SG President Eric Brock calls on University to implement AUPD community advisory board
Proposed board could be stepping stone to defunding AUPD, Brock says
In an email to American University leadership on Sunday, Student Government President Eric Brock formally requested that the University establish a community advisory board with oversight over the AU Police Department.
The request was sent to President Sylvia Burwell, Vice President of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence Fanta Aw and Chief Financial Officer Douglas Kudravetz, whose office oversees AUPD. Brock cited recent discussions surrounding police and their role on campuses as the impetus for his request.
The proposed board would be community-based, and composed of students, faculty and staff. Brock hopes that the establishment of this committee will help foster a better relationship between the student body and AUPD, which has been strained in the past.
“My hope is that, with a formal advisory board, the community then has a clear and formal way to communicate and organize,” Brock wrote in an email to The Eagle. “As of now, there is no formal channel for these conversations. If there is no way to effectively communicate the injustice — then there is no means to discuss the solutions.”
Brock initially proposed the board in his campaign platform, calling for a Police Oversight Committee that would function as a transition to defunding of the department. Brock said that the board will hopefully result in more community support for defunding AUPD, as it is still a priority of his agenda.
Brock cited a similar committee formed at the University of Michigan, where student, faculty and staff members are elected by their peers to the board. Brock argued that the lack of oversight at AU has hurt the student body.
“As such, de facto committees and informal talks on AUPD have led to confusing outcomes. All of which have led to inaction and stagnation,” Brock wrote in his email to University leadership. “My hope is that, with a formal community advisory board, we would then be on the same page.”
Even if defunding AUPD may be impossible during his tenure as president, Brock told The Eagle he believed it had “strong potential in the future.” However, he stressed that the decision to defund should be left up to the community.
Brock said that he looks forward to working with the CFO’s office when it comes to AUPD reform. Kudravetz will leave the position soon, and Brock hopes that his replacement will be open to the defunding efforts.
Following The Eagle’s request for comment, a University spokesperson said they were in the process of addressing Brock’s email.
“We just received this request Sunday afternoon and are reviewing it,” they wrote.
This is a developing story that will be updated as more information becomes available.