In response to the unwarranted deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmuad Arbery and countless other African American men, women, children, trans men, and trans women, students across the nation have stood in solidarity with the communities and families of those who directly experience racial injustice; students across the nation have marched and peacefully protested against these injustices, against police brutality and for police accountability; and students across the nation have opened the conversation to the even larger disparities within our criminal justice and law enforcement systems. Students today are now standing in solidarity and with a passion to create positive change within our own community in Bowling Green, Ohio.
The Undergraduate Student Government is grateful to work and partner with the Black Student Union. Likewise, we support the work the Black Student Union does on our campus in efforts to promote diversity, inclusion, and political awareness. As student organizations whose mission statements include representing students of all identities on our campus, we collectively believe it is important, now more than ever, to uplift the voices of the black community at Bowling Green State University and within the Bowling Green community. We commit to this shared mission and all that follows in making sure student voices of all identities are heard and accepted in our community.
In President Rodney Rogers’ email to the University Community on May 31st, he mentioned that “…it will require us to take action based upon a common and shared vision for what we wish our own community to be. Together, we must meet this moment head on, and build bridges and be committed to change using a process of shared respect and an honest willingness to listen, learn and evolve as a community.” We could not agree more.
Today, the Black Student Union and the Undergraduate Student Government are announcing action steps that we can take to advance in building a more welcoming, accountable, and inclusive Law Enforcement environment within Bowling Green, Ohio. We are requesting that the following Action Steps be put into motion by Bowling Green State University and the City of Bowling Green, without delay, for both the Bowling Green State University Police Department and the City of Bowling Green Police Department with help and guidance from student representatives, community leaders, university leadership, and city leadership:
1. Requiring both the Bowling Green State University Police Department (BGSUPD) & the City of Bowling Green Police Department (BGPD) ban “chokehold” and “strangleholds” as accepted form of arrest/detainment methods, in any circumstance as defined by the 8 Can’t Wait campaign.
a. Clearly defined consequences and disciplinary action for officers who do not comply with no-chokehold orders.
2. Requiring the Body Camera acquisition process for the (BGPD) be expedited, whether through budget restructuring or grant funds; an end goal of body cameras on all sworn officers by December 31st, 2020.
3. Requiring increased de-escalation training for all sworn police officers from accreditable training programs, totaling at least 15 hours per year, of both Bowling Green State University Police Department & the City of Bowling Green Police Department officers
4. Requiring the creation of a Bowling Green State University and City of Bowling Green Police Accountability Board (PAB).
The PAB will serve in two functions: reviewing investigation reports following investigations of complaints from the respective communities while making recommendations to the Chief of Police for disciplinary action, consequences, or related recommendations. The second function of the PAB is to make recommendations regarding department policies, procedures, practices, and trainings to Chief of Police. To create an even more accountable law enforcement presence in our community, we recommend two PABs are created while using resources from the University of California, Davis PAB:
a. The Bowling Green State University Police Accountability Board
i. Board overviews all functions above for the BGSUPD and reports recommendations to Chief Michael Campbell of the BGSUPD.
ii. Composed of a students, staff, and faculty from the Bowling Green State University community while making sure the board is representative of.
b. The City of Bowling Green Police Accountability Board
i. Board overviews all functions above for the BGPD and reports recommendations to Chief Tony Hetrick of the BGPD.
ii. Composed of council appointed city residents, appointed student representatives, City Council members, and one appointed seat by the Mayor.
We are eager to work with both University and City Leadership as well as representatives from both respective Police Unions to advance these community needs. We realize many of these changes will take time and that not all issues have been addressed, but the time for action must start now. These changes will not only help build a more inclusive, more accountable, and more trustworthy police atmosphere for the Bowling Green community, but will also prove to the residents of Bowling Green that our Law Enforcement officers will commit to greater accountability measures and training for the future and also accept community recommendations, feedback, and changes. Now more than ever, it is important to stay proactive in finding solutions that enhance community building relationships, challenge the status quo, and evolve with a city that should strive to remain proactive on these issues.
We will not stay silent during this time. We will not stay complacent. Instead, we will stand in solidarity with the myriad of on-campus organizations who support students of all identities as we work to create an even more inclusive environment not only on campus, but within the City of Bowling Green. We are in full support of all students who are protesting and advocating for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmuad Arbery and the countless other black lives lost to police brutality. We recognize the seriousness of police brutality and the impact it has on the BGSU community.
We see you. We hear you. We stand with you.
R. Harrison Carter – President, Undergraduate Student Government
Summer Jordan – President, The Black Student Union
Xavi Boes – Vice President, Undergraduate Student Government
Zayion Hyman – Vice President, The Black Student Union
AND WITH FULL SUPPORT:
The Undergraduate Student Government Executive Board
The Black Student Union Executive Board