DePaul students again protest university’s affiliation with Chicago police

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Nika Schoonover

Protesters take a knee near the Lincoln Park Quad.

On Saturday, June 28, DePaul University students gathered at the school’s Lincoln Park campus to protest DePaul’s involvement with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).

The protest was organized by DePaul Student Abolitionists, a coalition of students and organizations that denounce DePaul’s connection with the Chicago Police Department.

“It was less rooted in specific organizations at DePaul and more so, especially because of coronavirus, different students who are available and able to show up at campus,” said Students Against Incarceration member Annie Scoltock.

The FOP is the largest association of police officers in the U.S. and represents 330,000 officers nationally. DePaul has worked with the Fraternal Order of Police since 2016 to help law enforcement officers earn bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

The FOP endorsed Donald Trump in 2016 and issued an advisory for the president’s first 100 days in office. In accordance with those demands, Trump’s administration reversed the ban on private prisons, reinstated civil asset forfeiture and ended DACA crackdown on sanctuary cities.

Fae Robertson, a DePaul senior, spoke at the rally and led the group in chants. She spoke about the DePaul Cohort Program which allows FOP officers to receive a 25 percent tuition discount.

“If those students do well enough, they can get their education and tuition reimbursed by the school and the city,” Robertson said. “That means DePaul University pays back 25 percent of their tuition and the city pays back the other 75 percent.

Senior Fae Robertson speaks to the crowd. (Nika Schoonover)

Olivia Hamer, a member of Students Against Incarceration, spoke at the rally about what she defines abolition as.

“If I see it simply as a way of driving something out but then not coming to put something back in place of that,” Hamer said. “Then I just don’t see a way to end these cycles that have made extreme and deadly inequality a part of life that people in power try to fund and try to protect.”

The DePaul Student Abolitionists ask that DePaul reallocates its resources towards Black and Brown students.

“Right now, right here, we want to contribute to this long-term vision of abolition,” said Hamer. “By cutting ties with the Fraternal Order of Police and, for once, investing in the education and support of Black and Brown students on campus and incarcerated students.”