University President Steven Knapp will make a final decision about arming the University Police Department before the end of the academic year, he told The Hatchet last week.
A consultant hired to conduct focus groups and weigh the pros and cons of equipping UPD officers with guns will present a report and recommendation to Knapp and the University’s vice presidents “before too long,” Knapp said.
Knapp said he has not yet made a decision one way or the other regarding arming the officers.
At the beginning of his presidency, Knapp created a task force to analyze security on campus. He said last week that the shooting at Virginia Tech two years ago, which happened a few months after the University announced that he would be president, affected his view of campus security.
“The question was raised in [the task force’s] final report, but not answered,” Knapp said of the possibility of arming UPD. “We are weighing all of the considerations and getting a lot of input. We would like this decision to be based on careful study.”
University spokeswoman Tracy Schario wrote in an e-mail that “the considerations in the report will not be dependent on public opinion alone.”
Students who wish to weigh in on the discussion may e-mail the consultants at firstname.lastname@example.org with their opinion.