Temple University, Defund Temple Police Department and Cut Ties with PPD

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The following is a summarized version of the letter we will be sending to Temple University's President, Richard Englert. We encourage you to read the full letter here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/185NbJJBSMGwbIFTf8UtgJcRZSL5U0Qr317c01Kos7Rg/edit

Dear President Englert,

We appreciate that you expressed a willingness to address racism and police brutality in your June 7 email to the student body. However, we are disappointed by your dismissal of the many calls for Temple to end its partnership with the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD). We disagree that policing serves the “best interests” of the Temple community. The reforms you advocated for in your email are not enough to respond to the urgency of this moment and the proven dangers of policing in our communities. We ask you to rethink your position and work to end police violence: (1) End Temple’s partnership with the PPD, (2) Defund the Temple Police Department and (3) Create a committee of community members, students and faculty to determine which programs to support with safety funds.

End Temple University’s partnership with the Philadelphia Police Department

The PPD has a long history of police violence and racism, including the horrific MOVE bombing, unconstitutional stop and frisk practices and racist social media posts. Just this month we all watched PPD tear-gas protesters and brutalize a Temple student. This consistent racism, violence and harassment alone warrants severing Temple University’s partnerships with the PPD. 

Defund Temple University’s Police Department

The most recent comprehensive report on campus police departments found Temple University to have the largest campus police force in the country. With over 130 sworn officers, Temple University Police Department is one of the biggest police departments in PennsylvaniaData from 2015-2017 shows that Temple police spend significant energy, not keeping students safe, but policing the surrounding neighborhood for petty offenses. This means that many residents of North Philadelphia are policed twice over, by two of the largest forces in the state.

Create a committee of community members, students and professors to determine which programs to support with reallocated funds.

There are many things that Temple University could do with its significant Police Department budget that would increase safety for both students and the larger North Philadelphia community. For example, the community-based violence prevention program that Temple launched in 2013, Philadelphia Ceasefire, was seemingly effective until it lost out to more punitive measures like focused deterrence policing. 

As members of and contributors to the Temple community, we want to see Temple at the forefront of the movement towards defunding police and imagining more peaceful  and effective ways of responding to harm on our campus and in our communities. This is why we call on you to end Temple’s relationship with PPD, defund the Temple Police Department and finally invest in safety programs supported by our community.