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.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Big changes are in the offing for Rhode Island public education policy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what’s at stake.

After six years as Rhode Island’s top education guru, education commissioner Deborah Gist is headed to her native Tulsa to become school superintendent. Eva-Marie Mancuso, chairwoman of the state education board, is out. Barbara Cottam is slated to become the new leader of the board as Gov. Gina Raimondo puts her stamp on arguably the most important mission of government, educating  the young.


Research out of the University of Rhode Island shows that more and more, people are living in communities with a common political view. And the political sorting is becoming more polarized with each election.

Are Republicans and Democrats living side by side? That’s what URI professor Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz wanted to know, so she poured over election data and relocation patterns from 1976 to 2012. She found that communities are becoming more politically polarized, but not because people were moving.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week Dave and Mark talk with Mark Higgins, dean of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Business. They discuss the bond issues on the November ballot including the infrastructure, environmental and arts bonds, and why borrowing more money now may not be a bad idea.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

For the past 55 years, researchers and students from the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography have trawled Narragansett Bay on a weekly basis. These trawls are one of the world's longest running surveys that track the type of fish that come and go from season to season. For our One Square Mile: Narragansett Bay series, we turn to these trawls to give us a snapshot of how fish have responded to changes.

Three URI students board the 53-foot research vessel Cap'n Bert at Wickford Harbor, as they do each week, to trawl the bay at two stations.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Environmental Reporter, Ambar Espinoza will host a public forum and conversation on the changing fisheries in Narragansett Bay.

This forum will be broadcast live on Thursday, October 9, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Rhode Island Public Radio: 88.1 FM/102.7 FM/91.5 FM and RIPR.ORG.

The University of Rhode Island has begun training campus police officers to carry guns after a controversial decision in April to arm the campus police force.

Public Safety Stephen Baker says the goal is to have all 27 campus officers carrying guns by the start of the Spring semester. 

"State police have completed 17 of the background checks and they’ve been delivered to us. The next step in that process is to have those officers go through psychological examinations," Baker said. "Then we’ll begin the actual firearms training, and that’s planned for the month of October."

The University of Rhode Island kicks off its annual Honors Colloquium lecture series Tuesday.  This year’s theme is cyber security.

Stories of computer hacking seem to be all over the news these days.  Most recently Home Depot’s payment systems were hacked, leaving debit card information potentially exposed. URI professor of computer science Ed LaMagna said that most people are unaware just how vulnerable they are online.

RISCA Puts Out Call For Art For New URI Building

Jun 13, 2014

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts has put out a call for new art.  The work will be installed at the University of Rhode Island’s brand new center for chemical and life sciences.


Rev. Bernard Lafayette Jr., a leader in the civil rights movement, will speak at the University of Rhode Island Tuesday.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

In the final installment of our series Paying For It: Rhode Islanders Struggle with Student Debt, education reporter Elisabeth Harrison visits the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority to speak with Executive Director Charlie Kelley. She asked him to walk through the payment system for a student who has borrowed $31,000, about the average for recent graduates in Rhode Island.

Elisabeth Harrison

Colleges all across Rhode Island hold graduation ceremonies this month, and many of their students will receive diplomas and then face thousands of dollars in student loans.  

As we continue our series Paying For It: Rhode Islanders Struggle with Student Debt, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison looked at how mounting student loans are impacting students and the decisions they make about their future.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Many Rhode Islanders are paying off student loans that average more than $31,000, one of the highest student debt burdens in the nation. As we continue our series Paying for It: Rhode Islanders Struggle With Student Debt, we look at what happens when those loans are too much to handle.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Education reporter Elisabeth Harrison met Allison Dean at her house on a quiet street in Warwick, sandwiched between the airport and Narragansett Bay.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island has the fifth highest rate of student loan debt in the country and experts say part of the reason is the large number of expensive, private colleges, like Bryant University, Providence College and Salve Regina in Newport. One of the most expensive is the Rhode Island School of Design.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s education reporter, Elisabeth Harrison, met one graduate now staring down hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans.