Town hall meeting recap to decriminalize UWT

Photo by Leslie Gonzales Cruz | Town hall meeting at UWT

 Upon the town hall meeting that took place on Feb. 9 here are five demands in order to decriminalize UWT

After the deaths of Manny Ellis and George Floyd in 2020, the UWT campus started a conversation about defunding and divesting from the Tacoma Police. 

With the task force that was created by the chancellor to investigate gaps and problems to make changes, here are the five demands proposed to decriminalize UWT from the town hall meeting that took place in the William W. Phillip Hall on Feb. 9.

Demand No. 1: Stop using TPD to respond to referrals for welfare checks under the Safe Campus Program.

One of the recommendations the task force has received is to provide mental health first aid for students on and off campus with resources such as PAWS and MySSP.  

This demand will better help students who are facing mental health crises. It tells them how they can seek proper care on and off campus and what resources are available to them.

Demands No. 2 and 3: Stop using TPD for additional security for any campus event. Do not replace the TPD with any other armed law enforcement agency. 

A clear policy is being determined under what circumstances uniformed or armed police can be present on campus, while limiting police presence to what is legally required by the state, federal or city government. 

Notifications for students for when and why uniformed and/or armed police officers are on UWT campus are being developed to inform the campus community. 

To meet this demand, UWT campus safety and security are being trained to assist and properly handle situations on campus.

Demand No. 4: Publicly commit to not hiring former police officers with disciplinary records to UWT. 

Among this demand the set recommendations to follow through are to determine what types of disciplinary records are deemed problematic and work with HR and campus safety to attract safe candidates.

In the coming days, Chancellor Sheila Edwards Lange and the vice chancellors will be meeting and discussing with the new Tacoma Police Chief, Avery Moore, about expectations for the TPD while on campus. With UWT agreeing, former police officers with disciplinary records will not be hired. 

Demand No. 5: Publicly commit to never inviting CBP or ICE to campus for any reason. 

This demand states that for in person career fairs, law enforcement agencies are being requested to not be armed or uniformed and for law enforcement coming to campus uniformed and/or armed to have an alternative venue.

For students who are interested in law enforcement, a meeting between career services and student affairs will be held to structure career fairs that may involve law enforcement agencies. 

UWT has agreed to meet these demands and recommendations in efforts to decriminalize the campus. If you would like to watch this townhall in full, it is available on the UWT website in the Office of the Chancellor section under the tab “About the Chancellor”.  In the upcoming weeks, on March 7, 2022 another town hall will be held in the William W. Phillip hall at 12:30 both in person and live stream at 12:30 p.m. for a campus update. 

https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/chancellor/town-halls-campus-updates

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