Over the past few weeks our campus has been engaged in an important discussion regarding the presence of the New York City Police Department in everyday campus life.

Brooklyn College doesn’t want police using campus bathrooms via @nypmetro another anti police campus with no common sense. Active shooters, acts of terrorism on campuses and now remove the police. Maybe it's time people get what they ask for.

— SBA (@SBANYPD) November 20, 2017

This was accelerated by the incendiary
article published in the New York Post
on 20 November 2017.

This article lacked any factual base
and only served to inflame a discussion
that should remain within our
campus community.

Any discussion of the NYPD's presence in CUNY and on our campus must be firmly rooted in its historical context. This context includes the stationing of 100 officers on our campus as an occupying force in 1969...
(source: Brooklyn College Library Archives)

and the violent handling of student demonstrations in the 1990s
(source: Memorandum of Understanding)

and in May of 2012. (source: Take Back Brooklyn)

In addition to the undercover
officer, Mel, who was embedded
without just cause, in Muslim
students’ lives between March 2011
and January 2015.

(source: Gothamist)

The reality this history has created for Muslim students and students of color is one of great anxiety that affects their physical health and their ability to meet their full academic potential. We understand that you have inherited this issue from a predecessor who failed to make a public statement condemning the NYPD's actions. As a result, the past two years have seen the case come to an uncomfortable close, provoking sustained anxiety in students who are attempting to recover from the trauma. This state of anxiety is exacerbated by the frequent, casual presence of the NYPD on our campus. This presence also opens the possibility for the undue criminalization of students.

It is your duty to ensure that students feel safe on campus. In doing so, you make it possible for students to achieve their full academic potential. Your recent statement reaffirmed your commitment to a relationship with law enforcement, but we ask you to reaffirm your commitment to Brooklyn College students. We submit to you this first step for improving the lives of vulnerable students and fostering open, productive dialogue on our campus.

We, the undersigned students, request that lines of dialogue be opened between your administration and the student body at large. We request a town hall-style meeting be held in April of 2018 in Woody Tanger Auditorium. You and other members of your administration, including the Director of Public Safety, Donald Wenz, would be able to hear direct student testimony on this pertinent issue. Together, we can then figure out how to move forward productively given the historical as well as present contexts.


“Everyone likes the idea of a neighborhood police officer who knows and respects the community and can tell who the good guys and the bad guys are. Unfortunately, this is a mythic understanding of the history and nature of urban policing. What distinguishes the police from other city agencies is the legal authorization to use force. Their primary tools of problem solving are arrest and coercion.”

“While inadequate training and supervision may have played a role in some recent high-profile incidents, the fact remains that the massive criminalization of communities of color is being carried out using ‘proper procedures.’”

“We have to take steps to dial back our reliance on the police as the primary tool of resolving neighborhood crime and disorder problems.”

We Don’t Just Need Nicer Cops. We Need Fewer Cops by Professor Alex Vitale

How do we ensure public safety w/o police? Check out this list on alternatives to policing
(via tumblr)

  1. Alternatives to Police (PDF) by Rose City Copwatch (2008)
  2. Alternatives to the Police by Evan Dent, Molly Korab, and Farid Rener
  3. The Avant-garde of White Supremacy by Steve Martinot and Jared Sexton
  4. Broken Windows is On Hiatus: Community Interventions We Can Enact Now for Real Justice by Hannah Hodson
  5. Can We Build an Anti-Policing Movement that Isn’t Anti-Police? by Radical Faggot
  6. Citizens, Cops, and Power: Recognizing the Limits of Community by Steve Herbert
  7. Feeling for the Edge of your Imagination: finding ways not to call the police
  8. A New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Call the Police by Mike Ludwig
  9. Not Calling the Police by Prison Culture
  10. Origins of the Police by David Whitehouse
  11. The Other Side of the COIN (PDF) by Kristian Williams.
  12. Policing is a Dirty Job, But Nobody’s Gotta Do It: 6 Ideas for a Cop-Free World by Jose Martin
  13. Policing Slaves Since the 1600s by Auandaru Nirhan
  14. The Shanti Sena ‘peace center’ and the non-policing of an anarchist temporary autonomous zone: Rainbow Family peacekeeping strategies (PDF) by Michael Niman
  15. Stop Kidding Yourself: The Police Were Created to Control Working Class and Poor People by Sam Mitrani
  16. What Does It Mean to Be Anti-Police? by Alex S. Vitale
  17. We Don’t Just Need Nicer Cops. We Need Fewer Cops by Alex S. Vitale
  18. Where abolition meets action: women organizing against gender violence (PDF) by Vikki Law

brooklyn college belongs to us.

read the original text by martha biondi
special thanks to the students, educators, librarians, staff, and friends who helped.