Wooster Students Protest “Cop City” in Atlanta

Audrey Pantaz, Contributing Writer

On Thursday, Feb. 23, several Wooster students stood or sat  the entire day in Kauke Hall’s Delmar Archway. The students occupied the Arch in solidarity with peaceful protests throughout the country. These protests were a response to plans for the construction of a police training facility in Georgia known as “Cop City.” Atlanta officials introduced plans to build the facility following Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta mayor from 2018-2022, supported the facility, believing it to support police reform. The facility will projectively cost $90 million and destroy 85 acres of DeKalb County forest. The installation has been widely opposed for various reasons, mainly environmental. In close proximity to the South River, the compound’s construction would destroy much of the forest in DeKalb County, potentially polluting the South River. There are also concerns that the facility will exacerbate over-policing in Atlanta, which is already one of the most heavily policed cities in the U.S. 

Protesters nicknamed the facility “Cop City” due to plans which include a fake city for police trainees to learn an “urban environment.” Peaceful protests emerged in Atlanta,  in the two years since “Cop City’s” initial proposition. On Jan. 18, 2023, the protest turned violent, as  Police killed a young environmental activist, Tortuguita, after they refused to comply with police orders to remove their encampment and then allegedly shot at a state trooper. Widespread outrage and mourning over the activist’s death sparked more protests in Atlanta and nationally,  earlier this year. These vigils and protests have resulted in the arrests of many activists in the Atlanta area after protesters clashed with police.

The event was publicized around campus on posters as a way to “show solidarity with the forest.” Cody Clark ’25, took part in organizing the protest, sharing that “there’s a lot of students from the Atlanta area, and I want to make sure everybody knows about [the movement] and how to act on it.” Protesters continuously sat in the Arch in shifts from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. While sitting, protestors spread awareness to passing students and wrote letters to incarcerated Atlanta protesters. Clark shared that the most impactful part of the protest to them was when “a class came out and wrote a collective letter to an incarcerated land defender.” When asked about next steps, Clark expressed “I would like to see an acknowledgement from the Wooster higher-ups, just to show that they are paying attention to the things that their students care about.” There has been no acknowledgement of the protest from the Wooster administration since Thursday.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: