University of Rhode Island President David Dooley is defending the football team after two of its players were charged with assault. The students allegedly got into a fight with a group of fraternity brothers, who were treated for injuries like broken noses.
But Dooley said he does not believe there is a systemic culture issue on the football team.
“I think we have a coach and a football program viewed very strongly in community service and in discipline and in being responsible and proud of being leaders on campus,” said Dooley.
Dooley said the incident does come as a disappointment because the university offers violence prevention strategies.
“Ways to resolve conflict, ways to manage yourself, ways to be responsible and care about one another as a community – and we are striving to be one community, we work on that all the time,” said Dooley. “But unfortunately sometimes people make very poor decisions.”
Dooley says URI is conducting an investigation to determine whether disciplinary action is needed and what can be learned from the incident. A university spokeswoman has said one player has already been removed from the football team. WPRI reported that a second player has also been removed. Two players from the URI football team face assault charges in the incident.
Dooley said the school may take another look at campus security following the deadly shooting at an Oregon Community College. For now Dooley says the administration will wait until all details of the tragedy in Oregon come to light, before reassessing any practice.
Dooley said, at the very least, the school will keep enough officers on campus in case of an emergency.
“We’re looking at our staffing to make sure that at any time of day we’ve got an adequate group of officers on duty that can respond quickly,” said Dooley. “I think that was a real issue in Oregon.”
The school armed its police force this past spring, and has implemented a more community-based policing policy.
“We have adopted a very systematic community policing mode,” said Dooley. “We think that’s going to pay dividends. That gets our officers out amongst the students, builds very close connections amongst the force and our student groups.”
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