Student activists at Tulane University who marched in protest of the university’s police department are now saying that the school hasn’t done enough to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The student group Taking Action at TU led a demonstration last month to call for abolishing the Tulane Police Department and redistributing its $9 million budget “to fund community-based safety initiatives and resources for BIPOC members” — black, indigenous and people of color.
Video from the event on the New Orleans campus showed many students close together in violation of social distancing practices, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
“WE SAY NO MORE TO THE RACIST, CAPITALIST, AND IMPERIALIST STRUCTURE THAT TULANE UPHOLDS!” the event’s announcement on Instagram reads.
“TULANE’S INSATIABLE DESIRE FOR PROFIT WILL CONTINUE THE SPREAD OF CORONA VIRUS IN THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, ON AND OFF CAMPUS.”
The event scheduled was postponed, however, after the university’s director of student conduct reached out to “#AbolishTUPD” demonstrators and said the Aug. 31 event violated the university’s COVID restrictions.
“Please be aware that any further reports of gatherings over 50 individuals will lead to a significantly more severe set of conduct outcomes,” Christopher Zacharda wrote in his email to the students.
In response to the email, the student group said it was “taking time to reflect” on the past event.
“This letter was very concerning for many reasons. Primarily, the thought of our work jeopardizing anybody’s safety or their sense of security,” the student group wrote in an Instagram post.
The group added that it needed to ensure that it was also “mitigating the spread of COVID to the larger New Orleans community.”
Instead of the in-person event Sept. 9, the activists called on fellow students to send an email in support of the Tulane Black Student Union’s long list of demands and expectations, which includes reparations.
“With re-opening, it’s even more pressing that the university get a move-on with fixing longstanding issues of structural racism and other forms of oppression,” the group wrote.
A senior at Tulane told The Free Beacon that the “die-in” event was irrational even if the group maintained social distancing.
“It makes no sense to complain that Tulane opening for small, in-person classes with enforced mask-wearing and social distancing puts the city in extreme danger, and then organize a protest where dozens of students march around without social distancing,” Rachel Altman said.
“It’s so hypocritical,” she said.
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