Abolition May

Abolition May is a month-long series of actions on campuses across Turtle Island to demand the removal of ALL campus police. Abolition May begins with a call for a nationwide day of refusal on May 3rd, 2021.

Withdrawal signifies full work stoppage including virtual work and email response (auto-reply template available); non-attendance of classes; and other forms of labor withdrawal. The month’s actions will culminate on May 25, in commemoration of the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by members of the Minneapolis police department.

Inspired by tens of thousands of workers who have walked off the job to protest anti-Black police violence in recent years, we take up the call for police abolition on our campuses, joining more than forty campuses across Turtle Island in demanding an end to campus policing. Historically and in the present, campus police departments have brutalized students and surveilled and assaulted activists while enforcing racialized campus borders; colleges and universities, both public and private, have also played a violent and continuous role in global U.S. policing projects. You can learn more about the Cops Off Campus campaign here and here.

Transnational Day of Refusal

On May 3, a coalition of campaigns across Turtle Island, from the east coast to the west and in between, ask you to honor a picket line by absenting yourself from class and otherwise withholding your labor in support of the demand to abolish all campus police

Honoring the picket line could mean: 

  • Joining the picket line on your campus; 
  • Canceling or refusing to attend a synchronous class;
  • Refusing to watch asynchronous lectures;
  • Refusing to pre-record a class or prepare other materials for later asynchronous use;
  • Refusing to engage in other forms of university-based labor, including email response;
  • Protecting any students, colleagues, and workers from retaliation;
  • Attending a regional walkout action. 

Month of Direct Actions

Following our collective day of action, campus abolition organizations across Turtle Island are participating in local direct actions of their choosing. We suggest:

  • Banner painting culminating in banner drop from highly visible buildings
  • Repurpose Your School’s Cafeteria & Serve the Food to People in Need
  • Squat Your School’s Residences & House Folks in Need of Housing
  • March to Your Chancellor’s House & Let Them Know How You Feel
  • Redecorate your campus police station
  • Letter writing to send your demands to admin/alumni/donors
  • Teach-in with abolitionist speaker
  • Paint/print posters and wheat paste them across campus
  • Publish op-ed in campus/local newspaper amplifying the national group → should pair with a more visible action that operates outside of the “university’s language” 
  • Public “Town Hall” without admin
    • can even symbolically invite your target, and have an effigy of them “present”
    • bring in organizers & people from the community who have experiences with campus cops, etc. 
    • can be theatrically held outside admin buildings
  • Create memorial for victims of police violence, local and/or national
  • Zine distribution → should pair with a more visible action for political education
  • Mutual aid drive for people who need resources in the community surrounding your institution 
  • Street puppet theater performance (e.g. targeting trustees, police, key villains)
  • Walking tour of past police/university violence in the community

If you want to join, please check out our Abolition May toolkit (or the text-only version of the Abolition May toolkit), and sign up for a date and action with our Abolition May signup form (once per campus)!

We have followed up with sample messaging to send to your friends and colleagues, your instructors and your students, to coworkers and administrators. Please follow the COCC campaign on social media (TwitterInstagram, and TikTok) and see suggestions below for circulating this announcement as well as additional links.

We are stronger together. Honoring this picket line supports both a long history and a present moment of necessary action toward a safer, freer world. Join us!


"cops off campus coalition" written in a cursive script and a light cream color