Police violence against Black people is not new, nor is it restricted to any one state in our country. It is deeply rooted in the institution itself, and that is what must be changed.
Despite this, Oregon State University plans to move forward with the creation of an armed police force on campus.
Those who trust this decision argue that OSU is doing the best they can, following contractual termination with the Oregon State Police. But trust in policing has been, and will be, broken again and again. Historically, we’ve witnessed police eschew rules and act as judge, jury and executioner. Historically, communities have demanded civilian review boards and better training for police, but these have been ineffective or done away with over time.
Why should we think the same reforms would work now? To prevent history from repeating itself, to protect Black lives, we need to implement real systemic change. And the surest way of reducing police violence is to give power back to the community.
Reallocating funding from campus police to Black studies and mental health resources is one step we can take toward achieving this goal. Taking steps such as these will make OSU a truly antiracist institution.
It’s not just protesters nationwide calling for institutional change now, it’s OSU students and faculty. We urge OSU to listen to the needs of its most marginalized community members and the Disarm OSU campaign. We can do the work.