Rhode Island has lifted a ban on armed police forces at state colleges, after a Board of Education vote last night. The board’s new policy allows each state institution to make the decision about whether campus police officers will carry guns.
Administrators at the University of Rhode Island have been pushing for a change in the gun policy, an effort that appeared to gain momentum after a gun scare on the URI campus. Although the incident turned out to be a false alarm, a university review found that campus police had to wait several minutes before they could enter the building where the shooter was reported, so they could be accompanied by armed local police.
URI faculty oppose arming campus police, arguing that guns on campus will not necessarily make students safer. Critics also point to the expense of training officers and building and maintaining facilities to securely store guns.
According to higher education officials, Rhode Island's community college system does not plan to arm campus police. The Associated Press reports that Rhode Island College remains undecided.