Students call to abolish TUPD

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Josh Jessiman | Photography Editor

Domenic Mesa, Contributing Writer

Josh Jessiman | Photo Editor

Tulane and Loyola University students organized at 6400 Freret St., where McAlister Drive meets Percival Stern Hall to march in protest of the Tulane University Police Department on Aug. 31. The march followed a number of allegations against TUPD and was part of a larger conversation against police violence worldwide.

“TUPD officers are just NOPD in a slightly different uniform,” a caption under the first post on the AbolishTUPD Instagram account said. “They are required to work for NOPD before they work for TUPD. They still have full arresting power and Tulane loves to make students feel like TUPD is a ‘chill version of NOPD’ but they’re not. TUPD is absolutely capable of this violence.”

Elana Bush | Photo Editor

The protest organizers called for a student walkout at 1 p.m., with the march to follow at 1:45 p.m. The group, AbolishTUPD, calls for the immediate abolition of the TUPD. Per the AbolishTUPD Twitter page, “Abolishing TUPD is an important project … both for the liberation and healing of our campus and also our community.” Furthermore, AbolishTUPD advocates for the obsoletion of all prisons and police departments around the country. Beginning on Freret Street, the protestors made their first turn down Broadway Street, eventually making a left on St. Charles Avenue, heading to Audubon Park.

The protest yielded upwards of 150 attendees. Protestors had a wide array of personal reasons for marching, but many of them were inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. 

According to the protest organizer, this was “a very good turnout.” 

When asked if she could tell TUPD one thing, one protestor responded, “For them stop putting Black people, Black students, Black workers, Black anybody in positions where ultimately it will result in their death or harm. I’m tired of them exploiting us.”

“The safety and security of our campus community is always a top priority and our police department plays a vital role in those efforts,” Mike Strecker, executive director of public relations at Tulane said. “The department focuses on community policing, where our officers strive to work hand-in-hand with the campus community. At the same time, we acknowledge the pain and suffering felt by Black people and other people of color regarding police brutality and the long history in our country of intolerable abuses. We need to come together as a community and work collaboratively toward finding solutions to make Tulane a more diverse, equitable and just community.”

When the protestors arrived at Audubon Park, they turned onto the grass, to listen to speakers from the community. They were quickly met with a security guard, however, ordering the crowd to vacate the park. 

The protestors refused to disperse until all their speakers were given the opportunity to speak.The protest ended soon after the police arrived. The organizers urged the attendees to practice safety, and leave the park in groups. 

The AbolishTUPD instagram page can be found here

Elana Bush | Photo Editor
Elana Bush | Photo Editor
Elana Bush | Photo Editor