Faculty Senate votes to oppose arming campus safety

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A sworn officer indexes his firearm in St. Paul during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Photo courtesy of Tony Webster through Creative Commons

The Portland State Faculty Senate confirmed their support of the proposed resolution against arming Campus Public Safety Officers.

The Faculty Senate debated the issue during their meeting yesterday, Dec. 1, according to Michael Taylor, a senate member and professor in family studies.

“A resolution opposing arming the current CPSO employees was introduced at the November [Faculty Senate] meeting,” Taylor stated in an email.

According to the official Faculty Senate resolution document, the debate consisted of “opposition to arming PSU Campus Public Safety officers” and “support for the creation of a campus committee for oversight and supervision of the PSU Campus Public Safety Office as a necessary condition for implementation of changes in campus policing policies, including alternatives to an armed police force. The campus committee must be comprised of administrators, faculty & students.”

Thirteen senators singed the document, which can be viewed here.

The resolution and discussion points focused on factual information such as data that does not indicate a rising rate of violent crime at PSU, according the official document which can be viewed here. The senate also discussed proposed costs, ethics and issues concerning sexual assaults.

For students who think the decision to arm campus safety will be made without their consent, Director of Communications Scott Gallagher, a spokesperson of the university, said the process has been “open and transparent.”

He suggested students visit the website’s FAQs and discussion boards at pdx.edu/fadm/campus-safety.

“We want people to know that this has been an open discussion,” Gallagher said. “There has been an extensive process that began over a year ago that has included everybody on campus to answer questions and provide comments.”

Representatives of the Board of Trustees are taking this info and making a recommendation to the full board. Then the full board will make a decision based on that information, according to Gallagher.

Gallagher said that student concerns have been expressed, whether it be meetings or in discussions with student groups. He said that any concerns that have been expressed have been passed to the Board of Trustees.

Leona Kindermann, a senior in anthropology, works as an organizer at the PSU Student Union. She said that PUSUSU is happy with the support of the Faculty Senate.

“We haven’t been asked to come to the table,” Kindermann said.

PSUSU is dissatisfied with the lack of student outreach, according to Kindermann. She suggested initiating more student involvement by conducting classroom visits.

Kindermann said that PSUSU’s next move is to meet with people who are involved in the decision making.

“We really do hope that the administration hears this as a call to work with us,” Kindermann said. “We understand they’ve been working on this for a long time but we want to make sure this is actually discussed in the community—with faculty and students and CPSO—just everyone, the staff [and] the community.”

Having a police force run by the administration and the university is something PSUSU is worried about, according to Kindermann.

“This is a Portland-wide discussion and having another police force in Portland is a big thing.”

The Board of Trustees will make a decision on Dec. 11.

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