April 12, 2018. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) had a protest outside of the University of Minnesota Parking and Transportation building. The building houses the UMN police department that is in charge of campus safety. A group of about 12 protesters stood outside the building to show support for disarming UMPD.
According to the Facebook event, the rally was to bring attention to gun violence against civilians by a militarized police force. The UMPD has 141 guns for a force of 55 officers. SDS sees this ratio as unacceptable for a campus of 52,000 students. As the campus warms up, crime rates also increase on the campus community. According to UMPD crime statistics have decreased by 35 percent over the last two years.
SDS handed out fliers with police in riot gear spraying protestors and intimidating assault style rifles. In SDS’s Facebook event and their distributed literature the Parkland shooting is invoked as a reason for police officers to be disarmed. SDS claims that the UMPD has 57 automatic assault rifles; like the ones used in the Parkland shooting despite the fact only one gun was used and it was not automatic. However, SDS claims that this is grounds not only to disarm, but to dismantle the police department at UMN that specially caters to the university community.
The University of Minnesota is the only university that is allowed by state law to have its own police department. SDS expresses discontent over the fact that the police department is specifically assigned the role to work with the university community. SDS would rather that UMPD be replaced by police who work for elected officials or those appointed by elected officials. Instead UMPD police officers who work for the university itself.
Students for a Democratic Society meets weekly on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. in Peik 315