The Pentagon Is Giving Grenade Launchers to Campus Police

[PHOTO: Campus police at Ohio University. Wikimedia.]

The Pentagon’s 1033 program, which allows the Defense Department to unload its excess military equipment onto local police forces, has quietly overflowed onto college campuses. According to documents obtained by the website Muckrock, more than 100 campus police forces have received military materials from the Pentagon. Schools that participate in the program range from liberal arts to community colleges to the entire University of Texas system.

A few weeks ago, activist and journalist Mariame Kaba asked on Twitter: “How can we build a movement to divest from police? Is there a way for us to do this? Can we go after local police budgets?”

One place to start is with those college campuses whose police forces receive 1033 and Homeland Security funding. The time is ripe for student journalists and activists to use the information furnished by Muckrock and to do their own digging to take on police divestment campaigns with the tenacity, political savvy, and exuberance that’s pushed universities nationwide to divest from fossil fuels, private prisons, and Israeli occupation.

Young people in solidarity with the people of Ferguson and the families who have lost sons and daughters at the hands of militant police are poised to illuminate these connections between education, state surveillance, and state violence in a uniquely powerful way.

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