HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — UConn students from across the state rallied on the steps of the State Capitol Saturday calling to defund UConn police.

Students held up signs that read “Who do you protect — Who do you serve?” Protesters say students have posted personal testimonies online about their bad experiences with the UCPD.

So, instead of a police department, students would like to see UConn reinvest all $17 million of the department’s budget; half into student mental health services and the other half into preventing COVID-19 related austerity cuts to workers, graduate students, and faculty.

The rally comes one day after UConn President Tom Katsouleas issued a four-page letter disagreeing with their stance to defund the police.

UConn student Michael Christy said, “UCPD has a history of failing to protect students on campuses and specifically Black and brown students on campuses, and because they fail to protect us and with the climate of our society now, with police brutality, we are asking for alternative solutions in protecting our students.”

In the letter, UConn’s President says he is taking recent complaints about police engagement seriously. He also says he has been having discussions around redeveloping funds for mental health services.