fully express my pain and anger and I know that many in our community share those feelings, but also fear for their own safety,” Gabel wrote. “This will not stand.”

“President [Joan] Gabel cancelled the UMN contract with the Minneapolis Police Department to provide special event support,” according to a 2020 report by outside consultant Cedric Alexander, which also recommended creating a “committee to address historical trauma,” and “reimag[ining] policing” on and off-campus, The College Fix reported.

The Fix reached out to the Minneapolis Police Department to ask for comment on the university’s changing relationship with the police, but it has not received a response.

Minneapolis Police Department has resumed providing support at large events

Two years later, relations between the university and the city police seem to have improved.

“[University of Minnesota Police Department] contributes to joint patrols and investigations with MPD that directly enhance the safety of our community or that allow us to investigate and apprehend those who put our students, faculty and staff at risk, and that never changed,” according to the university representative.

The university also shifted this year toward re-enlisting the police for security at big campus gatherings.

“On Wednesday, the university announced that it will begin the process of reinstating its relationship with the local police,” Inside Higher Ed reported in August. “MPD will now provide security for major events, such as football games, and other services.”

The College Fix also reached out to the University of Minneapolis Black Student Union, Black Lives Matter, the UM Federalist Society, and the university’s College Republicans and College Democrats to ask whether they approved of the initial decision to minimize ties with police, whether they thought cutting ties with police in 2020 was a good idea, and how they feel about the university rebuilding its relationship with police. It has not received a response. 

MORE: Thirty-eight percent crime drop seen around University of Minnesota after police increase presence

IMAGE: Minneapolis Police Department/Facebook

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John Parker -- Syracuse University