To the editor,
Talk a stroll down court street and you will almost inevitably encounter multiple armed law enforcement officers. So many, in fact, that you get the feeling you are living in a police state.
Athens Police Department, Ohio University Police Department and the Athens County Sheriff’s offices are all within a stones throw each other uptown. At every turn almost if you come face to face with a law enforcement officer, leering at you while on patrol, parading their weapons while on the bricks. Drive anywhere near campus and you are sure to pass at least one member of these forces. Everyone knows the feeling of anxiety and fear that strikes them while driving when a police cruiser is behind them, regardless of whether they are “doing anything”; it is this type of anxiety and fear that students live under constantly at Ohio University.
This is especially true for our Black and Brown students: just this summer the Athens County Cop Watch group conducted data analysis to show that Black and Brown bodies are disproportionately policed at Ohio University as well as in Athens County in general. Thus, not only is student learning disrupted by living under near constant surveillance, but the actual threat to the bodily safety of students at the hands of police is significant. Enough.
Ohio University should abolish its relationship with local law enforcement.