UR Security has pushed recently for the opportunity to receive training and equipment similar to that of a police officer. While certain aspects of this effort seem valid — security officers do need to be receiving more training and perhaps equipping themselves with self-defense tools such as pepper spray — it is not prudent or necessary to equip UR Security guards with firearms.
UR security breaches primarily involve students using drugs or alcohol, community members loitering or trespassing and occasionally petty thefts. These incidents do not require firearms — in fact, an availability of firearms in these situations would be dangerous and likely to provoke abuses of power and an atmosphere of fear on campus. One can only imagine, for example, the unsettling possibilities that could have stemmed from security officers having guns available during the recent brawl at Douglass Dining Center. Even for a security officer to have pulled out a gun without the intention of using it could have caused even further chaos and general upset.
Students are the main focus of UR’s security force in that they are most often both the victims and culprits. It follows, then, that security officers should have training and equipment centered on a student population. The average drunken student being apprehended by an officer should not need to worry about the possibility of inordinate force being used against them. Students on campus should not be patrolled by what would essentially be a constant police force presence.
The 2007 Virginia Tech massacre is certainly evidence that instances of extreme violence can happen on college campuses. However, this type of anecdote is not sufficient evidence of a need for armed security guards. First, for every cautionary tale of on-campus violence there is another story of abuses of firearm power. Additionally, should an extreme incident like the Virginia Tech massacre occur, the Rochester Police Department is the group responsible for responding to the perpetrator — whereas UR Security’s job would be to inform and evacuate students.
UR Security is an important aspect of the functioning of this campus and their desire for more training and equipment should be taken seriously. However, to arm security officers with firearms would ultimately only serve to make students feel less safe on their own campus — certainly not the goal of this recent security push.

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