Milwaukee SDS demands community control of police.
(Fight Back! News/staff)
Milwaukee, WI – On the evening of April 9, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) held a rally at Spaights Plaza at UW-Milwaukee to call for a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) in Milwaukee and renew their demands to defund campus police and refund programs that support students.
“SDS is here supporting CPAC because it is an all-elected civilian accountability council with the power to draft MPD’s budget, a council that can and will conduct independent investigations into police crimes, a council that has the power to hire, fire and discipline Milwaukee’s police,” SDS member Jack Rongstad said, addressing the people in attendance. “As members of the CPAC coalition coordinated by the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, we know that CPAC is the program we need to guarantee that the people have real control over the police.”
Rongstad continued by elaborating on the importance of CPAC to redirect public resources to community alternatives that address harm, instead of continuing to funnel them into an institution built to inflict it. For example, funding should be redirected to affordable housing, access to physical and mental health care, replacing police in schools with counselors, transformative justice models, youth programming, and investments into Milwaukee’s chronically underfunded public school system.
Another SDS member, Mike Nelson, said, “CPAC is good for students too because we don’t want to defund campus police only to have more Milwaukee police presence on our campus, who, without CPAC, have no true accountability to the people. We need CPAC now!”
SDS also used this rally to renew their demands to defund the UWM police department and redistribute their funds to programs that actually support students. Chancellor Mone has given flawed reasoning for why they should not and cannot defund the campus police, even though they have a $3 million budget (according to the UW Redbook). Meanwhile, services like mental health, multicultural student offices, and ethnic studies programs face budget cuts. If the $3 million budget of the UWM police department were redistributed, it would be enough to hire four new faculty across 15 departments. The solution is simple: defund UWM PD and redistribute its funds to programs that actually support students.