F&M Vice President for Finance and Administration David Proulx authored a report on the topic to get the discussion started.
“The chances of something happening like that happening on our campus is very, very small,” he said. “However, there is a risk. We have to think about what happens, if that happens.”
In addition to four security officers, the college’s Department of Public Safety employs 19 full-time, sworn officers.
The sworn officers require the same training as all municipal police officers in the state, but they do not carry guns.
Nonetheless, F&M students FOX43 spoke to said they’ve always felt safe on campus.
“They haven’t had the need to use one so far, so I don’t think they should have one right now,” said Miguel Melchor, a senior. “This campus feels really safe.”
Senior Katie Cecere said she would support the college having armed officers.
“At this day in age, anything is possible, which is very scary to think about,” she said. “But, I think if the school were to make that decision, then I think I would support them.”
Proulx said the school wants to make sure everyone who would like to voice their opinion on the issue is heard.
“We are very cognizant of both sides of the issue and we’re asking the community to weigh in,” he said. “Ultimately, our priority is the safety and security of the college community.”
It’ll be up to the college’s Board of Trustees to decide whether to arm officers. The decision isn’t expected until February 2014.
You can read Proulx’s report here.