Brown University Students Speak Out Against Atlanta’s ‘Cop City’

Students, alumni, and faculty at Brown released an open letter denouncing the controversial police training facility after a fellow alum was arrested while protesting.
1 min read

Share this Article

  • Atlanta's Public Safety Training Center, known by its opponents as "Cop City," has faced notable backlash in local communities since 2021.
  • In March, an alum of Brown University and current law student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was arrested while protesting the facility.
  • In response, more than 500 students, alumni, faculty, and staff from Brown released an open letter in support of their fellow alum.

Students across the country are continuing to speak out in protest of Atlanta's controversial police training facility, which is in the beginning stages of construction.

The $90 million, 85-acre facility known as "Cop City" has drawn significant backlash from local historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and community members since it was first announced in 2021.

Now, more than 500 students, alumni, and faculty at Brown University have released an open letter to profess their solidarity with the latest round of protesters who were arrested at the site and to denounce the presence of "Cop City."

On March 5, University of North Carolina (UNC) law student Jamie Marsicano and 22 others were arrested on domestic terrorism charges while protesting at the facility's construction site.

Though Marsicano was released on bail and prosecutors still say there is no video evidence of her on the scene, she was barred from attending classes in person or via Zoom.

Mariscano's peers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were quick to protest the institution's decision and its assessment of Marsicano as a "threat to campus." Despite these efforts, she continues to be prohibited from school.

Marsicano is also an alum of Brown University, and when her peers at the institution became aware of her arrest, they issued their own statement of support.

"As Brown University community members, we are appalled at the absurd charges made against our fellow alumna and co-defendants," the letter reads. "We will continue to apply pressure until the charges are dropped."

Members of the Brown community who signed the letter say they refuse to acknowledge the charges of domestic terrorism and state that they stand in solidarity with the Atlanta communities who are against "Cop City."

Further, the letter states its support for "an end to the criminalization of protest, especially for those protesting for Black lives and those defending environmental justice, land, and water."

Why Higher Ed Keeps Speaking Out Against 'Cop City'

Though the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center is only in its first phase of construction, its presence has already impacted college students and communities.

Once fully built, the facility will sit just 10 miles from the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC), home to four local HBCUs.

The community in which it will be located has a long history of police brutality against Black and brown individuals, including college students.

Those who oppose its presence are concerned that the center will only increase negative interactions and instances of brutality between police and minorities.

Opponents of "Cop City" have additional concerns about the environmental impacts that will be sustained from it being built. This is due to the significant number of trees that will be cut down to make space for the center.

College students have never been strangers to social activism, and most believe that fighting for social justice drives change.

For many students, and other individuals in higher education, "Cop City" addresses numerous topics they want to see changes to, from issues of racial and environmental justice to policing tactics.

Despite unremitting protests from individuals in and outside of Atlanta, the city has been undeterred and has continued to move forward with building plans.

But college students aren't backing down and are likely to continue making their voices heard.