A member of the University of Minnesota’s student government was caught on video imploring her peers to make the lives of police officers “hell” by placing bogus calls for help.
Lauren Meyers is the chief financial officer of the Minnesota Student Association and the co-chair of the Office for Student Affairs Mental Health committee. During a video conference with fellow members of the MSA, Meyers instructed her fellow student government members to use several tactics to “annoy the s*** out of” campus law enforcement.
During the video call, another student asked Meyers, “When you say disrupt UMPD, what exactly do you mean by that?”
Meyers replied, “Make their lives hell. Annoy the s*** out of them. Like, use up their resources, make their officers show up to something.”
Here it is. We received a copy of the video that was deleted from Reddit.#UMN Student Association Rep Lauren Meyers advocates disrupting #UMPD police to “make their lives hell, annoy the sh*t out of them, use up their resources, make their officers show up to something.” #MN pic.twitter.com/DxQD4b0aDE
— CrimeWatchMpls (@CrimeWatchMpls) April 27, 2021
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and Law Enforcement Labor Services issued a joint statement on Tuesday, where the police unions called for an investigation into the situation and warned that making phony 911 calls can be a felony.
“Minnesota law prohibits using emergency calls to report a false emergency or crime, and claims that lead to serious injury or death is a felony publishable by 10 years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $20,000,” the letter reads.
Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association Executive Director Brian Peters added, “Actively planning to thwart UMPD by generating false calls for help is insulting to the overwhelming majority of the campus community that rely on public safety services.”
“Last month the campus community had 13 incidents of aggravated assault, 52 burglaries, 22 car thefts, 4 sexual assaults, numerous thefts, and a murder on or near campus,” Peters continued. “We’re frustrated that elected student leaders would purposefully choose to stir further division to make the campus less safe.”
Law Enforcement Labor Services Executive Director Jim Mortenson said, “Everyone deserves to be safe, and advocating to impede police from assisting victims of crime is mindboggling.”
The police unions called for an outside agency to “conduct a criminal investigation into this incident to determine if charges are warranted.”
Meyers’ comments were reportedly made while MSA members were discussing a recent letter the student government sent to University of Minnesota president Joan Gabel. The letter demands the resignation of University of Minnesota Police Department Chief Matt Clark.
The letter alleges that Clark has failed to increase “campus safety and wellness” for students of color and allowed the “utilization of UMPD as a physical arm of the oppressive state to subjugate and silence community members.”
In the letter, the Minnesota Student Association threatens “direct actions” if “our demands are not met.”
Two members of the University of Minnesota’s student government denounced Meyers’ comments, according to Alpha News.
“We are two members of the Minnesota Student Association (MSA) Executive Board and we wholeheartedly denounce the comments that were made during the April 14, 2021 Executive Board meeting regarding police interference on campus,” students Andrew Knuppel and Morgan McElroy said. “We call upon our fellow student leaders who have stayed silent over the last 72 hours to denounce the comments made in the clip that’s been widely circulating in the media.”
“To achieve any progress on critical campus issues such as police reform and campus safety, elected student leaders should strive to engage with administrators and campus law enforcement collaboratively,” the MSA members added. “The public comments made by our colleague, unintended or otherwise, have cast a dark shadow on what should be a constructive dialogue among elected student government leaders, the student body, administration, and other stakeholders.”
“The University respects the autonomy of the Minnesota Student Association as an independent governance organization for undergraduate students, including the autonomy of its membership to speak freely,” a school spokesperson told Alpha News. “However, in this instance, the University unequivocally disagrees with the ideas expressed about disrupting UMPD’s daily work. These ideas are illegal and would directly conflict with ongoing efforts to keep our campus community safe.”