An Open Letter to University VP Mark Thompson and Public Safety
This past Wednesday I received an email about Quinnipiac Public Safety receiving an armed component. When has a situation ever arisen on this campus that seriously required an armed response? This school has been around for almost 90 years without armed officers, and arming employees that are not law enforcement is not the answer and a grievous mistake.
Your email referred to us being used to armed police officers on campus as a way to downplay this development, but there’s a stark difference between civilians with guns and actual police officers. I’m sure you’ll do your best to train these “senior” public safety officers, but not to the level that actual police officers are trained, qualified, and continually need to be re-trained.
If you want an even better reason to kill this proposal, how about looking at what happened in California in 2011? UC Davis university police pepper-sprayed peaceful protesters that were part of an Occupy movement on campus. Imagine if university police used a gun instead – it would have been horrible. We can’t entrust our safety to private citizens with no real oversight. Yes, you may argue that the university oversees them, but we don’t know what criteria the university uses for acceptable force. None of these guidelines have been discussed with the student body. According to an article in the Hartford Courant released on the same day as your email, our student body president said students “reacted positively” to the news. However, the first I (and anybody else I know) heard of it was your email. Were you afraid to discuss this with the university’s students as a whole? Who are you to make decisions for our well-being without consulting us all first?
If the university truly needs an armed presence on campus, get a dedicated Hamden police officer. Don’t endanger our freedoms and our lives under the guise of security.
A previous version of this letter was emailed to Mark Thompson on 1/22/14 and has not received a response.