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“I Wish That MSUPD Did Not Exist,” Says ASMSU Representative

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

"The discussion of the bill soon turned to a lecture on breaking police stereotypes and provided a safe space for ASMSU representatives to openly decry their resentment of the police."

Author: Grant Layle

Michigan State University’s student government met on Dec. 6 to debate passing legislation regarding community policing.

The Community Policing Bill was proposed by Eli Pales, the former Vice President of Governmental Affairs.

Pales argued that while the MSU Police Department (MSUPD) has done an effective job at protecting communities, rather than prosecute minor and harmless offenses, more

can be done within MSU’s campus.

Prior to the discussion, Lieutenant Chris Rozman from the MSUPD presented before the General Assembly to talk “Unity through Community Policing.”

After the presentation, several ASMSU representatives agreed that the MSUPD needed to put more effort into reaching out to students.

However, others in the assembly voiced their concern that a larger police presence would threaten students and target minorities.

“More police involved in the community is not a good idea,” said Lauren Pepper, a representative for the college of Veterinary Medicine.

“More police involvement in social problems makes social problems,” Pepper said.

The Vice President of Governmental Affairs-elect, Maysa Sitar, elaborated on Peppers position saying, “minority communities don’t feel comfortable with the police, and I think we should call on the police to change that.”

There was an amendment proposed that specified the extent of student disapproval, but was shot down on the grounds that it may have an impact on the MSUPD's ability to do their job. This disapproval was made by Sitar, representative Ben Horne of Lyman Briggs, and representative Isaiah Hawkins of the Music College.

Uzair Bandagi, an ASMSU representative for the Muslim Student Association, steered the discussion towards the bill’s improper language, which assumed that the MSUPD should increase their involvement with students.

“While I wish that MSUPD did not exist, I recognize that they aren’t going anywhere … why don’t we also later work on more bills for advocating for the police to go through more implicit bias training,” asked Bandagi.

The discussion of the bill soon turned to a lecture on breaking police stereotypes and provided a safe space for ASMSU representatives to openly decry their resentment of the police.

Students thought differently than some of their elected ASMSU representatives. “It certainly sounds like a nice bill,” Hannah Sullivan told The Morning Watch. “I’ve never felt over-policed...I think they do a pretty good job of keeping us safe while also giving some trust to the students.” Sullivan is a freshman studying astrophysics.

“MSUPD is more of a traffic monitor than a police force...the general fear of the MSUPD makes sense due to certain powers they have over on-campus residents,” Jake K. told The Morning Watch.

“Some residents may not feel a sense of privacy and freedom...whether they are doing wrong or not.” Jake K. is a sophomore studying political science.

“I can’t believe that students would want to make the job of a police officer more difficult,” said Chrissy Clark, Editor-in-Chief of The Morning Watch. “The police that these students are whining about are the same police that keep their campus safe and allow them to live their privileged lives as college students.”

The bill was ultimately passed at a vote of 24-12.

Following the vote, several ASMSU representatives commented that this was not the last of the policing discussion.

Contributor: Grant Layle

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