December 3, 2021
  • 7:00 am Outstanding Professor Award Recipient’s Mic Drop Moment at Last Month’s Virtual Ceremony
  • 9:10 am Bookworms of the World Unite!
  • 7:46 pm Breaking News: All Students Living in Campus Housing Required to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
  • 9:00 am CSUDH Esports Creates International Competition
  • 9:35 am Spring Commencement Ceremonies Get Brighter
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  • 8:00 am Testing the Teachers (and All the Educators)
  • 9:30 am CSUDH Educators and School Employees, Vaccinated Next
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By Daniel Tom, Staff Reporter
Additional Reporting by Robert Rios, Campus Editor

The movement to defund, disarm, or even abolish the university police departments on California State University campuses is gaining momentum.

While there have been periodic calls to lessen the police presence on CSU and other campuses since at least 2015, including a drive launched in 2019 by Students for Quality Education (SQE),  the social justice protests that have taken the nation by storm since late May have accelerated the conversation.

Over the summer, the California Faculty Association (CFA), which represents all CSU faculty, released a report calling for changes in policing on all 23 campuses. That was followed by the CSUDH chapter of the CFA releasing its own statement calling for defunding and disarming university police on campus and redistributing resources to hire more tenure-track mental health counselors. 

And just last month, the CSU Abolition Network, a student-led group with faculty advisers, held its first campus-wide virtual informational session Sept. 30.

However, any attempt to defund CSU police departments would face resistance.

CSU Chancellor-select Joseph Castro recently said he does not support abolishing CSU police departments, and on this campus both President Thomas A. Parham and CSUDH Campus Police Chief Carlos Velez have shared similar sentiments.

“I am aware that currently there exists an anti-police sentiment throughout our country,” Velez told the Bulletin in an email last week. “I feel terrible that so many good men and women within law enforcement are painted with a broad brush when they have done nothing wrong.

“We all need to take a deep breath, relax a bit, and come to the table to calmly exchange ideas. If changes need to be made, then by all means we should collectively make them. Tossing out the current system and starting from scratch is not the answer.”

Defunding Doesn’t Mean No Police

The term defunding the police doesn’t necessarily mean cutting off all funding for police departments. On college campuses, it is allocating resources away from police departments to other areas on campus, such as mental health counseling.

According to a 2015 article on, “Almost all four-year colleges with more than 2,500 students had their own law enforcement agency during the 2011-12 academic year,” and “most of those officers can carry and use guns.”

Each of the CSU’s 23 campuses has a police department, according to the CSU website, “whose peace officers are sworn and certified by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. Each police/public safety department is charged with maintaining a safe campus environment by enforcing federal and state laws, CSU regulations, and the establishment of crime deterrence and prevention-related pr​ograms.”

 The primary purpose of those university departments is to service their campuses on everything from fender-benders in the parking lot to any crimes such as assault or theft.

However, most have jurisdiction over a 1-mile  radius around those campuses and have relationships with local municipal law enforcement agencies in case additional assistance is needed.

In  July, the CFA issued a report, “Anti-Racism and Social Justice Transformation Package,” that included a “set of demands” designed to “redress anti-Black racism in the CSU.” Among the demands were that the “CSU  divest from its relations with police institutions throughout the state, defund campus policing, remove armed police from our campuses, and join CFA in exploring community-based strategies as alternatives to policing that are based in community accountability and transformative justice.”

That report was followed by the CSUDH chapter of the CFA issuing a list of demands to CSUDH President Parham.

Those demands included defunding and disarming campus police and ending any partnerships with local law enforcement agencies. 

There has been no official response from the president’s office to those demands, but in an April 2019 interview with The Bulletin, Parham did say that the presence of police is vital to a safe campus. 

“I want to make it clear, crystal clear, that we can’t [ensure a safe campus community] without the local police officers,” Parham said.

From the Bulletin Archives,

April, 2019

Unlike the CFA, the CSU Abolition Network, which held its first campus-wide meeting Sept 30, is not an official organization with organized campus chapters. 

It has no website and while there are CSUDH students who are part of the network, all declined to comment on this story.

At its September virtual meeting, titled “Understanding Abolition,” the organizers,  Alejandro Villapando, an ethnic studies professor at Cal State LA and Dylan Rodriguez, a professor of ethnic studies at UC Riverside, covered aspects of abolishing and defunding campus police departments.

Tomorrow, Oct. 16, the abolition network is hosting a live discussion centering on campus policing, featuring CSU and UC scholars. Dr. Akhila Ananth, a criminal justice professor at Cal State Los Angeles and the co-author of a 26-minute video  “Policing the People’s University,” will be one of the scholars.

CSUDH Students Mostly Quiet So Fair

While there has been no apparent organized movement among CSUDH students to press for defunding or disarming campus police, that isn’t the case at some CSUs. For example, in June, a petition calling for disarming police, cutting its budget in half and redirecting those resources to Black students, was signed by more than 1,300 students, faculty and alumni at San Jose State. 

On the same day of the CSU Abolition Network’s meeting, CSU Chancellor-select Castro was asked about CSU policing during a virtual press conference with student media.

He said he was open to dialogue about police, “vowed to do his research” and look into how campus police departments receive their funding.

However, he said that “campus police would not be removed.”

“We need to have public safety officers in order to protect our facilities and the people who are here, and I know some campuses are not occupied by large numbers of people, but that can also be a time when others who might want to do bad things could take advantage of that opportunity, so to speak,” Castro said. 

“So I do believe that we need to fund our public safety officers. And I also believe that we need to fund our basic needs initiatives.”

CSUDH University Police Chief Carlos Velez is aware of the outside pressure mounting on-campus police departments. At CSUDH, he said, ensuring “peace of mind, as well as transparency” are the two main goals of his department.

That is why, Velez said, all sworn officers wear body cameras and patrol vehicles are equipped with in-car video systems.

Velez said that CSUDH’s officers are authorized to enforce all federal, state and local laws and that it works closely with the Carson station of the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

“They would be the first agency to assist us during a campus emergency where we required additional resources. We also train with them and have had multiple active shooter training exercises on campus.”

Velez also said that just as the campus at CSUDH is a community, his officers are part of that community.

“There is no reason to be fearful,” Velez said. “Police are a part of the campus community and are here to protect and to serve.”



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