The University of Northern Iowa held a forum Monday to discuss the proposal to allow campus police officers to carry guns. UNI faculty senate president Michael Licari, says the forum is part of the process to help the university president make a recommendation to the Board of Regents.
"I think it was a productive forum," Licari says, "I heard not necessarily positions that I was surprised about… what really interested me was why the felt the way they did about the issue. Licari plans to call a meeting of the UNI faculty senate for Friday to take a vote on the issue. Licari says the forum may help senators in determining their vote.
Licari says he didn’t take a count, but it seemed to him that the forum was split 50-50 on the issue of arming campus officers. He says that’s not surprising since the panel that spoke at the forum was set up with people who spoke on both sides. The governor asked the regents to look at the issue after the fatal shootings on the campus of Virginia Tech. Licari says though, it has been a topic of discussion for some time in Cedar Falls.
Licari says the Public Safety Department has been asking to arm officers well before the Virginia Tech shootings, so the shootings may’ve re-focused the discussion, but were not the cause of the discussion at UNI. The regents will discuss the issue again at their September meeting.