Special Reports

Students Rally Against Armed Campus Security at Monroe Community College

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Students at Monroe Community College (MCC) in New York are expressing their disapproval of a decision allowing campus safety officers to carry long rifles on campus. The move prompted some students to organize a protest rally on Monday to voice their opposition, as reported by Rochester First.

Students Rally Against Armed Campus Security at Monroe Community College

(Photo : WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / David Maiolo)

Student Protest

During the rally, captured by News 10, an NBC affiliate, students marched with signs bearing messages such as “our campus, our tuition, our choice” and “don’t militarize MCC.” David Mills, a student, expressed concerns to the outlet, stating that the presence of long guns on campus was "way too intimidating."

Several students echoed Mills' sentiments, expressing worries about the potential escalation of violence and the impact on the overall campus environment.

The protest reflects broader debates about the role of firearms on college campuses and the balance between security measures and student welfare. MCC students are joining a national conversation about campus safety and the use of weapons by law enforcement personnel in educational settings.

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College Response

In response to the protest and concerns raised by students, college officials issued a statement on Monday afternoon. The statement highlighted that the decision to permit campus safety officers to carry long rifles was announced by MCC President DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna during a Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 29. The decision followed a college-wide consultation process in the fall of 2023, which involved discussions with various stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, the Board of Trustees, and County Executive Adam Bello.

According to the statement, the consultation process included a public presentation by the college’s chief public safety officer and the dean of the public safety training facility. Additionally, the student government issued a letter expressing support for the decision after consulting with students.

The statement emphasized that peace officers at MCC undergo the same training and certifications as local police officers through the Police Academy at the Public Safety Training Facility. It further clarified that the rifles would be used and secured according to local law enforcement policy, kept out of plain sight unless necessary during a violent critical incident. The college reiterated its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion principles, ensuring they remain integral components of public safety training.

Acknowledging students' right to free speech and peaceful assembly, the statement affirmed the college's commitment to fostering an environment where diverse perspectives are heard and respected.

As the debate over campus safety measures continues, MCC faces the challenge of balancing security concerns with the expectations and preferences of its student body. The college administration may need to engage in further dialogue and collaboration with students to address their concerns and ensure a safe and inclusive campus environment for all.

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