BALTIMORE — As Johns Hopkins University continues to push for a private, armed police force to patrol it’s two Baltimore campuses, some of its students are continuing their own fight against such a proposal.
A group of protesters gathered on the University Parkway campus to tell the General Assembly that the students are still against a private police force.
“Today we’re hoping to show both Johns Hopkins students and affiliates, and residents, have been and continue to be against this proposal,” said Evan Drukker-Schardl, a junior at the school and one of the organizer’s of Wednesday demonstration. “We know that the process that Johns Hopkins has gone about has not involved students or community members even in the way Johns Hopkins has claimed. We want to make clear that Johns Hopkins creating a police force would be an unaccountable action that regular people can’t have a say in and that it could impact the lives and safety of people of color on our campus and in the surrounding communities.”
The protest was organized by Students Against Private Police, a coalition of more than a dozen student groups against a private police force.
Students say they don’t want a private force for many reasons, like a lack of transparency and community engagement, selective usage of crime data by university administration, and the corruption in the Baltimore police department.
Of particular concern is how this potential force may interact with the school’s minority students, or with neighboring residents. If the force is employed by the school, it is effectively accountable to them, the students argue, leaving a lack of accountability with the larger community.
“Safety is an issue in Baltimore, but I think that creating a private police force simply is not the answer to the question of how do we keep our community safe,” Drukker-Schardl said. “A Johns Hopkins private police force is simply not the answer.”