Texas State student government weighs 'dissolving' University Police Department

Following the arrests of a group of students on the Texas State University campus last week, the student government is weighing a piece of legislation calling for the dissolution of the university’s police department.

On May 1, Texas State University announced an "outside group" was reportedly planning to demonstrate on campus so they would be enhancing the police presence that day.

"The police officers had knocked my comrade to the ground really violently. My comrade was on the floor flat, not moving complying and at this point I began to record," said student Mena Yasmin last Wednesday after a group of students were arrested on campus.

This week, senior and student senator Claudia Gasponi looks back at that day and the additional officers on campus.

"Which turned out to be not a good thing since they ended up being the real threat and assaulted a lot of students," Gasponi said. 

That outside group was the controversial "Texas Nomads" according to students. The University says the group never showed, but Gasponi insists some of them did.

"Most of the students on campus were like 'we need to do something regardless of if they come or not, what time they come,'" Gasponi said.

According to a statement from Texas State University Police Chief Laurie Clouse, as students gathered on 'the quad,' one student took the hat off of another student's head, a "Make America Great Again" hat according to some students.

Clouse says the student refused officer's directives to return the hat. The student was later arrested after giving a false identity to police.

Three more students were arrested including Gasponi.

"After they grabbed me, I pulled my arm away then two other officers grabbed me and started assaulting me more,” she said. “They yelled at me to stop resisting and I said 'Resisting what?  Am I under arrest?" 

Gasponi was charged with resisting arrest, search or transportation and interference with public duties.

Texas State President Denise Trauth released a short video statement.  

"We're going to have people all along the political spectrum but what's important is that we talk to each other, we come up with important and inclusive activities and we try to heal this divide," Trauth said.

Clouse says an initial review indicates the officers involved acted appropriately with the goal of preventing further escalation.

"I saw the text response from the police department, it is riddled with lies," Gasponi said.

On Wednesday night, the student government is holding an "Emergency Senate Meeting" to address student concerns after the arrests.

Gasponi's piece of legislation is called "The removal of excessive and abusive policing, calling for the dissolution of the University Police Department."

Stormi Rodriguez, president of the Texas State chapter of conservative group "Turning Point USA" tweeted "Someone teach Senator Gasponi exactly what is in her powers as a Texas State Student Government Senator."  She added "This is getting ridiculous."

When asked if she had any regrets about last week, Gasponi responded, “If I had known how racist this school was, I probably would never have come here.”