Students at Emory University, Georgia State University, Agnes Scott College, Morehouse College, Georgia Institute of Technology, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta are joining together on their campuses to protest against Cop City on April 24, 2023. The students demand city officials cancel the lease and that all contractors and funders of the project drop ties with the Atlanta Police Foundation.
Atlanta-area universities have been key propellers of Cop City through both research partnerships with the Atlanta Police Foundation and through their affiliation with the Atlanta Committee for Progress, a public-private partnership of corporate and political elites that have been a major proponent of Cop City. The presidents of GSU, GT, Spelman, Emory, Morehouse, and Clark Atlanta University sit on the board of the Atlanta Committee for Progress. The students demand Woodruff Foundation — the largest funder of the Public Safety Training Center and a significant funder to Atlanta universities — divest from the Atlanta Police Foundation. Students are calling on their Universities to drop ties with the APF, ACP, and to use their platform as an institution to hold Woodruff Foundation accountable for funding ecological and social harm.
These protests come on the heels of the release of the Dekalb County autopsy report of the killing of protestor Manuel “Tortuguita” Estaban Paez Terán. This report casts serious doubt on the GBI’s claim that Tortuguita fired a gun, revealing that no gunpowder residue was found on their hands, and revealed that police caused at least 57 gunshot wounds.
Wittika Chaplet, Emory University Class of 2023, stated, “We have a responsibility as students to hold our institutions accountable to the communities which we inhabit and to the world. We are walking out and rallying on April 24th to stand in solidarity with the residents of Gresham park, and the communities most affected by police brutality and environmental racism, and demand that our institutions condemn and divest from cop city. We link these demands to our campus-wide fights against campus police, ignored allegations of sexual assault, and rejection of sustainability propaganda which does not reflect institutional reality.”
Dana Haskins*, Georgia Institute of Technology Class of 2023, stated, “Atlanta’s universities are complicit in APF’s violence and corruption. Many of the foundations that fund APF also donate to the universities. We are sending a message to all of these complicit actors that your support of the Weelaunee People’s Park destruction, increased militarization of police, and brutalization of protesters is shameful and will not go unheard. We hope such bells of protest ring beyond the campus and are heard by other top contributors such as Home Depot, Waffle House, Coca-Cola, and all others.”
*This student is using a pseudonym for fear of retaliation by the university and the police.
Students will host the following actions in Monday April 24:
Emory University students will walk out of class and rally on the “quad” at 2 pm, April 24.
Georgia Tech students will provide a community space to practice mutual aid through food, study sessions, tutoring, teach-ins, media screenings, and more on “Tech Green” at 2 pm, April 24th.
Georgia State University students will host a town hall for students at the Auburn Avenue Research Library at 5 pm, April 24th.
Agnes Scott students, in solidarity with students from universities in and around Atlanta who are opposed to the proposed construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, commonly known as Cop City, and the destruction of the South River Forest (Weelaunee Forest), are hosting a Resistance Rally. Agnes Scott students and community members will join together for speakers, a potluck dinner, clothing swap, and student performances. As an Agnes Scott community this is an issue that we are concerned about and our administration should, in its actions and statements, reflect the same as it’s community members. 5- 8 pm, April 24th.
Students from Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College are joining together to take a stand against the Atlanta public safety training center. As concerns continue to grow the students are making a statement by putting up posters that highlight cases of police brutality in Fulton County, DeKalb County, and Georgia overall. They are taking action by putting up posters that draw attention to the injustices and issues surrounding police brutality and the need for change. In addition to this, they are also calling out their schools for taking no stance on the issue and are discussing with people on AUC campueses why they are against their schools supporting the facility. They believe that it is important for their schools to take a stand against the facility and the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers. The students of Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College are united in their mission to create change and to promote awareness of the issues surrounding Cop City. The AUC students plan to take action with all the Atlanta students on April the 24th and join them on their campuses.
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