Criticism on armed officers continues with PSUSU event series

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Bob Heye from KATU (far left) captures the words of PSU Student Union members Will Peterson (center), Alyssa Pagan (right) at the Oct. 21 #DisarmPSU rally in the South Park Blocks. Jaime Dunkle/PSUVanguard

The debate on armed campus security continues with an upcoming Portland State University Student Union event series.

“Campus Security: Why They’re Armed and What’s Weird About It” is more of an educational function, according to organizer and PSU Student Union member Sheena Sisk. The event will be held in the PSU Multicultural Center on Tuesday, Nov. 10 from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Aside from the presentation about the #DisarmPSU campaign’s focus on racial profiling and other concerns on the Campus Public Safety Office armament, attendees will have small-group discourse.

The process from pre-implementation to campus safety officer deputization will be dissected.

“The main goal is to give people all of the background information, [who] aren’t familiar with the issue,” Sisk said.

Statistics and data will be presented via a social justice lens, according to Sisk.

“Like what law enforcement means to different identities and how they interact with different social issues,” Sisk said.

CPSO Police Chief Phillip Zerzan was asked in a previous interview—for the “Officers among us” article—what he would say to people who feel less safe now that members of CPSO are armed.

“I would say, ‘Why? Why?’ I would say: ‘Come talk to me, and the officers,’” Zerzan said. “I would say that that narrative is not consistent with the folks we have on campus and the vision that the entire university community has on what they want campus law enforcement to look like.”

CPSO will take three years to be fully deputized, which will facilitate 12 armed officers, 10 unarmed security officers and one police detective.

PSU Student Union has rallied against armed officers at PSU numerous times since before the implementation was in place. The footage from the following video was taken the day of the Oct. 21 #DisarmPSU rally this year. It is part of ongoing coverage of the armed officers debate at PSU.

For more on the armed officers coverage, go to: psuvanguard.com/tag/campus-safety.

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