The chief of Brown University’s Department of Public Safety has resigned amidst calls from students to “defund” the campus police department. Former Public Safety Chief Mark Porter served for more than fifteen years at the university.
According to a report by Campus Reform, Brown University’s campus police chief recently stepped down after months of anti-police activism from students. Although it is unclear if former police chief Mark Porter’s resignation is a response to recent protests, at least one student leader on campus has suggested that there is a link between anti-police activism and Porter’s resignation.
One student group called Grasping at the Root argued that the university has created “harmful conditions” that actively oppress minorities living on and near campus. According to the group, Brown is the only private college in the state of Rhode Island at which campus officers have arrest powers.
“Brown University must confront the ways it contributes to the harmful conditions that leave Black, Brown, poor, LGBTQ+, immigrant, and disabled Rhode Islanders vulnerable to predatory policing, both on and off-campus,” the group wrote in a statement. “Brown University is the only private college in the state where campus security employees are sworn police officers with arrest powers. Brown serves as a ‘private’ extension of the carceral state, directly contributing to antiblack policing practices in Providence.”
Emma Rae Phillips, president of Brown University Students for Trump, said that she supports her university’s police force. She argued that police officers at Brown are regularly subjected to a hostile environment that has been cultivated by student activists.
“I’m personally so thankful for the campus police at Brown who assisted me last fall for an issue that otherwise could have been quite scary,” Phillips said. “I don’t know if their negative attitudes led to his resignation, but I can imagine it must be quite difficult to be in that position when the students you’re protecting are running around chanting ‘ACAB.’”
Breitbart News reported in November that students at Brown University have demanded the removal of Roman statues, arguing that they represent “white supremacy” on campus.
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