URBANA — University of Illinois students voted overwhelmingly in favor of a nonbinding referendum to reallocate 25 percent of the UI Police Department’s budget to resources for students, workers and the community, according to preliminary results released Thursday.
Out of 4,160 votes, 78 percent were in favor of the advisory referendum, which also calls for “participatory budgeting” that would allow the community to play a role in setting the police department’s $8.2 million budget and reallocating the funds.
Since the results are nonbinding, Defund UIPD organizers hoped to use the vote to put pressure on the administration and board of trustees.
The organizers are also in favor of abolishing the police department, but said they called for a 25 percent reallocation as a starting point.
Organizers did not immediately comment on the results.
UI police spokesman Pat Wade said last week that the department doesn’t take a position on student advisory referendums, but “we have efforts underway to engage in dialogue about how UIPD can best serve the campus community and the greater Champaign-Urbana community.”
“This is one part of a broader conversation we are having here and throughout the nation about how we keep people safe,” he said. “We are listening, and we intend to be among our community leaders who are forging a path forward that works for all people.”
Turnout was down during this year’s election, which happened over two days last week.
Students also voted this year to renew fees for the Krannert Center and Collegiate Readership and in support of an advisory referendum asking whether the UI should establish a department to assist undocumented students.