Activists at the University of Chicago are hoping to abolish the local police department by instructing students not to alert law enforcement when crimes are committed.
UChicago United, a coalition of activist groups at the university, wrote in its annual "Dis-Orientation" guide that "a fundamental step to the abolishment of the police is the abolishment of the practice of calling the police."
"When we call the police, we are perpetuating the notion that there is no other alternative but to rely on them to resolve a wide range of conflicts or handle emergencies they are not trained to address," the coalition said, adding that calling the police can often have "dangerous consequences."
Welcome to the check-in counter for your Dis-Orientation Getaway Package! Get ready for the next four years at UChi… https://t.co/MZVFyIM14A— UChicago United (@UChicago United) 1600697558.0
According to the activists, some of the emergencies that police are not trained to handle are theft and harassment.
In a compiled list of "tips" for de-escalating situations, the activists advise students in this way:
1. Pause and assess: Let's say you see someone stealing. Are you or anyone around you in any danger? Don't prioritize defending private property ... over ensuring people's safety. If no one is in danger, move on. Are you experiencing fear or discomfort? It's important to distinguish between being genuinely concerned for your well-being and feeling uncomfortable. It is also equally important to identify if these feelings of discomfort are a result of prejudice or internal biases.
2. Communicate: If someone around you is disturbing others or having a crisis, ask them if you can speak to them in a private setting to prevent the situation from escalating. Ask them if they are okay and whether there is anything you can do to help ...
3. Ask for help: Sometimes we aren't able to handle a situation on our own, and that's ok ... Is there someone around that you and the person you are with can both trust to handle the situation without calling the police? ...
Elsewhere in the booklet, UChicago United suggests that it has become "increasingly clear" that police in America "serve to protect only the most rich and privileged" and "terrorize the most vulnerable and marginalized."
But it's not just the police that terrorize minorities and serve the wealthy, the university itself is "a racial-capitalist, imperialist, colonial, heterosexist institution that is guided by white supremacist curriculum and and need to accumulate capital — no matter the cost."
According to its Facebook profile, UChicago United is a "coalition of multicultural student organizations formed to make the University of Chicago campus more inclusive for students of marginalized backgrounds and identities." They reportedly have been partnering with #CareNotCops, another local organization dedicated to abolishing the local police department.
The College Fix, who first reported on the story, reached out to both the activist coalition and to the University of Chicago's media relations office about the group's booklet, but neither have replied.