Following a firm statement from the school president that campus police would not be abolished, student activists at Northwestern University are standing behind their demands that the campus police should be disbanded immediately.
On Saturday, the activists—who have dubbed themselves “NU Community Not Cops”—trashed several buildings and other surrounding properties by breaking windows and spraying graffiti, including the Northwestern Police headquarters and a local Whole Foods, according to The Campus Fix.
The vandalism included “F**k 12,” “ACAB,” “Abolition is the Solution,” and “other anti-capitalist messages,” according to The Daily Northwestern.
The vandalism included “F–k 12,” “ACAB,” “Abolition is the Solution,” and “other anti-capitalist messages” according to The Daily Northwestern.
Additionally, there was a banner with “We’re N This Together” printed on it that was set ablaze by protesters at the school’s Weber Arch. The arch was also defaced with messages like “More dead pigs,” “F**k UCPD,” “Suck my dick,” and what appears to be the Arabic word for “Allah,” according to The College Fix.
During the demonstration, comments from NU Community Not Cops activists included “This is the first time [I’ve] felt supported by wealthy White students,” and “When I say Evanston [NU’s hometown] is the most racist place I’ve ever lived, I’m not exaggerating.”
Though participants in the event had committed crimes, some of them had the audacity to complain of “harassment” when people took “unwanted” photos. One man stood at the opposite street corner holding an American flag.
The Saturday protests ended at Northwestern President Morton Schapiro’s house where a NU Community Not Cops leader told the crowd: “Do not forget what abolition is. Yes, it means no cops. Yes, it means no law enforcement.” Police would apparently be replaced by community members “hold[ing] each other accountable.”
Schapiro forcefully responded to the activists in a Monday email, stating Northwestern has “absolutely no intention” of dismantling its police presence on campus. He also blasted the antics of NU Community Not Cops during the Saturday demonstration(s).
“I condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the overstepping of the protesters,” Schapiro wrote. “They have no right to menace members of our academic and surrounding communities.”
Schapiro reportedly said that protesters calling him a “pig” had bordered on anti-Semitism and is a “longstanding trope against observant Jews.”
Schapiro went on to say that those who have broken the law “will be held accountable”:
If you haven’t yet gotten my point, I am disgusted by those who chose to disgrace this University in such a fashion. To those protesters and their supporters who justify such actions, I ask you to take a long hard look in the mirror and realize that this isn’t actually ‘speaking truth to power’ or furthering your cause. It is an abomination and you should be ashamed of yourselves.
As a wealthy white man, Morton Schapiro knows that he holds an immense amount of privilege that those facing impending threats of “personal attacks” do not, as he mobilized the police to do what they are meant to do — protect white property and white lives.
The activists doubled down on the charge that they had acted in an anti-Semitic way toward the president, apologizing to the Jewish community while saying that Schapiro was not exempt from their criticism:
False claims of anti-Semitism have been used throughout Northwestern’s history to shut down student activists, especially Palestinian activists, and to divide coalitions by falsely claiming that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Because of the pervasive myths of colonialism and white supremacy, we find ourselves having to repeat: anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. We continue to stand in solidarity with Palestinian liberation by our shared virtue of abolition.
A Tuesday tweet confirmed that NU Community Not Cops is a pro-Palestine movement, with the group tweeting: “we are for palestinian liberation and right of return. if that’s alienating the entire concept of abolition is alienating to you, do some research before you claim to be standing with us. we are PIC abolitionists including NUPD. not merely NUPD abolitionists.”
The Monday night Schapiro protest ended with pizza provided by NU Community Not Cops, and those who were black got first dibs: “Black people to the front. If you are Black, go to the front.”