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Academic and Nonprofit Complicity

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Organizing against and exposing institutions complicit in expanding and legitimizing the police state

Our organizing to abolish the police estate targets include not only police agencies but also the ecosystem of academic, nonprofit, and research institutions who work with police to legitimize, strengthen, and expand police surveillance, including through the process of “police reform.” The Stop LAPD Spying Coalition formed in 2011, at a time when police reformers sought to “improve” national security surveillance by demanding better rules for it, for example criteria that would not overtly discriminate against Muslim communities. We recognized that these efforts would empower police everywhere to expand surveillance. We also exposed the reform nonprofits who were collaborating with LAPD and federal officials to develop laws codifying and blessing police surveillance, and we have continued to organize against surveillance “oversight” reforms that take this approach. 

Our work to confront academic institutions complicit in policing is also rooted in our campaigns against LAPD’s “data-driven policing” and “community policing” programs. As we organized against those programs, we saw how police developed these programs in close collaboration with nonprofits and academic researchers. In particular, UCLA academics were complicit in the development, “evaluation,” and expansion of the PredPol “predictive policing” program as well as LAPD’s Community Safety Partnerships program. We mobilized campus resistance to UCLA’s ties to those programs. We are currently working with student groups, campus organizations, and allied faculty to uncover other forms of academic complicity in policing in universities across the country. Through this work, we have built strong ties between communities impacted by surveillance and campus institutions that are working to confront these harms.

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