University of Rhode Island

University of Rhode Island

The University of Rhode Island is arming its police force as of Friday. Preparations have been underway for a little more than a year. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison has details.

A gun scare in 2013 led to the decision last year to arm police on URI's rural Kingston campus. Though it turned out there wasn’t any gun, the false alarm pointed out the drawbacks of unarmed officers, who had to wait for armed police to respond to the incident.


The University of Rhode Island opens a new center Wednesday for Gender and Sexuality.  The campus has struggled in the past with incidents of aggression against gay students and faculty. Now, it is the first school to in the country to design and construct a center dedicated to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender programs.

The center will also provide programs for straight students to help them understand what their peers may be facing.

Graduating senior Jessica Brand says as a transgender woman, she welcomes the new resource.

The annual Metcalf Awards for Diversity in Media in Rhode Island have been announced by Rhode Island for Community and Justice. For the second year in the past three years, RI Public Radio education reporter and current interim news director Elisabeth Harrison has won a Metcalf. She won for a story entitled `Transgender Bullying’ at Goff Junior High School in Pawtucket. Veteran ProJo reporter Tom Mooney, a fine writer, won for his article `On Patrol, Reflections About Race.’

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The state’s management plan that zones offshore waters for renewable energy projects is getting an update. The first public meeting for stakeholders is happening Thursday at the University of Rhode Island.

The Ocean Special Area Management Plan, or SAMP for short, is a planning tool that allows the state to balance both the economy and the environment as it pursues offshore energy projects. It includes about 15-hundred square miles of portions of Block Island Sound, Rhode Island Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean.


College professors are raising concerns about a plan to tie state funding for higher education with performance. The proposal calls for targets in areas like graduation rates and degrees in high demand fields. Schools would have to meet the targets to qualify for part of their state funding starting after 2016.

Community College of Rhode Island English Professor Anthony Amore says students and faculty need to play a role in setting the performance measures.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Rhode Island’s foundering economic is again the top Statehouse topic. Political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts as we at Rhode Island Public Radio kickoff our series on our state’s slow recession recovery. 

If Rhode Island was a lake, we’d all be drowning under the weight of decades of reports and high falutin  expert commissions charged with dissecting our state’s economic doldrums. Wonks, business leaders, academics and consultants have produced turgid chronicles – with scant results – on how to heal the sickest economy in New England.

URI To Host Panel On Policing Wednesday

Apr 8, 2015
John Bender / RIPR

The University of Rhode Island’s Providence campus is hosting a panel on policing Wednesday. The talk will bring local and national experts together to discuss the history of policing and racial profiling. Organizer Marc Levitt is moderating the panel.

“The questions I’m going to be asking are about who gets policed, why they get policed, what the history of policing is, and what methods are being considered for policing in the future.”

Levitt says the panel on race and police is part of a series on urban issues at URI. The discussion begins at 7 p.m.

John Bender / RIPR

Local leaders have announced the launch of a statewide task force to deal with sexual assaults on college campuses. The issue has been getting increased national attention in recent years.

The task force is comprised of local law enforcement, medical professionals, and representatives from Rhode Island colleges and universities.  They’re tasked with developing new policies to better handle sexual assaults involving college students.  Often, colleges deal with sexual assault internally, and law enforcement is not involved unless a victim wishes to press charges.


The Pawtucket Red Sox have been sold to a group of familiar Rhode Island business leaders and Boston Red Sox executives who are intent on moving the team from McCoy Stadium to a new ballpark that would be built in downtown Providence.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien was briefed last night by one of the new owners, Providence lawyer James Skeffington, said Antonio Pires, Pawtucket administration director. Skeffington told the Pawtucket mayor that the new group wants to move to a privately-financed stadium on the Providence downtown waterfront.


State legislators have introduced a resolution that would create a special commission to study the effects of ocean acidification on Rhode Island.

The world’s oceans are becoming increasingly acidic from all the carbon dioxide we’re dumping into them. Important habitats and fisheries, like shellfish, are rapidly degrading in many parts of the world due to ocean’s changing chemistry.

Maureen Moakley

On the heels of President Barack Obama’s announcement to restore diplomacy with Cuba, University of Rhode Island professor Maureen Moakley took a group of students to Havana to see first-hand the political and social changes 50 years after the Cuban revolution. A regular contributor to our Political Roundtable Moakley spoke spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Just this week, the U.S. Senate went on the record that climate change exists. Local and state officials in Rhode Island haven’t been waiting around to take the lead from Washington. They not only know climate change is real, but they’re also planning for its impacts. As part of our Battle With The Sea series, Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza went on a tour with the Environmental Protection Agency’s northeast director to see how plans are in place.

Researchers are collecting data on college students in Rhode Island and three other states, who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder.

Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison reports the study is believed to be the first of it's kind, following hundreds of college students over a five-year period.

The study follows more than 400 college students in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Roughly half have been diagnosed with ADHD, the other half do not have attention issues.


Governor-elect Gina Raimondo is staging an economic policy summit with 80 so-called “thought leaders” Tuesday. The event is supposed to develop ideas for improving the state’s economy.

Raimondo’s transition office declined to release an advance list of the business people and other leaders invited to the event. They’ll take part in a three-hour discussion at URI’s Providence campus.  The governor-elect’s transition initially planned to close most of the meeting to the media. But the full session will now be open to reporters.

Construction Begins On Joint Nursing School

Dec 15, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

Construction began today at a brand new nursing school in Providence.  The project is a collaboration between three institutions.