San Jose State University to reevaluate campus policing with help of new task force

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose State University announced the creation of a task force on campus safety and policing to reevaluate policing on the college campus.

The largest college in the South Bay announced the creation of the task force in a blog post Wednesday by University President Dr. Mary Papazian.

The task force is likely a response to a petition created by 10 faculty members demanding the university police budget be cut in half and for those resources to be reinvested to promote the well-being of Black students on campus.

The petition now has more than 1,300 signatures from members of the SJSU community including faculty, staff, students, alumni, and residents who live nearby the campus.

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Nikki Yeboah, an assistant professor at the university, penned the open letter and started the petition alongside nine other faculty members.

"I realized when the larger movement was happening around police violence that our campus was also implicated. And we needed to address that," Yeboah said.

A campus spokesman confirmed to ABC7 News the University Police Department currently employs 26 armed campus officers, down from 32.

The president's blog post on the creation of the task force said in part, "The task force will select an external reviewer to support and guide the work and offer recommendations for reform, such as new models of safety and policing, new training protocols, policy revisions or redistribution of resources."

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Yeboah said she commends the university for responding but worries the task force, only slated to be in operation from September to December 2020, may not be comprehensive enough in scope to solve issues of campus safety and longstanding issues of racial disparities.

"We can imagine how long the systemic issues of racism have been on our campus," Yeboah said, "So to think that a three month task force will address the issue I feel like misses the mark."

You can read the university's full statement here.
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