Following backlash from students and faculty, Penn announced it will no longer support the Philadelphia Police Foundation in the form of purchasing tickets to attend fundraising events. The University has also commissioned an independent review of Penn's Division of Public Safety.
Penn President Amy Gutmann, Provost Wendell Pritchett, and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli announced in an email to the Penn community on Wednesday morning that the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at Penn Law School will review Penn DPS safety and security programs using a systematic and data-driven approach. Recommendations based on the analysis and review will be shared with the University community once completed, the email read.
The Quattrone Center is a national research and policy hub created to further structural change in the United States criminal justice system, according to its website.
More than 13,000 students, faculty, and Philadelphia community members have signed a petition created on May 31 demanding the University cease its institutional support of the Philadelphia Police Department and end militarized policing on campus.
Penn, Temple University, Comcast, and Wawa are among a group of corporations that have raised money for the Philadelphia Police Foundation, which is often used to fund the purchase of militarized equipment used by the Philadelphia Police Department, according to database LittleSis.
Although the Philadelphia Police Foundation does not publicly disclose its donors, it uses its corporate partners in fundraising efforts for its police forces, according to LittleSis. During the Foundation's annual gala, sponsorship from $5,000 to $25,000 are donated by corporations on its webpage listing. This year's gala sponsors include Penn, Comcast, Bank of America, and other corporations.
Penn students and graduates have suffered injuries inflicted by the Philadelphia Police Department during Black Lives Matter protests. One graduate told The Daily Pennsylvanian an officer knocked her front teeth out using a metal baton while she was helping other protesters get to safety on May 30.
"We forthrightly acknowledge the situation we as a society find ourselves in today," the email read. "There are some police departments that do not properly train their officers in conflict resolution, de-escalation, cultural awareness, and other forms of education that must always govern professional police response."
Operating under a $27 million budget, Penn houses the largest private police department in Pennsylvania with 121 full-time members, and has the second largest number of full-time police officers among all private universities across the country. The Penn Police Department serves within the Penn patrol jurisdiction of 30th Street to 43rd Street, and Market Street to Baltimore Avenue.
“Penn is absolutely committed to ensuring that those all-too-common problems never take root in our Division of Public Safety and to learning what can be done better so that every member of our community is fairly treated and fully respected,” the email read.
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