U of M president ‘Driven to Discover’ need for Minneapolis police a year after reducing ties

University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel has taken the institution’s tagline “Driven to Discover” to heart in a whole new way. A year after precipitously reducing ties with the Minneapolis Police Department following the death of George Floyd, Gabel was “driven to discover” over the weekend the students and staff under her care very much need the presence and protection of the MPD after all.

Gabel’s awakening came following a shootout in Dinkytown that left five wounded, including three U of M students. It’s the latest in a series of violent incidents the Star Tribune notes that have put the Minneapolis campus on edge for months.

Five people were shot and wounded Friday in Minneapolis’ Dinkytown neighborhood, the latest incident in a spring full of violent crime near the University of Minnesota…

Other recent crimes in the U area have included numerous violent robberies, mostly of cellphones. A man died of a gunshot wound in March.

May brought nine robberies, seven accompanied by assault, as well as one attempted robbery and one aggravated assault, according to the U’s Department of Public Safety. At least a few involved guns.

Cellphones were taken, and sometimes cellphones alone, in all of the robberies.

The steadily deteriorating security situation has put more pressure than ever on the University of Minnesota Police Department. But as American Experiment previously detailed, the campus police force has also come under criticism from the rabidly anti-cop leaders of the student government demanding the firing of Police Chief Matthew Clark.

“Matt Clark has repeatedly and unequivocally disregarded student demands, failed to increase campus wellness and safety for students of color, and has allowed the utilization of UMPD as a physical arm of the oppressive state to subjugate and silence community members both on and off campus. In his 29 years of police experience, none of his projects, aspirations, or accomplishments have aligned with the advancement of underrepresented communities or police reform.”

Despite the activists’ criticism, Gabel left Clark in charge of the increasingly shaky security on and near campus. While the university never stopped depending on the MPD for joint patrols and investigations, the need for reinforcements became glaringly obvious following the heavily publicized shootings in Dinkytown.

By Monday, the university president had not only flip flopped on her previous policy of distancing the U from Minneapolis police but took the working relationship to a new level in what amounted to an emergency update to students and staff.

Our thoughts and support go out to those impacted and, as we await the outcome of the investigation, we know we must do more to address crime in the surrounding neighborhoods.

We have spent the weekend coordinating with the City of Minneapolis and the MPD. Effective immediately:

MPD officers will be much more present and visible during the late night hours.

UMPD will assign additional officers, on overtime, to Dinkytown and Marcy-Holmes neighborhood

The UMPD and MPD will be installing mobile cameras in Dinkytown and in the immediate areas.

Gabel’s newly enlightened views and bow to reality represented by the MPD cannot come soon enough for one concerned student interviewed by KSTP-TV.

Noah Burton recently transferred to the university but says he’s already witnessed gun violence near campus.

“I noticed at night it gets a little sketchy, my first week here, I was walking down the street right in front of Bierman and I saw somebody run out of one of the houses over here, I guess he got shot,” Burton recalls.