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With supporters hoping for 2021 run for Seattle mayor, attorney and activist Nikkita Oliver to teach course on ‘police and prison abolition’ at Seattle U

Seattle University has announced it is adding attorney and activist Nikkita Oliver to its faculty roster this spring to teach the school’s young would-be lawyers a course on “police and prison abolition.”

Don’t worry if you’re hopeful Oliver might make another bid for the Seattle mayor’s office — Seattle U’s policies won’t preclude the Seattle University School of Law adjunct faculty member making a 2021 run for city hall.

Oliver declined to comment on the 2021 race. “When the time is right, I will answer questions related to a mayoral campaign,” Oliver said.

All candidates for the 2021 election must file by the week of May 17th,

“Laws were not created in a vacuum of objectivity and justice. They were created within the social and historical context of the society and country in which we live,” Oliver says about the new course in the school’s announcement. “A country, which at its root, is white supremacist, patriarchal, and classist. These oppressive roots have infected the entire tree and its fruits teach us that the law and justice are not the same thing.”

The Seattle U announcement describes abolition as “an unusual concept to teach in law school.”

“The concept of abolition is rooted in the early 19th century movement to abolish chattel slavery in the United States,” it reads. “In a modern context, it has come to include abolition of what many civil rights leaders see as the current, evolved version of slavery – the criminal punishment system, including mass incarceration and the death penalty.”

Seattle U says the 30-person course will cover abolition history, theory, and practice with racial justice “a prominent theme of the course, since prison incarceration disproportionately affects Black, brown, and indigenous communities, as well as queer and trans communities of color.”

Oliver’s addition comes as Seattle U has been occasionally targeted in recent months by anti-police protest and property damage. The school maintains close ties with the Seattle Police Department including the annual survey process collecting neighborhood perceptions on public safety run by Seattle University’s Crime & Justice Research Center.

Oliver, meanwhile, helped form the Seattle Peoples Party and represented the group running for mayor in 2017. Oliver missed out in the top two primary and watched as Jenny Durkan defeated Cary Moon to win the seat. Oliver has continued to lead opposition to efforts like the new youth jail and became a leading voice this summer as Black Lives Matter protests called for defunding the city’s police department. Still, Mayor Durkan left Oliver and other defund leaders like representatives of King County Equity Now off the roster of those invited to be part of her Equitable Communities Initiative Task Force, a group Durkan’s office said would “spearhead a community-led process” to allocate “a historic $100 million new investment in Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities” and “address the deep disparities caused by systemic racism and institutionalized oppression.”

CHS asked Seattle U about any limitations their newest faculty member might face in the new job if an Oliver for Mayor campaign is launched.

School officials responded with a copy of Seattle U’s “Policy on Political Campaign Activities” which appears not to prohibit school faculty and staff from mounting political campaigns. “Faculty,staff, Trustees and volunteers are prohibited from using University resources to engage in political activities in support of, or in opposition to, a political candidate or ballot initiative,” a portion of the policy reads, meaning Oliver can’t use the school’s email, for example, for a political campaign. But a faculty member’s own time and resources? Those are fair game. “Faculty and staff may engage in political activities during their own personal time and with their own personal resources,” the policy document reads.

Durkan’s announcement that she will not seek reelection after finishing her single term this year has thrown 2021 Seattle politics wide open with both of the council’s citywide positions and the mayor’s office up for grabs.

So far when it comes to the mayor’s desk, Seattle’s biggest political names are waiting on the sidelines.


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The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
1 month ago

We are so blessed to have this person in our city! Would vote for them again!

Derek
Derek
1 month ago

Everything wrong with the city.

Derek
Derek
1 month ago

The literal last person we need in any leadership position. Seattle had the highest murder rate in 26 years, but let’s abolish the police. Genius.

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
1 month ago
Reply to  Derek

I think you’re confused. The police don’t prevent crimes, they respond to them afterward and often don’t do that either. I’m not sure what the city office for crime foresight and action would be. I don’t think it exists.

Whichever
Whichever
1 month ago

No one said they prevent crime, but keep repeating that old trope. If a criminal knows the local PD is unlikely to catch them during or after their crime, they are more likely to continue to commit crimes. I know, it’s crazy – like if you know you aren’t gonna get caught, maybe do more things.

SaMa
SaMa
1 month ago

Police prevent crime by locking up people who commit so they can’t do it again. That’s a major pillar of crime prevention that works extremely well everywhere on this planet.

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
1 month ago
Reply to  SaMa

<em>Police prevent crime by locking up people who commit so they can’t do it again. That’s a major pillar of crime prevention that works extremely well everywhere on this planet.</em>

Sure, if you gloss over the US’s recidivism rate of 55%, which is one of the highest in the world.

