For the new school year, AU’s Housing and Residence Life made several updates and changes to dorm buildings to provide more safety for the students living in dorms. These policies include 1) the new swipe and show the system to monitor who comes in and out of dorm buildings, and 2) the new lockout process which replaced temporary cards. What this means is instead of desk receptionists providing students with temporary cards to get students back into their dorm rooms when they lock themselves out, now AUPD performs the new lockout process, which involves AUPD unlocking students' dorm rooms during the day. This new policy was supposed to give students a “reality of the real world,” while invoking responsibility in students to not forget their “keys” at home. But what reality is this?
The reality is an increase in policing around dorms is making students frustrated, mad, and nervous, especially Black and Brown students. Police present on campus present challenges for Black and Brown students where they have to sacrifice their comfort to be able to access their dorm again. Historically and even today, armed police on campus results in Black and Brown students being disproportionately arrested and punished, creating fear within Black and Brown students in their interaction with a cop. Due to this, Black and Brown students report feeling less safe around police officers.
Junior Ameerah Adetoro said, “This is an ignorant decision made by the AU’s housing and life directors. There is a historical tie to police brutality and the Black and Brown community and to think that increasing contact of AUPD with Black and Brown students is just crazy. This school claims to be woke but in the end, does the complete opposite.” Ameerah continues and says, “ It was only a year ago when a Black student on campus had a negative interaction with AUPD, and to think Black and Brown students won’t be anxious about their interaction with AUPD is just shocking.”
Senior Karissa Frederick said, “Given the notorious history of police brutality, it makes me nervous to know that campus police have easy access to my living space. It makes me uneasy.” Karissa continues, “I honestly don’t know why there needs to be a case for the direct involvement of police when it can be handled by an RA or a desk receptionist that isn’t controversial, especially in the Black and Brown community.”
This is the reality for Black and Brown students.
So why does the Housing and Residence life think increasing the AUPD present within the dorm is the sanest and safe choice for students?