Boston University student newspaper says it can fix campus safety issue by abolishing campus police


The editorial board of Boston University’s independent student newspaper has called for ‘outright abolishing’ campus police who have ‘egregious history and present of violence and racism’

Ridding the campus of cops would help address a ‘safety issue’ students face, a writer argues in the Daily Free Press opinion piece published December 8.

‘From their own public statements to their racist history and present, it is clear the BUPD [Boston University Police Department] is not designed, nor does it seem willing, to protect all students on campus,’ the piece says. 

‘Defunding this institution – or outright abolishing it – and creating new services in its wake that better address student and community needs may actually improve student safety.’

‘The BUPD has an egregious history and present of violence and racism,’ the article adds. ‘If we are to ever truly approach a safe campus, we cannot continue to rely on these racist police institutions.’ 

The paper’s editorial board joined a nationwide chorus of defund-the-police proponents who believe abolishing cops is the answer to ending systemic racism in the justice system.

Boston’s newly-elected Mayor Michelle Wu is among those seeking to school resource officers from classrooms seeking instead to expand restorative justice to end the ‘criminalization of students.’

Removing the Boston University Police Department would address a 'safety issue,' the piece said. 'Defunding this institution ¿ or outright abolishing it ¿ and creating new services in its wake that better address student and community needs may actually improve student safety.'

Removing the Boston University Police Department would address a ‘safety issue,’ the piece said. ‘Defunding this institution — or outright abolishing it — and creating new services in its wake that better address student and community needs may actually improve student safety.’

Boston University's independent student newspaper said in a recently-published editorial that students might be better off without its on campus police department

Boston University’s independent student newspaper said in a recently-published editorial that students might be better off without its on campus police department

The article referenced several examples of purported racist behavior dating back as far as 1972, when 42 black students in a petition complained of being harassed at the hands of Boston University security guards.

Boston University Police Chief Kelly Nee

Boston University Police Chief Kelly Nee

Its most recent example stemmed from October 15, when it said plainclothes officers ‘created a hostile environment’ while questioning students staging a small protest. 

It also cited the 1984 fatal shooting of an unarmed man – whose race was not noted – by a Boston University cop.

Boston University Police Chief Kelly Nee did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment, nor did Deputy Chief Robert Molloy or the university. The newspaper’s editorial board also did not immediately respond to an inquiry. 

Nee said in a Policeforum.org special supplement that campus police departments face more scrutiny than their municipal counterparts.

‘Our officers are expected to exercise a very high level of restraint,’ Nee said. ‘But if there’s a threat, they are Special State Police Officers and they’re very highly trained on use of force.’ 

 The BUPD has an egregious history and present of violence and racism. If we are to ever truly approach a safe campus, we cannot continue to rely on these racist police institutions.

Free Press editors argued that lessening police presence would help address a ‘safety issue’ threatening students.

‘This safety issue has nothing to do with a lack of campus security forces – Boston University Police and BU security staff – are distributed throughout our campus,’ the article says. 

‘Rather, our safety issue has more to do with the fact that these campus security forces – both explicitly and implicitly – are not designed, or willing, to protect the safety of all BU students.’

The article presented other resources as alternatives, including transferring money to a program that safely escorts students to their dorm rooms.

‘As many activists have pointed out, abolition requires that we create more community services that would address people’s needs and community safety,’ the article says. ‘To put it simply, you would always have someone to call – the number would just be different.’

Boston University president Robert Brown did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment. He had in 2020 announced the establishment of a community safety advisory group.

It was launched to ‘foster physical and psychological safety and security’ for all students, Brown said in a letter at the time.

The editorial board is the latest group to join a call to defund police forces. Pictured: Women dance together during a Coalition of Black Youth march from Nubian Square to Boston City Hall on June 10, 2020

The editorial board is the latest group to join a call to defund police forces. Pictured: Women dance together during a Coalition of Black Youth march from Nubian Square to Boston City Hall on June 10, 2020

The group, among other things, trains BUPD officers in nondiscriminatory, bias-free policing, he said. 

A primary area of focus is ‘fostering quality of campus life, inclusion, and a sense of physical safety for all members of the Boston University community, with an emphasis on the safety of students of color and other underrepresented, nontraditional, and societally marginalized communities on campus,’ the letter said.

The newspaper said the Boston University Police Department has an 'egregious history' of racism

The newspaper said the Boston University Police Department has an ‘egregious history’ of racism

Boston student groups have been outspoken for years in their efforts to end police-related racism both on and off campus. 

Students participated in last year’s peaceful protests stemming from several high-profile cases of police brutality, but have been calling for change long before it became a trending topic. 

They’ve joined protests of solidarity for other campuses impacted by police brutality, and been outspoken about on-campus incidents as well.

The newspaper cited an incident last April where a campus officer ‘wrestled a black man to the ground who they suspected had assaulted a student.’

The answer, the outlet concluded, was to find a different way of keeping campus safe. 

Meanwhile, Boston’s newly-elected mayor is continuing to call for the removal of police from public schools. 

Wu – who in November became the first woman and first person of color to hold the title – campaigned on the promise of keeping cops out of classrooms.

She maintained her stance even after the principal of Dr. William W. Henderson Upper Campus School was hospitalized in early November with a head injury and broken ribs after being attacked by a student. 

In her campaign manifesto, one of the pillars of her education plan was titled: ‘Ending the criminalization of students’. 

Michelle Wu, the newly-elected mayor of Boston, campaigned on the promise of keeping police out of Boston's schools

Michelle Wu, the newly-elected mayor of Boston, campaigned on the promise of keeping police out of Boston’s schools

Wu's campaign manifesto includes the pledge to 'end the criminalization of students'

Wu’s campaign manifesto includes the pledge to ‘end the criminalization of students’



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