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
1 month ago
Reply to  SaMa

Poverty causes most of the “scary” crime average people worry about. Our soulless society runs people into the ground to yield its profits, leaving a huge population underserved and without the means to live in a consumer economy, to which there is no alternative. Police, at best, mitigate some of these issues in the immediate sense. We need to be very honest about how impoverished humans are a waste product of our industrial consumer economy.

Derek
Derek
1 month ago

TGOCH – Poverty actually doesn’t cause crime. Of course, if you are starving, yes. Nobody actually starves to death in the US.

Comparative poverty, however, is a major contributor to crime. That is why you don’t see crime happening in less wealthy countries at a higher rate than a wealthy country. There is a floor on that, but it is is a proven psychological phenomena. All things being equal, a person who makes $2,000 a month in an area where the average income is $2,000 is less likely to commit a crime as opposed to a person who makes $2,000 when the average income in the area is $50,000.

You are a far left ideologue and really need to take a look at the facts behind what your beliefs are and why you happen to believe in everything that your politicians do.

As Carl Jung said, “people don’t have ideas, ideas have people.”

RWK
RWK
1 month ago

“Poverty” is not an excuse for crime. The vast majority of poor people do not commit crimes…..they manage to get by without resorting to criminal activity.

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
1 month ago
Reply to  SaMa

Police apprehend people at best and deliver them to the “justice system”. The courts, jails and prisons do the work you’re referring to.

Russ
Russ
1 month ago

You keep repeating this “police don’t prevent crimes” as if it’s a trump card. Accountability helps prevent crime through deterrence and removing habitual offenders from society for rehabilitation or treatment. The police are a critical part of the accountability system. I’m totally onboard for reforms, alternative forms of accountability that have been proven to work, etc. Two Seattle horrors this week – woman who got her face broken while gardening in a random attack and a woman murdered in Seward park – both cases the police arrested a suspect through police work – why are you trying to get rid of accountability? Don’t these people deserve justice?

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
1 month ago
Reply to  Russ

I heard about that! There’s video too and there was another victim too of the same person. Terrible.

I guess I would just ask what justice is? Apprehension and a court proceeding with a small amount of jail time, perhaps paying the medical bills of the victims (if they can even afford that)? Is that justice? There are other ideas of “justice” out there for sure but I’m assuming the contemporary civil one is the one most of us imagine.

Do you trust the police to apprehend this person? Have they yet?

While that civic’s 101 example is playing out the police remain an actual roving force of violence covered in body armor in armored vehicles openly antagonizing civilians.. They escalate situations with civilians to the point of homicide very often. Where’s the crime prevention? Where’s the “justice”? They also like to put things on TV all the time and ask for our help in identifying suspects.. I didn’t know I worked for the police. If only I had the resources the police have, maybe I too could solve crimes and deliver “justice” although it doesn’t seem to get them over the finish line either.. hmm..

Russ
Russ
1 month ago

The police apprehended suspects in both cases – the random attack and the murder. I’m very open to alternative forms of justice beyond just prison time and then letting the person back out. We need a justice system that attempts to address the root cause whether thats job skills, drug treatment, mental health treatment, etc. Those things should not be voluntary if you have committed a crime like randomly attacking a woman on the street and when things aren’t voluntary you are always going to need a way of exercising force which the police department fulfills. I’m also in favor of reforming the police department, eliminating the old guard who are milking the city for 200-300k per year, we need to refresh leadership and hire new officers under that new culture.

caphiller
caphiller
1 month ago

What is the proposed alternative policy for punishment of criminals after we “abolish prisons”? Sounds like a slogan that will go down with voters like a lead balloon.

CHqueer
CHqueer
1 month ago

They are an extremist and nihilist. All they accomplished with the abolish the police/legalize crime movement was to turn off allies of police reform and undermine the blue wave that should have tossed out Trump and the Republicans in a landslide election.

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
1 month ago
Reply to  CHqueer

Let them run these nutcases… I’d *much* rather see a person with pretty much zero chance of winning who’s already laid out their positions clearly run than to end up with more people like Lisa Herbold who ran on a platform of adding more police and now is one of the loudest supporters of defund and the one who tried to sneak in the legislation that would make it easier to let criminals go with no consequences…. People like her may seem reasonable and can actually win races, then do a complete 180… makes it hard to trust any candidate to actually do what they’ve run for. I hope her district holds her accountable the next time around and don’t simply vote her in again because she’s the incumbent.

Xoomer
Xoomer
1 month ago

I am so happy they decided to run again! Nikita’s tireless activism and community ties are what’s needed to bring this city together.

yetanotherhiller
yetanotherhiller
1 month ago
Reply to  Xoomer

No doubt the Downtown Seattle Association and Chamber of Commerce are hoping she runs. Her presence in the race will guarantee that their candidate wins.

p-patch
p-patch
1 month ago

The far-left has many of the same problems the far-right does; primarily an inability to actually make policies and get things done. They’re both great at rhetoric, like Sawant’s “Defeat the Right Wing Recall” campaign, but they completely miss reality. Civilization requires laws and laws require enforcement. Brand this liberal as right wing if you want, but it doesn’t change reality one bit.

