CFA’s Alternatives to Campus Policing Efforts
Since announcing the alternative to campus policing taskforce last year anti-Black violence and violence in general continues to rise. At CFA the urgency to reimagine safety and justice on our campuses is escalating. We have various ways for members to engage. Below is an overview of what we’ve achieved so far, and the work ahead.
Why Alternatives to Campus Police are Necessary
I) Why CFA’s work challenging anti-Black racism and centering racial and social justice leads directly to our campaign to create alternatives to campus police
CFA is a labor union rooted in intersectional principles of anti-racism and social justice (ARSJ). The work involved in our ongoing transformation has taken place over many years, and in 2015, CFA’s representative body voted to formally commit to this transformative process. In 2020, CFA issued our Anti-Black Racism and Social Justice Demands, which included this demand:
“CFA demands that the CSU divest from its relations with police institutions throughout the state, defund campus policing, remove armed police from our campuses, and join CFA in exploring community-based strategies as alternatives to policing that are based in community accountability and transformative justice.”
In 2021, we joined the growing call in the labor movement to end police associations, which are not labor unions. Along with their racist, anti-Black roots, police associations have a long history of suppressing strikes and being anti-worker. Read our resolution here.
Given the racist and settler colonial roots of US policing, CFA’s commitment to anti- racism and social justice has led us to organize for alternatives to policing on our campuses. We vigorously challenge the racist abuse our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) colleagues and students routinely face at the armed hands of police, from racial profiling to being violently removed from a campus building to having the campus cops called on a Black faculty member by an annoyed colleague. Meanwhile when Black students, such as David Josiah Lawson, are the victims of violence in their campus communities, campus police are uninterested in addressing it, much less preventing it.
Our ARSJ work addresses structural racism, and we thus seek to change policies and practices such as policing that only reinforce anti-Black, racist, misogynist, and sexual forms of violence.
(II) What we have accomplished, so far: AB 1997
During our most recent negotiations, CFA’s Bargaining Team repeatedly called on the CSU to fund mechanisms for conflict resolution rooted in restorative justice and to explore alternatives to armed policing on our campuses. Faced with the CSU’s recalcitrance, CFA sponsored legislation to study alternatives to policing in the CSU, urged our members to advocate for it, and ultimately got AB 1997 signed into law. Although the CSU has as of this writing failed to convene the “stakeholder workgroup” AB 1997 requires, CFA’s Alternatives to Policing Committee has been meeting for several months, as we understand that getting cops off campus will only happen if we educate each other, create racially just visions for campus safety, and organize!
Shifting the dialogue on our campuses, with our students, and within our union
CFA members are everywhere! We participate in shared governance as well as union organizing. We have helped to shift the dialogue on policing on campus within our Academic Senates, and faculty are increasingly concerned with the underfunding of counselors while campus police are as plentiful as they are menacing.
We are also listening to students’ demands. Students for Quality Education (SQE) has launched a “No Harm, Disarm” campaign, and several Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) student governance bodies have passed resolutions demanding reform or outright abolition of campus police, including at Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Fullerton, San Francisco State, Cal State Northridge, and Cal State LA, with some Academic Senates beginning to follow students’ lead. Within CFA, we have done the work of educating ourselves through Equity Conference presentations, workshops on police abolition, and ongoing study and struggle.
(III) The work ahead…
CFA’s Alternatives to Policing (ATP) Committee knows that a tremendous organizing effort lies ahead of us, and we are undaunted, as we know we cannot have racially and socially just campuses free of institutional anti-Blackness with armed police acting as occupying forces.
- We will continue to press Acting Chancellor Koester to convene the stakeholder workgroup on Alternatives to Policing, as mandated by the law (AB 1997).
- We will support CFA chapters in leading the organizing on their campuses in various ways, such as: (1) assisting with information requests about police budgets; (2) supporting the formation of conversation circles about building alternative visions to public safety on campus, and more.
- We will promote various efforts to transform ourselves and our campuses, such as the upcoming podcast episode covering alternatives to campus police on the “Building Justice” podcast being produced by Sacramento State faculty on alternatives to policing. Stay tuned.
What you can do…
- Get involved with your CFA chapter leadership team in creating spaces to dialogue and organize on how to reimagine safety and justice on our campuses.
- Send us your stories of contact with police, either on or off campus – as we know that our campuses and communities are connected. Email your narrative to Audrena Redmond (email@example.com), and let us know if you’re willing to record a video testimony, too.