Is Rhode Island government finally waking up to leveraging state colleges as wellsprings of economic development? RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay sees some hopeful signs on Smith Hill.
After years of malign neglect of Rhode Island’s public colleges and universities, the General Assembly finally appears to be turning a corner. Several elements in the state budget approved last week by the House Finance Committee show that Statehouse politicians are finally getting the message on the iron link between education and creating jobs in the Ocean State.
University of Rhode Island officials have announced they plan to arm campus police, despite vocal critics, who say the change will not make campus safer.
The university announced the decision after a year of public meetings and discussions with faculty, students and staff. In a statement, URI President David Dooley called the change critical.
"In order to provide the safest environment possible and to ensure a timely response to any threat to the safety of our campuses, our police officers must be equipped properly to function as first responders,” Dooley said.
The University of Rhode Island kicks off football season Thursday night with an away-game against Fordham University. The game marks the start of the 115th season for the Rhode Island Rams, founded in 1895.
But the team has not been faring well recently. The Rams have not won a game since 2011 and start this season hoping to snap a 13-game losing streak.
Critics question whether the state’s flagship university should spend the money on a football program at all. URI President David Dooley has said he supports believes it is important to keep the program alive.
State colleges and universities in Rhode Island can now arm campus police after a vote Thursday night at the State Board of Education. Critics said more guns on campus will not make students safer, but supporters, including University of Rhode Island President David Dooley, said campus police should carry guns to do their jobs more effectively.
Dooley said he believes arming police is logical decision for URI.
There’s a meaty agenda on tap this week at the State Board of Education. The group is scheduled to vote Thursday on a controversial proposal to allow police to carry guns on state college campuses. The board is also scheduled to vote on adopting new science standards and consider a contract extension for Education Commissioner Deborah Gist.
A preliminary review of the University of Rhode Island’s response to reports of a shooter on campus finds campus police were forced to wait five minutes before they could enter the building where the shooter was reportedly located. The officers, who are unarmed, had to wait for local police to arrive before they could enter the building.
The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear testimony Wednesday on a bill that would allow Rhode Island State College Police to carry guns.
The hearing comes after a scare at the University of Rhode Island about a gunman on campus, and Rhode Island is currently the only state in the country that does not allow armed campus police at public colleges and universities. The University of Rhode Island is also expected to release its preliminary review in the coming days examining how it responded to the report of a possible shooter.
In a statement dated yesterday and released to the media today, University of Rhode Island president David Dooley has disassociated the university from a series of tweets made by history professor Erik Loomis -- including one saying he wanted the NRA president Wayne LaPierre's "head on a stick" -- in the aftermath of Newtown: