University of Rhode Island

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.

Michael Donnermeyer / Wiki Commons

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.

How Frequent are Tornadoes in New England?

May 22, 2013

It’s hard not to be moved by the plight of Moore, Oklahoma which was hit by a catastrophic tornado Monday.  Hundreds of buildings were flattened and at least 24 people, including nine children, were killed.

Experts say New England is less likely to be hit by a tornado than anywhere else east of the Rocky Mountains.  New England averages eight tornadoes a year, but they tend to be weak events – on the scale of EF0 or EF1.  The storm that hit Moore, Oklahoma has been categorized an EF5.

The Atlantic Hockey blog mentions that the University of Rhode Island is being considered by league brass to replace the University of Connecticut, which is moving its Division 1 hockey team into the Hockey East.

The Atlantic Hockey Conference is known as a stepping stone conference for colleges moving up to Division 1. Quinnipiac, for example, started in Atlantic Hockey and is now a national power that plays in the ECAC conference along with such Ivy League schools as Brown and Yale, which won the national championship a few weeks back over Quinnipiac, Yale’s New Haven neighbor.

Arming Campus Police in Rhode Island

May 20, 2013

The state Board of Education is scheduled to vote this week on a proposal to arm campus police at the state’s three public colleges.   Under the proposed rule, campus presidents would have the authority to decide whether armed security is necessary on their campuses.

A key house committee has put off voting on a bill that would allow campus police to carry guns at state universities, saying lawmakers need more time to gather information.

Rhode Island is currently the only state that prohibits guns on state college police forces, although some individual schools have decided against the practice. Proponents of the bill to arm campus police say it will speed response times in an emergency, a concern that was underscored during a gun scare at the University of Rhode Island last month.

The Chronicle of Higher Education finds University of Rhode Island President David Dooley is 134th in the country when it comes to his compensation package.

Safety Concerns Push URI Graduation Indoors

May 8, 2013

The University of Rhode Island is moving its graduation indoors. The university said it’s for safety reasons. 

URI said the recent gun scare on campus and the bombings in Boston prompted it to move the graduation ceremony into the Ryan Center.  Graduating student Kelly Harris is unhappy with the move.  She said students are limited to bringing two guests and that will make it harder for her friends and family to see her walk across the stage.

“This is affecting the vast majority of graduating seniors,” said Harris.

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.

RIPR File Photo

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.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing this week on a bill to allow campus police to carry guns at Rhode Island state colleges and universities. The bill was filed long before a scare this month about a gunman on the University of Rhode Island Kingston campus.

Representative Joe Almeida, a Providence Democrat, turned to politics after a 20-year-career as a police officer. He filed legislation back in February to allow campus police to carry guns. He said many campus police officers are retired cops just like he is, and they’re already trained to carry a firearm.

Governor Chafee has proposed rewarding top state officials with pay raises. RIPR analyst Scott MacKay parses the pros and cons of  the governor’s plan.

Governor Lincoln Chafee says his cabinet members have been doing a good job and deserve raises of three percent in June and another three percent in December. It’s no surprise that the governor has been roundly criticized and not just by the talk radio peanut gallery.

Chafee Calls for Review of URI Gun Scare

Apr 5, 2013

Governor Lincoln Chafee says he’s relieved and grateful that no one was seriously injured yesterday at the University, where a report of an active shooter on campus proved to be unfounded. The campus was on lockdown for about two-and-a-half hours.

The governor said in a statement the state will review what happened. He said the incident provides a unique opportunity to review emergency operations and  how the situation was handled.

Rhode Island State Police say there is no evidence of an active shooter on the University of Rhode Island campus. The Kingston campus went on lockdown just before noon after reports of a gunman in Chafee Hall.

State Police Col. Steven O’Donnell says there are no reports of shots fired. “There’s no evidence to support there was an active shooter," said O'Donnell, "somebody thought they saw someone with a gun.”

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