You’ve got to give props to the University of Chicago.
This is the same university that re-committed not to banning hate speech, but to free expression and discourse, pointing out that in seeking truth it’s better to hear more information, not less. Now the college has taken a very practical approach to protesters who are upset about the school’s private police force, which is one of the largest in the country.
The protesters, part of the CareNotCops group, want the funds used to support the force, which maintains some semblance of order on an urban campus in Chicago, to be redirected to social programs. To make their point, they protested outside the campus police building on Friday, June 12, then eventually filed inside.
Organizer Kosarachi Achife said:
“It’s not just the idea of defunding police. We have snacks, we have water, we have people on standby to bring food, we have tents that will be coming soon to house people — we are showing that we do not need police to keep each other safe and keep each other cared for.”
Campus authorities, including the police, allowed them free movement, then dozens of the protesters announced they were taking over the building in a sit-in.
Campus police locked the doors promptly at 5:00 PM at the close of business, only allowing people to exit, locked the bathrooms, denied entrance for water and pizza delivery, and every hour reminded the protesters inside they were required to practice social distancing. The last bit had the side effect of keeping the protesters up all night. The protesters claimed they were being denied the basics required for life.
The administration responded with a statement at 7:15 PM:
“No one has or is preventing you from leaving the building.”
More protesters showed up outside with supplies, but they were not allowed inside. On Saturday morning, Campus police Chief Rainey agreed to meet with protesters during office hours the following Monday. The protesters left mid-morning without incident.