Bates College students will hold a rally on Friday, calling on college officials to “defund and disarm” campus security officers.
This comes after the college took away batons from campus security officers after a security guard allegedly used excessive force to discipline a student.
The rally was arranged by the Bates Leftist Coalition, which describes itself as “dissenting leftist & anti-capitalist voices at Bates,” on its Twitter account. The group is seeking to “reemphasize [their] ongoing commitment and persistence to the work of disarming, defunding and reimaging” the Campus Safety Department, according to the Portland Press Herald.
The rally is scheduled for 1 p.m., and organizers hope it will shed light on the deeper concerns about community policing that have become a point of contention both on the Bates campus and around the nation.
Last month, a petition circulated by the Bates Leftist Coalition asked college officials to divest money from the Campus Safety Department and to revoke the use of handcuffs and batons. It garnered support from more than 500 people, and campus officials responded by removing the use of batons from campus safety policy.
However, Josh McIntosh, vice president for campus life, told the Portland newspaper that security officers would still be authorized to use handcuffs, because they were “meant to restrain people in a genuinely threatening or violent situation.”