Brooklyn College is advising New York City Police officers to use bathrooms out of sight from students to avoid possibly offending them. Students said the NYPD “made safe spaces not feel safe.”
The university released its advisory to the NYPD after students attending a screening about a film on the police department’s surveillance of Muslim students became hypervigilant toward the presence of law enforcement on campus.
Writing in The Excelsior late last week and covered by Campus Reform Monday, the school’s Director of Public Safety, Donald Wenz, stated that the school would “prefer” if members of the NYPD used toilets in the West End Building, far away from students. He advised police not to walk “across either quad to use the bathroom.”
Wenz’s comments follow a screening of a movie called “Watched,” which follows an NYPD informant who surveilled Muslim students as part of New York City’s counterterrorism initiatives.
Students who attended the film were asked to share their opinions on having NYPD officers on school grounds. Speaking to The Excelsior, one student said he “disagreed” with their presence, especially in buildings where student groups hold their meetings.
The student, who remains unnamed by the newspaper, said he intended to petition Brooklyn College president Michelle Anderson to pressure her into completely removing police from campus. He wanted her to issue a statement “that we do not want the NYPD on campus in any respect even if it’s just to take breaks and use bathrooms.”
Following the report, the New York Post ran an investigative story on Brooklyn College Sunday and found that the building where the officers were supposed to use the bathroom did not even have a working stall. Instead, they discovered an “out of order” sign on the door, with a dirty and broken toilet on the inside.
“The bathroom is horrendous. You can only wash your hands in one of the sinks because the other two are broken,” a student told the Post.
Other students interviewed by the newspaper stated that they felt uncomfortable around police, and declared that the NYPD had no place on campus. “I know students from every background and across every major. They don’t feel comfortable around cops. They just don’t. It makes safe spaces feel not so safe,” one student said.
An NYPD officer interviewed by the Post in the surrounding borough called the students “insane.” He added: “That protester culture is warping their fucking minds.”
“It’s not like we’re invading their campus,” another officer said. “We’re only going there to use the bathroom.”
Speaking to the paper, NYPD sergeants-union chief Ed Mullins suggested, “Maybe it’s time these students, who fail to recognize the value of those protecting them, go take classes abroad—where they can have their bathrooms all to themselves.”