Fordham University: Cut Ties with the NYPD

Fordham University: Cut Ties with the NYPD

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Evan Allen started this petition to fordham university

On Saturday, Fordham University’s president, Father Joseph M. McShane, issued a statement on the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, in which he asserted that in America, Black people “live lives of relentlessly hostile scrutiny, and they have been telling us so since the ink on the Thirteenth Amendment was barely dry.” He then urged the Fordham community to recognize that “the situation in which the nation now finds itself is one that requires us to engage in an honest examination of conscience and consciousness so that we can be what God wants us to be.”  With this in mind, we believe that Fordham University must immediately cut all ties with the NYPD, an organization that consistently engages in the relentless hostile scrutiny of Black New Yorkers that the president condemns in his statement.


In recent days there have been countless reports of NYPD officers repeatedly brutalizing peaceful protestors.  A video surfaced of officers driving SUVs into crowds of people; another of an officer violently shoving a woman to the ground.  Officers were heard over the NYPD scanner calling for violence against protestors, urging other officers to “run them over,” and to “shoot those motherf****rs.”  Peaceful protestors have been tear-gassed, beaten, shot at, and wrongfully arrested by police officers looking only to incite more violence.  Yet none of this is new.  In 2012, an NYPD officer shot Akai Gurley in the stairwell of an apartment building where he was getting his hair braided, killing him.  In 2013, Kyam Livingston died after 13 hours in NYPD custody, despite repeatedly pleading for medical assistance.  In 2015, Eric Garner was murdered by the NYPD after being put in an illegal chokehold.  His last words, “I can’t breathe” repeated eleven times, are hauntingly familiar to protestors today.  How can Fordham justify a relationship with an organization that has such an extended history of unchecked violence?


As a predominantly white institution in a borough where Black and Latinx people constitute the overwhelming majority of residents, Fordham is in a position to use its privilege to call for positive change in the community.  Fordham places a strong emphasis on providing a welcoming and diverse environment for its students; any partnership with the NYPD would only serve to undermine and endanger such an atmosphere of inclusion.  Many members of the Fordham community are directly affected by police violence both in New York and around the country; to give the NYPD any place at all at our university is to deny these people justice.  In a statement on Wednesday, the university asserted that “the plight of Black and Latinx people here in our borough and across the country is heartbreaking and unacceptable.  Despite our ongoing and current efforts, we understand that Fordham by itself can never address every ill nor meet every need, yet we can--and will--do more.”  We call on Fordham to follow these words with action and cut ties with the NYPD given the clear violence they continue to inflict on Black and Brown communities.

 

The precedent has been set: following George Floyd’s death at the hands of the MPD, the University of Minnesota cut ties with the department almost immediately.  Fordham now has the historic opportunity to follow suit. Our campus will undoubtedly be a safer place for all of our students of color and our Fordham community as a whole.  Fordham’s Jesuit values call for us to be “men and women for others,” and that starts with taking a stand against the systemic violence and racism that is at the foundation of the NYPD.  Fordham must end all involvement immediately.

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