University Senate passes resolution to improve training of future law enforcement officers

Dania+Brett%2C+University+Senate+Administrative+Analyst%2C+holds+a+sign+that+says+%22I+stand+with+our+black+community%22+outside+the+Black+Resource+Center+on+the+afternoon+of+April+15%2C+2019.+

Kaitlyn Little

Dania Brett, University Senate Administrative Analyst, holds a sign that says "I stand with our black community" outside the Black Resource Center on the afternoon of April 15, 2019.

by Devin Whatley, Arts & Culture Editor

On June 4, the San Diego State University Senate unanimously approved a resolution to address the training of campus police officers and law enforcement across the nation.

This comes in response to the global protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville and many others at the hands of police. 

The resolution allows for new programs for law enforcement officers centered around race relations and policing, according to a campus-wide email. The programs will be offered at little-to-no cost through SDSU World Campus. 

The email also stated the resolution requires every criminal justice undergraduate student to take a course on race-relations, criminal justice and policing.

The course will address violence from people in authoritative positions towards those in the black community. 

The changes go into effect this summer.

“I think that this (resolution) is very important,” Associate Professor and Chair of Africana Studies Adisa Alkebulan said. “This is something that I think is really historic, I don’t think there’s anything like this that has ever been attempted in the past. Now, it is definitely the time to do it.”

The resolution marks the first time the University Senate enacted an Expanded Senate Executive Committee meeting to discuss one topic.

Director of Public Affairs Sherry Ryan said the approval of the resolution shows how the criminal justice and public affairs faculty can make curriculum changes quickly to respond to important events affecting their field.

“My criminal justice and public administration faculty had to react quickly,” she said. “I think we responded to that call and I’m really proud of my faculty for doing that and taking this so seriously.”

During the meeting, senate members denounced the recent acts of violence towards the black community. 

The University Senate also called for other colleges nationwide to require coursework for those looking to enter into the field of law enforcement. 

“The hope is that we will inspire law enforcement officers but also universities across the country to do something similar,” Alkebulan said. 

Vice President of Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Office J.Luke Wood said the coursework can prepare officers to better uphold the value of black lives.

“What it means is that black lives matter,” Wood said. “It’s our senate recognizing that if we truly believe that, then that necessitates action, and within our realm, this is the way we manifest that action.”

For Ryan, by taking action with this resolution, the hope is for the community to have positive healing.

“I would say that taking action kind of sets the stage for positive healing,” she said. “Many of our faculty know the best way to do this is through talking, sharing and being together. I suspect as we develop this course in the certificate programs through World Campus, setting the stage for healing is going to be a big part of that curriculum change.” 

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