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Calvin College, Michigan: Okay For Safety Personnel To Carry Guns

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According to the latest information available through the Grand Rapids Press, Calvin College is now allowing its safety personnel to carry weapons on campus. This will start in the fall semester for 2008.

The only people on campus allowed to carry the guns will be those working in the safety arena, with a police type background. They will be able to carry only handguns as well.

The move was done just this weekend by the college trustees. College safety is, of course, the center of the concern.

In April, the Faculty Senate approved a recommendation to allow safety department personnel to carry these weapons. Only trained individuals are permissible to carry guns, through their recommendation. Students, on the other hand, are not sure this is the right way to go.

At the faculty meeting, some 60 students protested the movement. They shouted, “Community, not weaponry” to those meeting to discuss the situation.

Calvin College does have a low level of crime and students there believe that it is low enough that they do not believe such moves are necessary. Students also wanted to have more say in the move the college has made.

Calvin College is a private college and will become the first to allow any safety personnel to carry weapons. The policy is a use of force, meaning that when problems present, appropriate personnel are able to use force to stop the problem, including shooting a gun.

A closer look reveals that only three of the safety department’s 43 officers actually have the required background to carry such a firearm, according to the requirements. Generally, one of the three is always on duty, meaning that there would be force available, but in limited amounts. Additional personnel could be hired that qualify to carry the weapons as well.

Another unique aspect of this policy change is that the college is a Christian private school. According to one junior from the school, Joseph Breems, “We are a Christian college and Jesus gave us an example of nonviolence.”

With college campuses one of the targets of would be shooters, the question becomes, where is the line drawn? Should students have more rights when it comes to making decisions about who should or should not carry weapons on campus? Few students believe it is acceptable to have guns on campus in the hands of students, but there is a split in the number of students that believe police and safety personnel should or should not do so.

Students, parents and faculty are all concerned that the risks of students being put under the same risks as recent shootings like the Virginia Teach shooting. Yet, students are questioning the risks of why this is happening and if the risks are in fact large, enough for a Christian, non-violence teaching school is looking to provide such strict enforcement and protection.

As a student in a college setting, how do you feel about having safety personnel carry weapons on campus?

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