Stop the militarization of Washtenaw Community College!
WCC Trustees need to hear from taxpayers opposed to the madness of wasting a half million dollars on a new campus police department. Two trustees who were elected last fall—Milliken and Davis—might be persuaded to form a majority with DeVarti and Hatcher in order to vote NO.
We just voted in 2016 to renew the WCC millage for education, not militarization. The school needs to hire more counselors and more full-time faculty who can stay on campus and help students succeed.
The College will hold two public hearings and they need to hear from lots of us by mail or at the hearings.
Tuesday, April 25, at 6 p.m. in the Morris Lawrence Building board room will be the first hearing. The second will be on May 23.
There is no support for this proposal from the faculty, staff, or students. The main impetus comes from the College administration, who are freaked out about a shooter incident that occurred in 2015 at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. VP for Student Services, Linda Blakey, claims she has been threatened by a student. There is no evidence that this was serious, or that police response was necessary. The majority of Trustees have been fooled into believing that only an armed police presence will protect these administrators. Nobody has considered sending them for training in conflict management or aikido instead.
Nor is there any evidence of a violent crime problem on the campus. There have been a handful of robberies—a car in the parking lot, a pedestrian at night near the woods. Armed police would not have prevented these.
Last year we fought a similar proposal that would have hired four armed Sheriffs. We got two WCC staff to accompany Trustee DeVarti to a conference in OR where 13 community colleges in that state had hired a security firm to advise them on prevention. The recommendations did not include armed police. Rather, all solutions pointed to more counselors for depressed and alienated students, and better security technology, such as remote locking of classrooms and GPS locator maps for all classrooms, similar to the system now used by Washtenaw fire departments.
We thought we had the Trustees convinced to drop the Sheriff plan. Students and faculty launched a strong campaign against police presence. Apparently the Trustees did not get the message.
WCC already spends $1 million a year on security, and the campus is peaceful. WCC is right next to the Sheriff’s Department and has a contract for Sheriff services when needed. Four armed cops mixed with a student body that is diverse, includes 3,000 veterans, many parolees and convicts, hundreds of non-English speakers—what could possibly go wrong?
Here are the WCC Trustees to contact to voice your opposition to this nonsense: