Student activist organization hosted a panel for alternatives to campus policing

Students for Quality Education members promote using ‘Herky Hates Hogs’ banner


Elizabeth Meza

(R-L) Jenny Ruiz and Lillyana Sanchez, both fourth-year ethnic studies majors, hold a banner near the Sac State Library quad on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. “We wanted something with a little bit of a shock factor,” Sanchez said. “Other SQE chapters at other campuses have more radical artwork, so this is pretty tame in my opinion.”

Elizabeth Meza

The Students for Quality Education organization exhibited a banner that read “Herky Hates Hogs” around the Sac State campus to promote their “Alternatives To Policing” panel on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

The student organization has various chapters in the CSU system and was formed to push forward rights in higher education, according to their website.

SQE student activists distributed flyers to students on campus that read “UPD IS NOT OUR FRIEND” and encouraged people to attend their panel held the following day. The panel consisted of staff, students and a formerly incarcerated student. 

Lilyana Sanchez, a fourth-year ethnic studies major with a concentration in Chicano studies, is one of the student interns who make up Sacramento State’s chapter of SQE. 

“We are hosting a panel discussing the community’s concerns and alternatives to police,” Sanchez said about the poster featuring Herky and the pig. “We wanted something with a little bit of a shock factor. We wanted something that would catch people’s attention.” 

Sanchez said that SQE decided to use the Herky the Hornet mascot in their banner because he is a beloved figure on campus. SQE’s intention, according to her, is to show that they love Sac State and want to improve the campus community. 

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‘Herky Hates Hogs’ Banner used to promote a panel hosted by the Students for Quality Education in front of the University Library on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. The banner displays Herky the Hornet mascot punching a pig wearing a police hat and badge. (Art by JesusxArt (Elizabeth Meza)

Ruby Henderson, a first-year criminal justice major, stopped to look at the banner and admitted to having strong feelings about police presence on campus. 

“There have been many incidents on campus, but where are the police?” Henderson said. “If they are funded to help us, then why aren’t they doing that?”

Recent incidents of crime and assault have brought about an increase in patrol from the Sacramento State Police Department and feelings of anguish among Sac State students this year. 

The State Hornet has reported on multiple sexual assault cases over the past few weeks. In response to these cases, the university will hold a student-led discussion on campus sexual assaults on Nov. 17 at 11 a.m. in the Redwood Room at the University Union, according to a flyer for the town hall. 

“We want those resources for us as students,” Jenny Ruiz, fourth-year ethnic studies major who is also a part of SQE, said. “We pay so much for our education and cops don’t help us out. Why should they have such a huge portion of our budget?”

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Associate Professor in child & adolescent development Kevin Ferriera Van Leer stands outside the University Library on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. “Police have sometimes been weaponized as immigration agents so I find questions about them very difficult,” Ferriera Van Leer said. (Elizabeth Meza)

Associate Professor in Child & Adolescent Development Kevin Ferriera van Leer was one of the people who stopped to ask more about the panel. He said that, for many people of color, the police have played a violent role in their communities.

“I find the questions of police difficult because of the many roles they have played,” Ferriera van Leer said. “I think with police on campus; a robust conversation would be around what that looks like and when people should turn to other resources or turn to the police.”

The panel discussed alternatives to policing and how safe panelists feel with police presence on campus. 

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Third-year political science major Robert Gonzalez stands inside the Academic Information Resource Center on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022. “”These institutions were promised to serve and protect us, but they are not doing what they are promising,” Gonzalez said. (Elizabeth Meza)

One of the panelists, Robert Gonzalez, a third-year political science and international relations major and former participant in ASI government, said that students generally don’t feel safe even with police on campus. 

“With the high rise in crime and women being attacked and assaulted, if the goal was to increase police funding and crime to decrease, the goal is falling short of its promise,” Gonzalez said. “We are seeing time after time that the police budget is not helping students here at Sac State.”

Gonzales added that he believes mental health services are not meeting necessary standards and that the police budget should be equally distributed to help other resources on campus. 

“My alternative is to increase mental health services, involve social work and bring more resources to students who have ideas for alternatives,” Gonzalez said. 

Cristian Gonzalez

During the panel, Ruiz said that the campus needs more transformative and restorative justice in order to move forward.

“Community is my alternative to policing here on campus,” Ruiz said. “Cops are all we know. We need to invest into a society without them.”

Criminal Justice Assistant Professor Alexa Sardina said she would like to see more community-based alternatives implemented to support one another.  

“We need to shift the way we think about what crime is,” Sardina said during the panel. “What can the community do to support all of those people involved?

Among the panelists was a former sac state student, Samual Brown, who said he was racially profiled by campus police when he attended Sac State. Brown shared his experience and thoughts on police presence at Sac State. 

“Why don’t you teach people to be there for one another instead of calling the cops and locking them up?” Brown asked during the panel. “If you just have police that intervene and exacerbate a situation and make the situation worse, then no one is getting help.”

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(L-R CFA Field Representative Janeth Rodriguez, SQE Intern Jenny ruiz, Northern California Student Organizing Coordinator Ade Gutierrez Diaz, CFA Associate Vice President Margarita Berta Avila, SQE intern Lillyana Sanchez, Panelist Samual Brown, Criminal Justice Assistant Professor Alexa Sardina, and Sac State student Robert Gonzalez) CFA representatives and panelists pose together after the “Alternatives to Policing” Panel in the Academic Information Resource Center (AIRC) on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022. (Photo Courtesy: Lillyana Sanchez)

An attendant of the panel, fourth-year sociology major David Garcia, found out about the panel after seeing the SQE banner. He said he wonders why ensuring enough counselors for the student population at Sac State aren’t a higher priority. 

“It was eye opening to the inequalities and injustices that happen on campus,” Garcia asked. “The criminal legal system does not advocate for reform and the health of the people they persecute.” 

Garcia said he doesn’t feel safe with the police presence on campus. He added that the panel was the first opportunity he had heard of that allowed students to voice their concerns over police. 

“For campus police to approach a person of color first is really concerning,” Garcia said.  “What kind of training are they going through? It’s about time that something happens.”