In the midst of national controversy spawning an unfavorable view of police, UNC Asheville’s Student Government Association has begun a campus-wide initiative to maintain healthy relationships between students and campus security.
The brainchild of SGA Chief of Staff, Tatiana Miller, this initiative aims to foster a positive relationship between students and campus police through SGA-sponsored events.
The first of these events, a cookout scheduled Oct. 18, went off without a hitch. Welcoming students and cops alike, this informal event encouraged constructive conversation and bonding among attendees with games like Buzz the Fuzz — another brainchild of Miller’s, in which police were “ticketed” for their lack of pop culture knowledge.
“I think relations between students and campus police already exist and I think it’s important that there is a student-led group on campus that’s trying to continue that relationship,” says Miller. “They’re humans too and I think it’s important to build that human to human relationship. We need to get to know them as people, in addition to knowing them as people who provide safety for us.”
After recent accounts of police brutality, public opinion of law enforcement is steadily declining.
According to a 2015 Gallup poll, only 52 percent of Americans express confidence in the police — the lowest in 22 years.
With movements like Black Lives Matter gaining momentum and increasing public incidents of brutality, a healthy and beneficial relationship between police and the public is more important than ever.