Rhode Island College has decided against arming its campus police force. In an email, RIC President Nancy Carriuolo said a campus survey showed the college community about equally divided on the issue, though she stressed the vast majority did not respond to the survey.
Carriuolo said she made the decision after discussions with campus police and her cabinet.
"At this point in time, we believe it is in the best interests of the campus community for campus police to remain unarmed," the email read. "We plan, however, to augment our prevention efforts, and we urge people to participate in campus trainings related to creating and maintaining a safe environment."
A recent decision by the State Board of Education allowed state colleges to choose whether to arm campus police. The move came after a report of a gunman at the University of Rhode Island, which highlighted the limitations on unarmed campus police.
During that incident, URI officers had to wait for local police to arrive before they could enter the building where the gunman was reported. Although it later turned out there was no gunman, the delay fueled calls for campus police to carry guns, a policy URI President David Dooley has said he supports.
Opponents of arming campus police maintain that increasing the number of guns on campus will not improve safety and could even increase the likelihood of gun violence.
URI officials say they continue to discuss the issue with members of the community and are still considering whether to arm campus police.