To the Editor:
I received the campus-wide e-mail from President Dahl's office last Friday about the decision to allow Campus Police to wear firearms at all times on campus. The e-mail was meant to be a notification and reassurance towards my security on campus. I was not reassured, but was more concerned than ever. Understand that what I am about to say is in not a reflection on the quality of the Geneseo University police. My experience has been that they are professionals. However, I am still wary of the change of policy.
In a town with two police departments less than a block away from campus, is it necessary to increase the armed presence around town? I doubt that the local police and sheriff's department would be immediately involved in any security threat to the students. The reason many of us students chose to come to such a small campus was the feeling of warm community. That feeling did not include the need for firearms in our lecture halls. If three police departments cannot defend a campus population of fewer than 5,000 students, I doubt that anyone can. Guns beget guns, and a preponderance of side-arms in our small community verges on lunacy.
Of greater concern than the change in firearms policy is that I have not heard a single reassurance since the Virginia Tech shooting that the student body's mental health is being guarded. While more guns are going to be present on campus, I am not aware of any efforts to lessen the likelihood of shooters. The massacre at Virginia Tech happened not because of too few police with guns, but because one mentally unhealthy individual went ignored. For me to be reassured about my personal security, I need be told what is being done for those students who have disagreements with our campus life. There is already a healthy sense of community on campus, but what is being done for those who cannot enjoy it? Shouldn't aiding them be the most important part of our security plan?
I hope that many share my convictions on this issue and will join me in asking President Dahl to enlighten us further about our new campus security policy. He was correct that after the Virginia Tech shootings, we would be concerned about our safety, but wrong in assuming more guns after the recent senseless massacre at the end of a barrel would make us feel comfortable.