Denver SDS puts pressure on administration to vote to demilitarize campus police
Denver, CO – On March 28, members of Denver’s Students For a Democratic Society (SDS) protested the delay of their resolution vote by the Auraria Board of Directors (ABOD). They rallied and spoke out around a banner that stated, “ABOD get back to work!” and “Don’t delay the resolution to defang 1033.” While speakers were spreading the word, members of SDS handed out flyers for a call-in. These included the numbers of the board members as well as a script that demanded that the board get back to work and vote on the resolution immediately as they had once again taken the topic off the meeting agenda.
The preliminary effects of the call-in appear to have been a massive success. Just 30 minutes after the end of the workday, ABOD gave into the demands of SDS, placing the 1033 Resolution back onto the agenda. While ABOD did not guarantee that the matter would be voted on, they did decide to allow SDS approximately 10-15 minutes to speak on the issue at the meeting.
The resolution proposes a change to the 1033 program, which the Auraria Campus Police Department (ACPD) participates in. The 1033 program allows ACPD access to surplus military supplies from the Department of Defense. This includes military grade weapons such as M16s, which ACPD has purchased previously through the program. The resolution SDS has proposed would allow ACPD to stay in the program, but bars them from purchasing any military grade weapons.
SDS has been attempting to pass this resolution starting at the beginning of January but has been met with significant resistance by ABOD every step of the way. ABOD was originally set to put the matter to a vote in January, however the vote was pushed back to February. Then, once the time to vote came again in February, ABOD attended a private event at a Sports Arena instead of meeting.
SDS member Paul Nelson stated in his speech, “ABOD went on vacation instead of doing their jobs and voting on the 1033 Resolution. If any other worker engaged in such a blatant refusal to do their jobs, they would be fired, but the highest-paid employees of Auraria campus are excused from engaging in the same level of commitment to their occupations.” ABOD was finally poised to vote again March 29, but again claimed that the decision was too tough to be made, pushing the vote back two months.
Considering the move to push back the issue so long, according to SDS member Tom Chaney, the students felt “a massive sense of victory by forcing the 1033 Resolution back on the agenda.” That being said, SDS remains deeply committed to passing the resolution as the organization’s highest priority, and demonstrations are expected to increase in both frequency and intensity if the matter is not voted on March 29.