F. G.
F. G.
1 month ago
Reply to  p-patch

$15 minimum wage, Emergency Bans on Evictions, the Payroll tax, I dunno man, I think it is fair to say the progressives at City Hall got what they (and their voters) wanted…isn’t that how Democracy works? And the other agendas? Maybe next time ;).

P-oatch
P-oatch
1 month ago
Reply to  F. G.

Here’s my point. It wasn’t Sawant and the 15 Now plan that passed. We have a $15 minimum because of a phased, compromise measure. That’s governance. When Oliver says “abolish police and prisons” there’s no wiggle room. You’re right about democracy and I’m willing to bet the “reform police” candidates will do a lot better than the “no police” ones. ;)

Eddddddd
Eddddddd
1 month ago
Reply to  F. G.

Well, the $15 minimum wage had broad support, including from the mayor at the time. Wasn’t exactly “far left”.

More and more, people like Sawant and Oliver just seem like Trumpist-left to me. Unable to see anything from any point of view other than what they’ve brainwashed themselves to believe. Only too happy to spew lies (because no one here will call them on it).

What’s the difference between Mike Solan claiming Antifa were involved at the capitol riot, and Sawant claiming all the shootings in CHOP were caused white supremacists? Not much. Both care a lot more about ideology than they do about the truth and solving problems. Oliver isn’t much better from what I’ve seen.

Whichever
Whichever
1 month ago

For the love of <insert deity here>, can literally anyone else run. Mike Solan might be only marginally better, but ffs, he’d be better than her.

KRM
KRM
1 month ago

So the USA’s democracy is waning, the global warming cliff is fast approaching, and politicians are only interested in egotistical identity politics and not what’s best for everyone. I think 2020 is probably going to be the best year of this decade.

Jon
Jon
1 month ago

I love Nikitta! Would vote for them in a heartbeat.

RWK
RWK
1 month ago

Oh great, Seattle U is enabling Oliver to brainwash 30 young idealists into her far-left ideology……just what we need….not!

She would be a disaster as Mayor. Her leftist radicalism is not in tune with what the majority of Seattleites want.

CHqueer
CHqueer
1 month ago
Reply to  RWK

I was thinking the same thing. It is disturbing that Seattle U is platforming and legitimizing an ideological zealot to radicalize students. They have done the same with homelessness.

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
1 month ago
Reply to  RWK

<em>Oh great, Seattle U is enabling Oliver to brainwash 30 young idealists into her far-left ideology……just what we need….not!
She would be a disaster as Mayor. Her leftist radicalism is not in tune with what the majority of Seattleites want.</em>

Wow, you really pwned those darn radical leftist libs! Your old MyNorthwest commenteers would be proud of you, Pookie!

Careful you don’t pull a hammy on your perpetual, lib-pwning victory lap!

Jack
Jack
1 month ago
Reply to  Fairly Obvious

I’m a lefty, and she’s a one topic wing nut, the last thing you’d want representing everyone. I don’t see why public offices can’t be about everyone vs specific groups in either party these days.

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack

I’m not commenting on Oliver, I’m poking fun at RWK continually making posts that make it clear that they do not care for anything they consider left wing or liberal.

RWK doesn’t appear to understand basic fundamental political ideologies beyond a simple “left wing/liberal = bad”, but they don’t really know why they think that. Basically Rush Limbaugh 101, which was typical of MyNorthwest commenters before they shut the comment section down.

Derek
Derek
1 month ago
Reply to  RWK

Exactly. She is an ideologue and the exact type of person who will enable and push this city further down the rabbit hole of crime, homelessness, filth and higher taxes with zero to show for it.

Fairly Obvious. Nice ad hominem.

CHqueer. Love your posts.

Franklyn
Franklyn
1 month ago

A good idea to add this perspective. My concern would be Oliver’s ability to accept counter points from students and not lower their grade or flunk them if the don’t agree completely with her position.

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
1 month ago
Reply to  Franklyn

In college you generally get to pick your classes and thus professors….. Unless they are coming in from far away and no absolutely nothing about her, it seems unlikely that anyone who disagrees with her views would knowingly or willingly sign up for her class – not to mention the title of it alone is likely to tip them off. She’ll likely end up with classrooms full of those who are already adoring fans.

Karl Liebknecht
Karl Liebknecht
1 month ago

Couple thoughts on this:

  1. This just saved me having to renew my $250 gift to Seattle U…sorry!
  2. Oliver is nuts.
MarciaX
MarciaX
1 month ago

Oliver has a good understanding of racial dynamics as they pertain to law enforcement and I appreciate that about her, but I really think we need someone who also has deep first-hand knowledge of urban governance and Seattle’s specific challenges in that area. I’m not saying I won’t support her (that depends largely on who else runs) but I’d feel a lot better about her becoming mayor if she ran for and served on the council first.