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Graduation caps, not cop caps

April 9, 2024 at 4:00:00 PM

Susanna Huang ‘27

Recently, Campus Safety has planned to adopt the carrying of firearms on campus, hoping to increase the level of security. Proponents of the measure say that we can never be too safe. Indeed, it is hard to argue against prioritizing student safety. However, there is also a population of students who question the necessity of firearms in the community. The presence of firearms may create an atmosphere of fear where students may become intimidated by the very people who are meant to protect them. 

Granted, the school has taken steps to facilitate conversations between students and Campus Safety, such as organizing friendly “ride-alongs” in an effort to shift the perception of intimidation. Although this effort is appreciated, it may present a forced relationship and come off as disingenuous to some students who may perceive these efforts as “damage control” on the part of the school.

The school should have focused on training in de-escalation conflict resolution techniques to build an atmosphere of empathy and understanding before turning to carrying weapons. Prioritizing training for conflict resolution can build students’ confidence in campus security’s competence in preventing dangerous incidents from escalating in the first place. Establishing authentic community engagement can foster trust and connection between students and Campus Safety. 

A safe school community should start with these in mind before deciding to militarize Campus Safety. Building trust and relationships within the community is more effective in keeping the campus safe and should have been the priority to begin with, not an afterthought.

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