Portland State’s Campus Public Safety Office (CPSO) is reinstating armed patrols, as Portland State Vanguard has reported. The policy change, which was publicly announced by PSU President Stephen Percy in a campus-wide email sent on April 11, was carried out without the opportunity for input or public comment by the PSU community. In fact, CPSO Chief Willie Halliburton told Vanguard that CPSO officers had been patrolling campus with arms since Feb. 14, nearly two months before announcing the change.
Vanguard remains committed to providing an open and transparent forum for the PSU community on issues that affect their lives. To that end, we asked readers to share their thoughts on CPSO rearmament. Respondents were given the option to remain unnamed.
The responses shared here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard.
The majority of us students of color will never feel comfortable with armed campus police given Portland State’s history of wrongful use of force. – Iman Ahmad, Student
PSU never disarmed and should be ashamed. Percy really wanted to go out with a bang. the “increase in weapons near or on campus” was actually 12 weapons in 2022 (one was a fucking hammer) and 4 so far this year. – Student
I feel having armed security would make them more intimidating to those who may cause issues on campus thus preventing problems. Yet I also feel it gives more possibility for police violence and more deaths so I am on the fence about it. – Student
Being a safety officer in today’s climate must be terrifying. So many members of the public are armed, and we see misuse of weapons and mass shootings in the news almost every week. If CPSO are to be armed, they should also wear body cameras to view and scrutinize their actions. They also need more mental health training. All too often, a crisis escalates due to a lack of training in dealing with persons suffering from mental health issues. With appropriate measures and training in place, I am okay with arming CPSO. – Student
If the goal is to make the PSU community safer, the solution is not putting guns into the hands of more people. – Student
We fought for years to disarm PSU and those in charge have rearmed them with a wave of a pen, without any consultation of the student body or community members. Armed officers make PSU unsafe for BIPOC and those with other marginalized identities. Armed officers do not make campus safer, no matter the circumstances. We have fought to disarm PSU before and we will do so again. – Student
There is zero reason to be armed. I did security in different locations across the city, I was never armed. You can provide protection without being armed. Do you want to go to court for injuring or killing someone? Then live with that decision for ever? You have limited authority. A gun isn’t the answer.
Law enforcement should always be armed to be able to defend those that cannot defend themselves. Only a timely armed response can save lives when the school is attacked by someone with semi automatic weapons.