A Los Angeles-based advocacy group raising student awareness against police brutality were warned by CSUN police Thursday afternoon near Sierra Walk about their permit-use to organize on campus.
After speaking to students about the injustice of mass incarceration and police brutality, Diego Massimo, member of the group Stop Mass Incarceration, was approached by the police. The group has been present at CSUN for a couple years and have outreached to other universities around Los Angeles, according to Massimo.
Students shared disbelief after police questioned the organization’s permit to organize.
“I was in shock; why do we need the police here just to have this conversation,” said student Sydney Carroll, 19. “They took a picture, weren’t supportive and [now] I don’t feel comfortable on this campus.”
Both the Matador Involvement Center and CSUN Police Department representative Christina Villalobos told the Sundial that the permit requirement is for safety and timing issues involving all organizations on campus.
Amina Gonzalez, organizer of Stop Mass Incarceration, contested the permit requirement.
“When have you ever needed a permit to to talk about reality or the truth for the whole good?” Gonzalez said. “What is free speech? We have people like Trump using free speech, and here we are getting our rights spewed.”
Gonzalez handed out pamphlets labeled “Stop Police Terror!” and informed students about the #RiseUpOctober march in Los Angeles and the national march in New York City on Oct. 24.
She added that student organizations, like fraternities and sororities, are able to table right across from them without police question. According to Venab Afooabi, a representative at the Matador Involvement Center, any organization is required to have a permit to organize anywhere on campus.
CSUN student, Tyra Wallace, 19, questioned the system.
“People in Greek have a history of hazing and yet are still here tabling,” Wallace said. “How is that fair when students are scared to mobilize against criminalized institutions who have taken the lives of people of color?”
Portraits of recent victims of police brutality were also being displayed by the group, including pictures of Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner and more.