The 21st Show

Campus Police: Threat or Protection?

 
From left to right: Latrel Crawford, William Burke, Leojae Bleu Steward, all seniors at the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus, are advocating for the defunding and abolishment of the University of Illinois Police Department, saying the officers target students of color.

From left to right: Latrel Crawford, William Burke, Leojae Bleu Steward, all seniors at the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus, are advocating for the defunding and abolishment of the University of Illinois Police Department, saying the officers target students of color. Lee Gaines/Illinois Newsroom

Students at the University of Illinois’ Urbana and Chicago campuses are calling to defund the campus police department following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Activists say police on the Urbana campus have for years targeted students of color  and that the $8 million annual budget for the University of Illinois Police Department could be better spent on mental health and other services for students. Campus police officers, however, say they’re a necessary part of college life — that they protect both university property and the people who make up the university community. 

Click here to read the series of reports by Illinois Newsroom Education reporter Lee Gaines about campus policing

In addition to Gaines, The 21st spoke to an University of Alabama professor of criminal justice and U of I professor whose research focuses on racism and policing to speak more about the complexities.

Guests:

Lee Gaines, Education Reporter for Illinois Newsroom, WILL  

John J. Sloan, Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice for the University of Alabama at Birmingham 

A. Naomi Paik, associate professor — research and teaching focuses on racism and imprisonment, policing, and immigration issues at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Prepared for web by Zainab Qureshi

Help shape our coverage on The 21st by joining our texting group and answering weekly questions. To join, text “TALK” to 217-803-0730 or sign up with your phone number below: