Opinion

Letter to the editor: Students need a say in making DPS sworn, armed



It looks like voting yes for all those school ballot measures paid off. I thought we the students had a say. But never mind that week of annoying in-your-face campaigning, we the students still need a voice.

How about our own?

The whole problem with us students is we keep counting on someone else to have such a voice. Someone else who knows what’s best for us, because we are all too helpless and incompetent to know what’s best for ourselves: to protect ourselves and keep each other safe.

It is suggested that an armed police force is in our best interest because it will make for a safer campus, but I’m not convinced. Richard Maloney’s recent editorial in The Register-Guard attempts to justify the need for an armed police force. “The U.S. Department of Education reports that 17 murders occurred on public and private nonprofit college campuses in 2009,” he wrote, adding that “24,069 burglaries, 1,865 robberies and 2,590 forcible sexual offenses” also occurred. He later writes “More than 90 percent of public, four-year universities with enrollments of 15,000 students or more employ their own sworn and armed police forces.

Thirty-two of the 33 public universities in the prestigious Association of American Universities have their own police forces.”

Maloney, albeit unintentionally, shows how unnecessary a campus police force is.
Those murders, burglaries, robberies and forcible sexual offenses that occurred in 2009 occurred on campuses that, for the most part (oh, about 90 percent), were already armed. Mr. Maloney’s point is moot.

I looked at crime statistics for several schools — including every Pac-12 school and member of the AAU — with a sworn police force and compared those numbers to the University’s.

I did not see any significant difference in crime statistics that warrant the presence of an armed police force.

According to the University’s Department of Public Safety website, there were 0 murders, 25 burglaries, one robbery and six forcible sex offenses in 2009.

In 2008, there were 0 murders, 14 burglaries, 0 robberies and eight forcible sex offenses.
In 2007, there were 0 murders, 33 burglaries, two robberies and three forcible sex offenses
Will an armed police force dramatically reduce such numbers?

On Stanford University’s campus in 2009, there were 0 murders, two robberies, 194 burglaries and 10 forcible sex offenses. In 2008, there were 0 murders, 0 robberies, 279 burglaries,and 10 forcible sex offenses.

In 2007, there were 0 murders, five robberies, 238 burglaries and 12 forcible sex offenses. Stanford deputy sheriffs have “full law enforcement powers to make arrests, enforce all applicable Federal, State, and local law.” Oh, and Stanford has a total of 19,535 students; Oregon has 23,389. Pullman, Wash., has a sworn police force.

On Washing State University’s campus in 2009: 0 murders, one robbery, 23 burglaries and eight forcible sex offenses. In 2008: 0 murders, 0 robberies, 27 burglaries, three forcible sex offenses.

In 2007: 0 murders, one robbery, 30 burglaries and four forcible sex offenses. WSU’s enrollment is 18, 232. University of California Davis — one of the 33 public members of the prestigious AAU — had 0 murders, seven robberies, 84 burglaries, and 18 forcible sex offense in 2009. In 2008: 0 murders, nine robberies, 128 burglaries and 27 forcible sex offenses. In 2007: 0 murders, 25 robberies, 121 burglaries, and 33 forcible sex offenses.
They have about 9,000 more students than us, but 4.5 times the amount of forcible sex offenses, 4.6 times the number of burglaries and 13.7 times the amount of robberies).

Guns do not make campus a safer place.

We the students need to let our voices be heard and exercise the power we have always had.

No one else should have a voice for us, including student, local and state government.
If we do not want guns on campus, then let us disallow it. We have a chance to make a symbolic example and resist a bill that represents an unnecessary extension of power
and control. It is our University. We do not need an oath and a gun to reinforce what’s right. Exceptions will always occur on campuses nationwide, regardless of an armed police presence.

An armed police presence does not make a significant difference in a student’s safety. To allow armed police on campus is to allow another extension of unnecessary power. But we have a chance to show the rest of the nation how powerful a group of people can be.

Brad Sutherland
University student

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