Class Walk two students male and female on college campus

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  What you get when you take a college campus protected by unarmed peace officers and add an active shooter is a campus full of dead kids.


               The parents of University of Rochester students should consider that.


               They should consider that the Ivory Tower is right across the river from Genesee Street. They should take to heart that even closer is Jefferson Avenue, where the police have set up an emergency command post in recent days to try to beat back the urban violence that can see a bunch of rich college kids out its back window.


               In a city where the police force is operating with something like 150 fewer active officers than it’s supposed to have, and where priority calls sometimes stack up 10 or 20 at a time, the notion that the blue and whites are going to come riding in to save the day is more fantasy than reality.


               And the reality is this: If the University of Rochester is going to be safe, it’s going to be its campus peace officers who keep it that way.


               And they’re not armed.


               Which is fine if we’re talking about littering, or drunk kids puking in front of the library. But much beyond that and you are what the Urban Dictionary would call SOL.


               And you can pretend that nothing bad will ever happen on campus, but the damned nightly news keeps reminding you that college campuses are often unsafe and Rochester is often unhinged. College campus after college campus has been targeted by active shooters who have gunned down unarmed students in sick waves of evil.


               Anyone who believes that can’t happen at the University of Rochester is nuts.


               And anyone who thinks it’s a good idea for the University of Rochester to leave its peace officers unable to defend students against active shooters is also nuts.


               There’s a point where being a woke, cop-hating, gun-banning institution of higher learning becomes irresponsible and reckless, where it becomes an invitation to crime and mayhem. You can listen to the tenured professors or you can listen to the gunfire across the river on a summer’s night. Those who believe armed peace officers will be traumatic to sensitive students have never been mugged.


               The potential for violence on the River Campus and at the University of Rochester’s various properties is so great that the union representing campus peace officers has begun a public campaign to pressure the administration into arming them. The union’s officers are doing that because they don’t want to get killed and they don’t want anybody else to get killed either. They believe those who protect a college campus should actually be able to do so.


               At SUNY Brockport, officers are armed. At SUNY Geneseo, officers are armed. At Monroe Community College, a mile and a half away from the University of Rochester, officers are armed.


               But at the University of Rochester, officers are unarmed.


               Which is all the more troubling when you consider that in the city that hosts the university, a fair percentage of 15-year-olds are armed. Currently, the university’s administration is hoping that those 15-year-olds and their criminal cohort stay on their side of the river and that it never occurs to them that a gun-free campus with unarmed peace officers is kind of ripe for the picking.


               The issue here is: What planet do you live on?


               Do you live on the planet where the police are the enforcers of a white supremacist society imposing structural racism on traumatized students whose culture is disrespected by uniforms and guns and a criminal justice system designed to facilitate the school-to-prison pipeline? Or do you live on the planet where the cops keep bad guys from robbing, raping, and killing you?


               On Planet U of R, the faculty senate and the pissed-off students association rule the roost, and they hate cops, and they hate guns, and political victory is more important than practical safety, so the campus’s peace officers are unarmed.


               And so the campus’s students, staffers, visitors, and professors are inadequately protected.


               And its officers are sitting ducks.


               At the River Campus, at the Riverview apartments on Plymouth Avenue, and at the downtown facilities.


               And that’s not acceptable. This isn’t the summer of 2020 anymore. Hating cops didn’t work. In a city riddled with violent crime, the University of Rochester is fostering an unsafe work environment for its employees and being negligent in the protection of its students. If that’s OK in the English Department, it shouldn’t be in the Legal Department, because when something goes wrong – and something will go wrong – the lawyers are going to swarm like flies around the university’s deep pockets.


               It’s time to grow up. It’s time to arm the peace officers and protect the campus.


               The U of R arms officers at the hospital, to protect the doctors; it is unconscionable that it doesn’t do the same thing at the university, to protect the students.

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