Campus police forces are not immune to broader injustices in US law enforcement, and these injustices intersect with core AAUP concerns over shared governance and academic freedom. That’s why I agreed to serve on a working group charged with drafting a report on the role of police on campus.
We looked at the appropriateness of higher education institutions’ having their own police forces and considered the impact of systemic racism on campus policing—as well as the role of campus police in perpetuating systemic racism and inequities. We found that campus police forces have expanded and militarized at an alarming rate, and that there are clear tensions between the AAUP’s core values and the existence and function of campus police forces.
Our goal is to encourage and enable AAUP chapters to work in coalition with other publicly minded groups to transform campus safety into something more just, accountable, and effective, up to and including reorganizing campus safety in toto. Accordingly, we recommend changes needed to ensure that campuses are safe and welcoming for diverse peoples—especially those who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color—and provide tools for chapters to use when assessing the state of policing on your campus and organizing for change.
—Megan Horst, Portland State University
Chair of AAUP Campus Police Working Group