By Joseph Garcia —
The University of Louisville’s Black Student Union released a statement on May 31 calling for U of L and the University of Louisville Police Department to discontinue its partnership with the Louisville Metro Police Department. This comes after days of protests in Louisville for the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.
“The relationship between ULPD and LMPD was described as ‘fruitful,’ and while that may be the case in regard to ‘safeguarding the assets of the university’–that is not the case when it comes to students, faculty and staff,” BSU President Maliya Homer said. “Nothing about being in closer proximity to state sanctioned violence makes us any safer.”
ULPD Police Chief Gary Lewis said the relationship between the two departments has gone back as far as the 1970s.
“As the years have gone by, the personnel strength of ULPD has grown which has enhanced the ability to handle all law enforcement related duties on our campuses,” Lewis said.
One of the resources Lewis said the partnership with LMPD provides is the Real Time Crime Center, or RTCC. “Information gathered can be shared with law enforcement agencies across all of Jefferson County, to include ULPD,” Lewis said.
The student union is also calling for the university to rename the Overseer’s Honor’s House. Homer told the Cardinal she called for the renaming because the word “overseer” was once used as a term to refer to the middleman in plantation hierarchy.
U of L Director of Communications John Karman said the word is being removed from the building’s name.
“The University changed the name of its Board of Overseers last year to the President’s Council for the same reason,” Karman said. “Overseers is being removed from the Honors House name.”
“We’re demanding that the university respond with the same swiftness that they protected the ‘Free Speech Zone’ for people not affiliated with the university to taunt and harass students, staff and faculty for hours on end,” Homer said.
U of L has yet to respond to the BSU’s demands; however, Karman said the university and ULPD are aware of the BSU’s demands and are currently reviewing them.
“We will not settle for a flippant response filled with superfluous excuses and platitudes–we deserve so much more than that. Breonna deserves so much more than that,” Homer said.
File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal