Students for a Democratic Society march for community control of UMPD

On Friday, SDS and community activists called for the creation of a Campus Civilian Police Accountability Council.


Emily Urfer

SDS Member Nadia Shaarawi addresses a gathering, advocating for community control of UMPD, outside of the Transportation and Safety building on Friday, Oct. 16. The SDS event began with speakers and ended with a march to Morrill Hall.

Ava Thompson

Around 40 people attended a march for community control of the University of Minnesota Police Department organized by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) on Friday.

Before the march began, protesters gathered in front of the UMPD building to discuss the issue of police presence on campus. Students then marched on Washington Avenue before heading to Northrop Plaza for closing statements from organizers and an open mic for protesters.

SDS organizers called for the disarming and defunding of UMPD and are working alongside other students groups, such as UMN Climate Strike and the Black Student Union, to establish a Campus Civilian Police Accountability Council (CCPAC) that would give students, workers and community members full control of UMPD. Establishing a council would allow community members to determine the allocation of funds and dismiss officers for misconduct.

“It’s exciting that students want to show up and show out for community control. This protest in particular was really impactful for us because we were able to bring in more community members outside of the students that attend this University,” said Olivia Crull, a member of SDS.

Several community activists spoke at the rally, including Sumaya Aden, the sister of University student Isak Aden, who was killed by police last year during a SWAT operation that included officers from Bloomington, Burnsville, Edina and Eagan.

Sumaya Aden told the protesters about her experience with UMPD during a moderated community conversation with Gov. Tim Walz at an event hosted at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in February. UMPD forcibly removed protesters after a verbal exchange with Walz and the moderator of the discussion. Once in the lobby, protesters continued to demonstrate when UMPD detained and handcuffed Aden, video footage captured by Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar showed.

“We have officers running around on campus arresting people to use them as an excuse to get people out of a location that they don’t want them at. It’s not acceptable. It’s an abuse of power,” Aden told protesters. “I wasn’t doing anything illegal, but they take me and put me in the squad car to get out of the building.”

In a closing statement, SDS member Eric Dorland explained why the organization is fighting for a CCPAC and how it benefits the community.

“In short, [a CCPAC] allows people to decide exactly how they want the police to function and allows people to take public safety into their own hands in a system that has
disenfranchised them since its beginning,” Dorland said.

SDS has been especially vocal in its efforts for a CCPAC and the defunding of the police since the police killing of George Floyd in May.