Students’ fears over the prospect of arming more Public Safety officers have not been quelled despite the creation of a committee to review the recent DPS proposal.
“I am scared that the committee will be just another committee,” junior and Minority Students’ Association Board (MSAB) President Tara Eagan said in an email. “When anything instrumental happens on this campus, a committee is formed. There has been no talk on what requirements are needed to join this committee. They haven’t even outlined how the members will be chosen.”
The University announced the ad hoc committee last Thursday by President Feldman, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Holly Crawford, and Public Safety Review Board Chair Francis Price. The committee is intended to be comprised of students, staff, and faculty and will ultimately give the Review Board feedback on the proposal.
If passed, the proposal, initially presented in an Oct. 22 SA Senate meeting, would see the creation of two armed Public Safety officers on the River Campus and one at the Eastman School of Music. It has since been met with opposition from students and student groups.
“The proposal […] has raised concern among many members of our community,” read Thursday’s email. “It is essential that any decision […] be based on the best available data, and that the final decision be one that the campus community believes has been adequately reviewed and considered.”
The announcement came as a shock to students, however. Eagan, in an email, noted that MSAB was “only aware that [the administration was] ‘trying’ to meet with cultural groups in smaller meetings.”
Citing a Nov. 2 UR press release that noted that the Review Board would be discussing feedback to the proposal on Nov. 26, Eagan was concerned that “the committee is just a front for a decision that has already been made,” meaning the work done by it would have little to no bearing on the result of the DPS proposal.
“We would like the [Review Board] to provide a recommendation to President Feldman well before the end of the spring semester,” Crawford said in an email. “The [Review Board] will carefully weigh all of the information gathered […] before making any recommendation to President Feldman.”
Despite the Crawford’s assurances, Eagan remained skeptical that the committee was the best course of action.
“If MSAB doesn’t fight for it, I don’t believe the committee will accurately and appropriately represent the voices of students,” she said. “They never do.”
“But the students are what make the University of Rochester prestigious,” Eagan continued. “They’re literally putting the comfortability and safety of the students here at risk. That isn’t ever better.”