Prospect of Arming Campus Police at CCRI Draws Opposition

Monday, April 17, 2017


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CCRI will seek community input on arming campus police, and the RI ACLU has already weighed in.

The Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) is poised to hold campus conversations in the fall on whether to arm campus police - or not - and one statewide group is already opposed.

As GoLocal reported in March, the prospect of arming campus police was broached at a recent CCRI “Health and Safety Committee” meeting. 

Now, the ACLU of Rhode Island is already speaking out against the arming of campus police, after those meeting minutes showed that the administration is considering making such a move, contingent on the input of the college community.

A letter sent from RI ACLU Executive Director Steve Brown to President Meghan Hughes, obtained by GoLocalProv, details the civil liberties group's concerns with arming of police at the community college.

“In this brief letter, I would like to make just a few points as to why we oppose this prospect,” wrote Brown.

* Arming police officers can change the environment of a campus in negative ways.

* Good people with guns were present at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, and at MIT. In two of these situations, armed officers lost their lives. The introduction of weapons simply does not guarantee safety. 

SEE Full Letter BELOW

Campus Conversation Planned

An email from Hughes to the CCRI community send on Friday stated that “many colleges and universities across New England and around the country have engaged their respective communities in discussions about whether or not to arm campus police.”

Hughes wrote:

This fall, we will begin a dialogue with our college, our host communities, and local and state law enforcement that will inform the decision of whether or not to arm our college police. We know that this decision is a significant one for our college, and we ask that you engage with us in a thoughtful dialogue when we welcome back students and faculty in the fall.

Beginning in September, we will ask for your involvement through:

• Faculty and staff open forums
• Student open forums
• On-line opportunities for input

This feedback from students, faculty, and staff will be a critical part of the deliberations as the CCRI Environmental Health and Safety Committee and then President’s Council develop recommendations on whether or not to arm our police.

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