Campus police look on as a crowd forms in the Quad over a religious demonstration at Cal State University, Fullerton on Oct. 22, 2018. Photo by Riley Mcdougall, The Daily Titan

In the wake of nationwide protests against racism and police brutality, colleges and universities are taking a hard look at their own policing practices. University of California student activists are calling for UCs to abolish or reshape their in-house police departments, and the Peralta Community College District recently voted to end its contract with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. Some campuses are announcing more gradual changes to the way they ensure safety, such as shifting some responsibilities to unarmed security guards or mental health counselors.

Do colleges need their own police forces? If so, what changes are needed so that departments are responsive to the community, and students of color feel safe on campus? If not, what might replace them?

CalMatters’ College Journalism Network and KQED hosted a discussion with students and administrators about how we rethink the role of police on campuses. This event happened on Wednesday, April 21. You can watch the recap and watch the event here.


  • Ja’Corey Bowens, Associated Students of San Francisco State University
  • Joseph Farrow, chief of police, UC Davis
  • Kimberly King, psychology instructor, Laney College
  • John Pérez, chair, University of California Board of Regents
  • Dylan Rodríguez, professor of media and cultural studies, UC Riverside
  • Naomi Waters, UC Student Association

This event was co-presented by KQED. Higher education reporting at KQED and at CalMatters is supported by generous grants from the College Futures Foundation.

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