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Susquehanna University students protest decision to arm safety officers

Susquehanna University students protest decision to arm safety officers

SELINSGROVE – The decision by Susquehanna University to arm some of its public safety officers is meeting opposition from students.

University President Jonathan Green announced Monday certain officers who are retired state troopers will be armed beginning Dec. 14, at the end of the fall semester.

Tuesday, approximately 75 students held a protest walk across campus and met with Green to present their concerns.

Susquehanna will not reveal how many officers will be armed, but Green said they will not have arrest powers.

Borough and state police still will provide traditional law enforcement services for campus, he said.

READ MORE: Susquenita schools will use armed security guards

“Our goal is to enhance safety by augmenting existing campus security measures,” Green said. “As gun violence has been on the rise in the U.S., concurrently, the number of universities adding armed officers has trended upward.

“It’s our hope that knowledge of armed officers will deter incidents while improving response time to save lives should a serious event occur,” he added. “Our policy currently allows the public safety director to authorize the possession of firearms on campus. The focus of the procedural change is to protect the campus community, especially during peak hours and key events, by adding a limited number of armed officers as an available resource.”

The decision to arm was made after consultation with the board of trustees and Selinsgrove Police Chief Thomas Garlock, Green said.

It also follows an August 2017 drug-related robbery in a residence hall suite for which five teenagers have been arrested. One was alleged to have had a handgun.

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