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May 18, 2024

SGA votes in opposition of Hopkins police force

By RIA ARORA | April 11, 2019

Student Government Association (SGA) members passed a resolution in opposition of the University’s bill to create a private police force during their weekly meeting on Tuesday. 

In doing so, they officially endorsed the Garland sit-in spearheaded by Students Against Private Police (SAPP) and the Hopkins Coalition Against ICE (U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement).

The resolution, introduced by Freshmen Class Senator Alexander Forlenza, outlined common concerns about a private police force students have brought forward over the past year, including the potential racial profiling of students of color.  

Additionally, the resolution noted that 74.4 percent of respondents voted against the creation of a private police force in SGA’s referendum. 

Furthermore, Forlenza noted that student organizations such as SAPP, the Black Student Union (BSU) and the African Students Association (ASA) have voiced opposition against the private police initiative.

Freshman Class Senator Eric Armstrong expressed concerns that the student body data was skewed due to the low turnout of the SGA referendum. 

Senior Class Senator Madi Uraih noted that SGA’s constituents have pushed for SGA to oppose the private police force for a long time. She believed that failing to pass this resolution would be irresponsible. 

“We have been pushing this referendum all semester. The fact that the people who chose to respond said that they have an issue with this shows how opposed they are. They have been very vocal about this issue ever since last year, when the idea was raised,” Uraih said.

However, Freshman Class Senator Nathan Mudrak, expressed reservations about SGA officially opposing the private police force. He noted that even with a private police force, Hopkins would still have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Baltimore Police Department.

The resolution passed with 13 votes in favor, four against and one abstention. 

SGA also discussed the Sit-In Support Resolution, which Junior Class Senator Kiana Boroumand and Sophomore Class Senator Sam Mollin introduced. 

The resolution would indicate SGA’s official support for the students and community members participating in the Garland Hall sit-in.

SGA members first discussed the images that protesters presented. 

Most notably, this included the protests during campus tours and during the Spring Open House and Overnight Program (SOHOP) intended for admitted students. They also brought up videos of their protests at the Alumni Weekend Breakfast on Sunday. 

Senior Class Senator Jenn Baron asked why protesters chose to take action during SOHOP. 

The protesters asserted that they wanted to inform admitted students about the discrimination that students of color face at Hopkins. 

Despite these concerns, the resolution in support of the Sit-In passed with 12 votes in favor, three against and two abstentions.

SGA also passed a bill detailing the formation of an advisory committee for the new student center. Executive President AJ Tsang introduced the bill, which would allow SGA to represent student interests as the center is built over the next five years.

The meeting concluded with Sophomore Class President Sam Schatmeyer confirming new Sophomore Class Senator Mikhael Hammer-Bleich. Hammer-Bleich is filling the vacancy left by Lauren Paulet after she resigned earlier this spring.  

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