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'Cops Off Campus Coalition' kicks off 'Abolition May' as professors across the country vow to cancel classes in support of movement

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Professors across the country have vowed to cancel class and enable students, teachers, and other school personnel to strike in protest against campus police presence, according to Campus Reform.

What are the details?

The outlet on Friday reported that a grassroots organization dubbed the Cops Off Campus Coalition organized the "National Day of Refusal" and has asked "students, professors, and faculty members to pledge to be absent; from work, class, teaching, and more' on that day."

The organization, which states that it is "committed to abolishing police on campus" planned the strike for Monday.

Several hundred students, professors, and supporters have pledged to participate and signed a petition calling for area campuses across the country to remove any and all police presence.

At the time of this reporting, the petition in question has received more than 31 full pages of signatures.

A portion of the petition pledges:

I pledge to absent myself from work, class, teaching, and more on Monday, May 3, 2021, as part of the national Day of Refusal to demand cops off campus.

As a member of a campus community, I am horrified that — amidst a global pandemic, relentless state and vigilante violence against black, brown, and Indigenous people, and national calls for abolition — schools across North America have committed to increasing police budgets.

College police forces are increasingly militarized, and I support the nationwide call to demand cops off our campus to make our university truly safe and free for all, and I will not cross the picket line.

The petition demands:

1. We want ALL cops off of ALL campuses.
2. We demand the Land back
3. We demand investments in community safety and education

The protest is just one aspect of the group's "Abolition May," which the group describes as a "month-long series of actions on campuses across Turtle Island to demand the removal of ALL campus police."

The month, according to the organization, will kick off its month of activism with Monday's nationwide day of refusal.

"The month's actions will culminate on May 25, in commemoration of the anniversary of George Floyd's murder by members of the Minneapolis police department," the group added on its website.

The group also adds:

Inspired by tens of thousands of workers who have walked off the job to protest anti-black police violence in recent years, we take up the call for police abolition on our campuses, joining more than forty campuses across Turtle Island in demanding an end to campus policing. Historically and in the present, campus police departments have brutalized students and surveilled and assaulted activists while enforcing racialized campus borders; colleges and universities, both public and private, have also played a violent and continuous role in global U.S. policing projects.

The group also encouraged supporters to participate in other actions throughout the month, including, but not limited to:

  • Banner painting culminating in banner drop from highly visible buildings
  • Repurpose Your School's Cafeteria & Serve the Food to People in Need
  • Squat Your School's Residences & House Folks in Need of Housing
  • March to Your Chancellor's House & Let Them Know How You Feel
  • Redecorate your campus police station
  • Letter writing to send your demands to admin/alumni/donors
  • Teach-in with abolitionist speaker
  • Paint/print posters and wheat paste them across campus
  • Publish op-ed in campus/local newspaper amplifying the national group → should pair with a more visible action that operates outside of the “university's language"
  • Public “Town Hall" without admin
  • Can even symbolically invite your target, and have an effigy of them “present"
  • Bring in organizers & people from the community who have experiences with campus cops, etc.
  • Can be theatrically held outside admin buildings
  • Create memorial for victims of police violence, local and/or national
  • Zine distribution → should pair with a more visible action for political education
  • Mutual aid drive for people who need resources in the community surrounding your institution
  • Street puppet theater performance (e.g. targeting trustees, police, key villains)
  • Walking tour of past police/university violence in the community
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