Campus

Northwestern Students Burn and Vandalize School Property at Anti-Police Protests

Northwestern University / Wikimedia Commons

Students at Northwestern University vandalized and burned school property on the sixth consecutive night of anti-police protests.

Led by the anti-police group "NU Community Not Cops," students tore down a sign that read "We're N This Together," burned it, and placed the charred remains of the sign at the feet of police officers guarding the home of Northwestern president Morton Schapiro. They also vandalized the school's iconic Weber Arch, during a protest purportedly aimed at abolishing the campus police department. Pictures taken by NU Community Not Cops document the destruction, which according to Northwestern's student newspaper began at 11:51 p.m. on Saturday.

NU Community Not Cops / Twitter

NU Community Not Cops / Twitter

NU Community Not Cops / Twitter

Outside of the Northwestern University police department, students wrote "abolition is the solution" and "Black Lives Matter." Written on a university sign were the letters "ACAB," which stands for All Cops Are Bastards.

NU Community Not Cops / Twitter

NU Community Not Cops / Twitter

NU Community Not Cops / Twitter

Other graffiti included the words "F— UCPD," in reference to the nearby University of Chicago police department.

Following the death of George Floyd, Schapiro penned a letter to the Northwestern student body in which he committed to "reviewing the operations of Northwestern's police department." "We will reexamine all of NUPD's approaches and function, including its use of force policy … its bias-free policing policy," and "reinforce annual training on de-escalation," Schapiro said.

But students around the country have gone further, protesting the very existence of campus police departments. At the University of Pennsylvania, students and professors called on the school to disarm police officers and eliminate the university's crime alert system. Johns Hopkins University announced it would delay the development of a campus police department for at least two years in the wake of student protests. And when the University of Chicago refused to defund its police department, students vowed to protest the decision for at least a year.

Likewise, the Northwestern vandals claimed their actions were a proportionate response to "racial capitalism," in which police supposedly play a central role.

"If you think vandalism is counterproductive to our mission. Under a system of racial capitalism, in which whiteness itself is capital," NU Community Not Cops tweeted. "We are taking a stance against that by not valuing property over the lives of our people. Our campaign has not caused any harm. Police have."

Northwestern University did not respond to requests for comment.