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Students for a Democratic Society

Another group which crusaded for civil rights was the Students for A Democratic Society. This political organization distributed the following flyer throughout the Rutgers Campus. This flyer was handed to you as you left Psych 101.

Read the document below, click on the image for text of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) Oppose the Arming of Racist Campus Cops document

Click on image for text
From the Students for a Democratic Society. December, 1970. Rutgers Special Collection and University Archives.


SDS Oppose the Racist Arming of Campus Cops


A couple of years ago the University administration requested that the Campus patrol be granted police powers and guns. This request was passed anxiously by the N.J. State

Legislature. This bill is just waiting for the Governor's signature.


We are opposed to arming because we feel it is racist and an attack on Black and Puerto Rican People. We feel it is racist because of the racist lies that the University uses to rationalize the policy.


The primary rationalization that the University uses is that Black people from the community are the main cause for the vandalism and violence on campus. For example the campus police say that they need arms to keep the "townies"from busting up mixers. The University also plays up fights between Blacks and Whites. For example, the Targum stated earlier this year that a white student was beaten up by 4 blacks, when really according to an eyewitness, he was in a fight with just one Black. There have been several incidents of whites attacking Blacks which haven';t been reported. In Fall of 1969, 25 members of a fraternity attacked a group of Black high school students outside the Center on a Saturday night. The cops came and hauled off the Blacks in police cars. The Targum just said there was a fight between students and non-students, without saying who started it or who the police took away. Another case in point is when Gaston Collins was attacked by 2 State Troopers, and the Campus Patrol neglected to report that the victim if that assault was Black. Gaston was charged with being disorderly.




We think the university is trying to push racism creating the illusion that white students need protection from the Blacks, thus they are feeding racism that already exists. The arming of the campus police is a source of harassment for Black people in general (community people and students). Often Often Blacks walking on campus are asked for ID's and if the patrolman has a gun he can be even more obnoxious. The incident with Gaston makes this painfully clear


Police generally serve to suppress Black and Puerto Rican People the most. The cop's job is to maintain the status quo and this status quo is most oppressive for Third World working people. When people fight for better conditions cops function to put down these struggles. An example of this is the rebellion that took place at Asbury Park this summer, when 102 people were shot and arrested for fighting against high unemployment and lousy living conditions. Campus cops will be no different from regular cops. The patrol will preserve the status quo of the racist Rutgers Administration.


The arming of campus patrol will increase tension between Black and White students. This act will foster the idea among white students that they should be afraid of Blacks. Moreover the harassment will cause Black students to be even more alienated from white students.


We think it is important for students for students to oppose University attempts to whip up racism and perpetuate the oppression of Black people. If students don't fight racism now on a college campus, then how will we as Black and White teachers and workers be able to unite and fight for improvements in or working and living conditions on our jobs and within society as a whole.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What discrimination did the SDS feel the Campus Patrol perpetrate?
  2. What were the general feelings the students had toward the police in the article?
  3. Why were the students fearful of campus officers with guns?
  4. What is the role authority plays in society? For society to function correctly, what attitudes should people have towards authority figures?
  5. What are incidents in current society where people question authority figures and their commitment to protect and to serve all people equally?
  6. Do you feel armed guards have a place in American high schools? Explain.