A proposal to arm campus police officers was the subject of a forum Thursday afternoon on the University of Iowa campus. U-of-I Public Safety Director Chuck Green led the forum and joined colleagues at Iowa State and the University of Northern Iowa in supporting the arming of campus officers. Green’s evidence was laid out in a scenario to a U-of-I professor who questioned the need for weapons on campus.
Green says, "If you can visualize that if your wife was upstairs and there’s a shooter in this building and one of our officers just happens to be here, and we find out about that, then not only can that officer not protect your wife or themselves, they’d have to run out of this building with everybody else and flee." Green says campus police should be equipped with the tools that any law officer in the state of Iowa is allowed to carry.
Green says, "I understand if this is to happen, it’ll be a major cultural change on this campus, but I hope everyone understands that when these folks take their oath, they take an oath to serve and protect and without being able to protect themselves, they’re not much good to anybody else." U-of-I Emeritus Professor Jim Spratt says the process to arm campus security is on a fast-track and needs careful examination.
Spratt says: "We have a town full of young people with roaring hormones that they’re learning to control and you get a crowd around, somebody’s going to grab that gun and what’s going to happen? There are all kinds of questions that aren’t really being discussed in depth and I plead that you do discuss them in depth." Spratt says evidence that’s being used to support weapons on the U-of-I campus isn’t entirely correct.
Sprat says: "We’re not a university like any other. We’re in a unique college town where the campus community comprises the vast majority of the population. This is not comparable to other institutions." Feedback from Thursday’s forum will be forwarded to University of Iowa President Sally Mason. University presidents have been asked to provide the state Board of Regents with their recommendations on the topic by next Monday.