Case Western Reserve Univ. to Drastically Reduce Operations During RNC
The university’s decision to host police officers on campus during the Republican National Convention sparks outrage and fear among students following the shooting deaths of two black men in Minneapolis and Louisiana.
Students at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland had strong reactions to the announcement that armed police officers would be staying at the campus during the Republican National Convention.
Police brought in to maintain order and security during the convention, taking place July 18-21, will stay at the school in the residential halls at CWRU as well as other campuses in the city including Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Community College and Notre Dame College.
Students expressed concern for their safety, especially for minority and “marginalized” groups, with an increased police presence on campus, according to Cleveland.com. The reaction follows the shooting deaths of two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana and the national dialogue about armed forces and race relations that has followed.
“The institutionally-sanctioned presence of militarized police forces in an educational environment is unacceptable and contributes to the creation and maintenance of a gendered and racialized space, physically, socially and psychologically unsafe for persons belonging to marginalized groups,” wrote Andrew Stark, one of 300 students to sign an online petition about the decision.
The petition cited demands that “riot police” store their weapons off campus between shifts, restrict themselves to residence halls and abide by university rules regarding anti-discrimination and sexual harassment. Some students asked to receive alternate housing during the week of the convention.
“I am scared and concerned for students of color, queer and trans students and all university community members at the mercy of an arbitrarily expanded police force without clear oversight or attachment to the community,” wrote another petitioner, Shannon Groll. “Please protect CWRU as a safe space for all bodies.”
The university has been forced to reduce operations for the week. Classes will be help off campus and students staying on campus for the summer will receive alternate housing.
“In simplest terms, this decision means that every school and unit has been asked to minimize the number of people on campus, as well as the number of its campus buildings that are open,” the school’s campus-wide newsletter says.
Notre Dame College went further in alerting neighbors of its South Euclid Campus of 300 security forces staying on campus during the RNC. A spokesman for Notre Dame, Brian Johnston, says there will be officers with “riot gear, SWAT-type vehicles and 25 motorcycles.”
Talks about hosting officers for the RNC began about six months ago. Students on both campuses were notified a few weeks ago.
CWRU President Snyder apologized in an email to the students who were upset by the university’s decision to host officers.
“In answering the city’s convention request, we failed to give adequate consideration to the impact the decision would have on members of our community-in particular students staying in residence halls near the buildings housing the officers,” said Snyder.
More than 1,700 police officers and 200 members of the Ohio National Guard will be housed during the convention.
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