FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 10, 2023
MEDIA CONTACT: Kannette King
Students of the Atlanta University Center Denounce the Building of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center
Morehouse College Holds Private Forum with Mayor of Atlanta to Discuss Atlanta Public Safety Training Center
Atlanta, GA – On Thursday, February 2, 2023, students of the Atlanta University Center occupied a school-sanctioned event at Morehouse College. During the event, the students shared their concerns about the College’s association with the Atlanta Public Training Center, as well as the larger issue of systemic oppression and police brutality in the city of Atlanta.
Following the event, the students refused any private discussion of the Institution’s relationship with the training center, demanding a public forum for President Thomas to address all students’ concerns publically. The President organized a forum addressing the student body and invited Mayor Dickens to address the construction of the Atlanta Public Training Center. This raised a new concern address in the forum by the student speaker.
On Tuesday, February 7, 2023, Morehouse College hosted a private forum with the Mayor of Atlanta for students from the Atlanta University Center. Unfortunately, the forum was not open to the public and residents of the community were not given the opportunity to attend and express their concerns. Additionally, Clark Atlanta University personnel were not formally invited, and Spelman College only informed their students about the event an hour before it took place.
Despite these limitations, the President of Morehouse College allowed only one student to make a statement during the program, which was limited to five minutes in the ninety-minute forum. Many questions were left unanswered and students departed the event feeling disappointed in the condescending manner of communication from the Mayor. It appeared that the purpose of the Mayor and his staff was not to converse with the community about public concerns, but instead to propagate the need for an Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.
In conclusion, the intention of the forum was to address the concerns of students and the community, but it was clear that many of these concerns were not taken seriously. The students and residents of Atlanta deserve a platform where their voices can be heard and their concerns addressed in a meaningful way.
About Morehouse College: Founded in 1867, Morehouse College is a private, all-male, liberal arts institution located in Atlanta, GA. The College has a rich history of producing outstanding leaders and thinkers, and has a commitment to providing a transformative educational experience for its students.
About Atlanta University Center: The Atlanta University Center is a consortium of historically black colleges and universities located in Atlanta, GA. The consortium includes Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University, and is dedicated to providing world-class educational opportunities for African American students.
Video of 02/02/23 Student Demonstration
PDF Press Release
Morehouse students issue demands, statement on Cop City
For Whom the Bell Tolls
To the Morehouse Community,
The Graves Hall Bell, forged in 1886 from Bethlehem Steel in Baltimore, MD, serves as a Morehouse relic that was utilized to signify danger or celebration. Whenever there was a sign of external danger towards the campus grounds, the bell would be rung for students and staff to seek refuge to the nearest building in sight. The Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, Cop City, is a threat that is approaching our institution and community.
In 2016, The bell was rung to signify a universal danger, the election of Donald J. Trump. We find ourselves again in times of imminent danger. With the creation of Cop City, it is apparent the enemy is near. We must speak up about the development of Cop City, for its construction will only lead to more instances of police brutality and racial profiling within the Atlanta community. We, the concerned Morehouse students, understand the great moral hypocrisy of our institution supporting the implementation of this policing facility, and we can not allow this to go unnoticed.
The bell will ring!
From the Samuel T. Graves Era to the present day, this bell embodies the immense amount of triumph and strength that this institution has been able to endure. For these reasons, we will ring the bell in honor and support of its historical significance.
Signed, Students Allied to the Movement
DEMANDS OF MOREHOUSE COLLEGE
I. We demand that Morehouse College denounce and sever their support in building the “Public Safety Training Center” in our Atlanta community, which is referred to as “Cop City”.
II. We demand President Thomas dissent, as a Board Member of the Atlanta Committee for Progress, against their support of the creation of Cop City.
III. We call the student body to action. We must advocate for the reallocation of the 30 million of taxpayer dollars to be invested in the Atlanta community.
IV. We demand that President Thomas align himself with these demands and join us to fight against every contribution to over policing.