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University cancels Force Science Institute training event after community backlash

Community members called the event description’s language ‘disturbing’

By Amanda Lien

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State University canceled a police training event after backlash from groups that claim the training promotes police brutality.

The training, planned by the Force Science Institute and hosted by OSU police, was scheduled for March 12-13, WBNS reports. In an event post that has since been deleted, the description said the training would provide “science-backed facts about some of the most controversial force issues,” according to The Lantern.

Community groups started a petition to stop the training calling the language of the event description “disturbing.” As of Wednesday evening, the petition had more than 480 signatures, WBNS reports.

OSU spokesperson Dan Hedman told WBNS the training was canceled over the weekend. The university released a statement saying, “Safety, inclusion and a sense of belonging are top priorities at Ohio State. We see this as the start of an important dialogue and a learning opportunity.”

Force Science Institute is staffed by psychologists, lawyers, behavioral scientists and physicians, with 18 training sessions scheduled across the country for the remainder of this year.

In a statement emailed to WBNS, Force Science Institute said representatives were “disappointed by Ohio State’s decision” to cancel the training, but “respect their desire to work with the consent and trust of their student community.”

“Ohio State students may not have realized that Force Science concepts are not limited to law enforcement,” the statement continued. “This same research is vital to understanding and supporting some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. When self-defense becomes necessary in domestic violence or sexual assault cases, Force Science research and training prepares investigators to expertly assess the threats faced by these victims and compassionately judge the reasonableness of their responses.”

Read: How cops can help citizens better understand police use of force

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