NU Community Not Cops calls on President Schapiro to resign following his condemnation of abolitionist protests

One+demonstrator+holds+up+a+sign+reading+%E2%80%9CDefund+or+Resign%E2%80%9D+at+Monday+night%E2%80%99s+march.%0A

Evan Robinson-Johnson/Daily Senior Staffer

One demonstrator holds up a sign reading “Defund or Resign” at Monday night’s march.

Isabelle Sarraf and James Pollard

Standing outside University President Morton Schapiro’s house, students led by Northwestern Community Not Cops, a campaign demanding the abolition of University Police, called for Schapiro’s resignation Monday night.

Several hours earlier, Schapiro sent an email saying NU has no intentions to abolish UP after a week of ongoing protests led by the group.

“Your students see through you, Morton,” NU Community Not Cops said in a statement. “Black people are not safe anywhere in a world with police, including in their homes, a reality that Black students at Northwestern also contend with.” 

Over 200 students participated in the eighth straight day of action to abolish UP and invest in Black students. The group, flanked by students walking with bicycles, was trailed by 12 officers on bikes. The officers were part of the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System Mobile Field Force, a group created in 1994 to maximize “the effectiveness of initial response efforts by police when a major civil disturbance occurs.”

Northern Illinois Police Alarm System’s Mobile Field Force officers stand guarded outside the home of University President Morton Schapiro during Monday night’s march.
(Evan Robinson-Johnson/Daily Senior Staffer)

The protest began at Floyd Long Field, where cop cars from surrounding departments like Berwyn, Melrose Park, Northfield and River Grove could be seen around nearby blocks. There, organizers reminded protestors of their rights.

“Northwestern is still bringing harm to Black, Indigenous and marginalized identities, as we saw today,” one organizer said, drawing many “boos” from the group of protestors.

Chants of “Abolition is the solution, you can’t stop the revolution” and “Don’t want no cops, just give me that peace” reverberated throughout the group as students marched for over an hour until they settled outside Schapiro’s house.

The 12 NIPAS Field Force officers stood outside his front yard, where five other officers were already stationed. At the intersection of Central Street and Orrington Avenue, seven cop cars were parked, some belonging to Evanston Police Department and others unmarked. Two of the cars were K-9 units. A “Quit your job!” chant broke out among the protestors.

Several organizers then read aloud the campaign’s news release in response to Schapiro’s earlier email, in which Schapiro said chants like “piggy Morty” came “dangerously close to a longstanding trope against observant Jews” like himself.

“Whether it was done out of ignorance or out of anti-Semitism, it is completely unacceptable,” Schapiro said in the email.

Schapiro’s suggestion that “pig” is an anti-Semitic term stems from a medieval trope wherein Jewish people were depicted by European countries as engaging in lewd relations with pigs. NU Community Not Cops said they find it “absurd” for Schapiro to suggest that protesters were invoking this trope and not the word “pig” as it refers to the modern slang term about police.

NU Community Not Cops leaders condemned anti-Semitism in their statement, saying that their use of the term “pig” relates to the generations-long practice of Black radical movements invoking the structural violence presented by the police. Members of the campaign called Schapiro a pig, they said, because he has prioritized police and private property “over the lives of Black students.”

“We called Morty a pig because he’s a f–king cop,” one organizer said Monday night. “Can we get some oinks?”

NU Community Not Cops wrote that the language in Schapiro’s email mirrors the University’s response to the May 1968 Bursar’s Office Takeover — using law and order tactics to “justify a brutal response” to Black student activists. 

The 1968 response condemned the “unlawful action” of students occupying the Bursar’s Office and said the University would take “whatever action is necessary” against the activists. Schapiro’s Monday email stated that any members of the NU community found to violate rules and laws would be held accountable for their actions and face consequences.

NU Community Not Cops wrote they condemn Schapiro’s ignorance of student demands for months until just now. In July, Schapiro “refused” to attend town halls led by Black student activists. Other administrators were present at those meetings, but NU Community Not Cops said they came to meetings “unprepared” to respond to student concerns.

They added that it’s an insult for Schapiro to draw on “racist, coded language” like “abomination” and vile.” Questioning whether Black protestors had “lost their sense of humanity” is inherently anti-Black, the group wrote.

The organizers pushed back against Schapiro’s contention that their campaign purposely provokes police officers and that they are “outside agitators.” The group connected that language to President Donald Trump’s suggestion that Black Lives Matter protesters were paid actors and southern politicians deriding Civil Rights organizers as communist agitators.

“He cannot say ‘Black Lives Matter’ if he is questioning our humanity,” the statement read. “He cannot be committed to racial justice if he is questioning our humanity. Our actions have been necessary escalations given the lack of urgency; we are not ashamed of ourselves.”

The statement went on to question what else students could do to be heard by a “racist administration” and how they should “peacefully” advocate when Schapiro won’t attend their meetings.

The group reiterated they would continue to hold daily actions until their demands are met and UP is abolished.

“If violence is the only language Northwestern University responds to, we will no longer be silent,” the statement read.

As the night ended, the street resembled a block party. Organizers provided pizza and water to protestors while songs like “Gasolina” by Daddy Yankee and “WAP” by Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion played.

“Black people to the front,” one of the organizers said as students got in line for food. “If you are Black, go to the front.”

Email: [email protected]

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @isabellesarraf

Twitter: @pamesjollard

Related Stories:

President Schapiro says Northwestern has “absolutely no intention” to abolish NUPD

Disarm, defund, disband: Students are marching every day until Northwestern abolishes NUPD

Administrators commit to transparency and cultural change, but not to divesting from Northwestern police

Comments