The Minnesota Student Association (MSA) is calling on University of Minnesota Police Department (UMPD) Chief Matthew Clark to resign, alleging that the chief has failed to “increase campus wellness and safety for students of color.”
The MSA demanded Clark’s immediate resignation in a letter addressed to University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel and Senior Vice President Myron Frans, according to a report by the Minnesota Daily.
“In his five and half years as Chief of Police at the University of Minnesota, Matt Clark has repeatedly and unequivocally disregarded student demands, failed to increase campus wellness and safety for students of color and has allowed the utilization of UMPD as a physical arm of the oppressive state to subjugate and silence community members both on and off campus,” the letter reads.
In the letter, the students go on to demand that Clark be replaced with an interim chief who is “committed to diversity and inclusion, community control of policing [and the] demilitarization of UMPD” while they search for another chief of police.
The report adds that the MSA’s letter comes after UMPD officers assisted Brooklyn Center police with crowd control tactics during protests that broke out after the death of Daunte Wright.
The university’s president said that UMPD is part of the West Command Task Force — a coalition of police chiefs that allow officers from other departments to help each other in emergencies.
Now, the MSA demands that the university cease its participation in the West Command Task Force, claiming protesters were met with “excessive violence from police forces and the National Guard.”
Leftist student groups such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) also reportedly participated in the protests. The letter’s authors, Jack Flom and Rebecca Jacobson, added that they were arrested in Brooklyn Center.
“We were informed that Chief Clark was in charge of approving UMPD going to join other forces in Brooklyn Center on Sunday night and allowing UMPD to be utilized in that way to traumatize people,” Jacobson said. “So that, compounded with all of the other issues with Matt Clark and UMPD over the last year or more, is kind of what spurred taking action now.”
The letter reportedly goes on to say that the MSA expects a response from the university in one to two business days, warning that if their demands are not met, they will plan “direct actions to not only ensure the resignation of Matt Clark but the transformation of UMPD.”