Dear Chair Hinckley and members of the Board,
I’m adding my written testimony to what I can only anticipate is a chorus of voices asking you to not only listen, but take action and respond to our demands to disarm CPSO. After the killing of Mr. Jason Washington in the summer of 2018, Margolis-Healy’s assessment of the campus policing, and the critiques of their report raised by the campus community, I was disappointed by the presentation of the Holistic Plan for Campus Public Safety, presented at the October Board meeting. This seemed like another missed opportunity for the Board to respond to the concerns of the faculty, staff, and students of Portland State University.
I realize that Board members come and go, and you are not all the same members who voted for the initial arming of campus security officers in 2014. But you are all Board members now, in this moment when our national discourse is shifting and it’s much harder to overlook or misunderstand the institutionalized racism embedded within policing, including policing on PSU’s campus. I urge you to act in this moment, and respond to the calls that are coming from across campus to disarm PSU.
While I can only speak for myself, I think it is fair to say that much of our campus community is exhausted by this conversation. Many of us shared warnings with the Board in the fall of 2014, and we grieve with the family who is missing a loved one because our warnings were not heeded. Many faculty and staff fear retribution for speaking out; we fear for our jobs. Many students, who have been steadfast in their opposition to policing, too often fear for their lives.
It is long past time to disarm PSU.