The state Board of Regents today approved a new security plan that allows campus police officers to carry guns at Iowa’s three public universities. The Regents’ 6-2 vote reverses a 40-year-old policy that prohibited officers from carrying weapons.
Regent Bob Downer says he reluctantly supports the plan after reviewing statistics on campus crime. "As we are living in a more violent society today, we have those conditions carrying over to the campuses," Downer says. "We simply need to have our officers in a position where they’re able to appropriately response to these incidents."
Regent President Michael Gartner voted against the proposal. Gartner says the larger problem on Iowa campuses can’t be fixed by arming officers. "Eighty percent of the crime on the University of Iowa campus, for instance, is alcohol and drug-related and this board is doing nothing about this and arming campus police is not going to deal with that problem," Gartner says.
Regent Rose Vasquez also voted against the proposal. Public safety directors at Iowa, Iowa State and UNI say no timetable has been set for implementing the plan.