Student Government Association votes to endorse arming of Suffolk University police

The Student Government Association (SGA) has passed a non-binding resolution recommending that Suffolk University moves to arm the sworn officers of the Suffolk University Police Department (SUPD).

After a contentious debate amongst SGA members regarding the resolution, the SGA voted 23-11 to pass the resolution. Chief of Suffolk Police and Security Gerard Coletta was present, fielding questions from SGA members and senators regarding their own concerns and the concerns of their constituents. According to SGA President Morgan Robb, a minimum of 18 was needed to vote “Yes” to pass the resolution.

In an interview with The Suffolk Journal in January, Suffolk University President Marisa Kelly said she hopes to finalize the issue by the end of this semester.

“We appreciate that the Student Government Association has engaged in this very important issue. We have been gathering and continue to gather input from across our community on the question of whether or not to arm Suffolk sworn police officers,” said Suffolk University President Marisa Kelly in a statement emailed to The Suffolk Journal following resolution’s passing. “It is my commitment that the Board’s consideration of this important issue be informed by the perspectives of the members of our community, including today’s SGA vote.”

The resolution outlines parameters regarding the continuation of the current-standing required psychological evaluations and bias training of SUPD officers. It also includes a clause regarding the continuation of SUPD’s carrying of “non-lethal defense tools,” such as mace, and also calls for SUPD to carry “service-issued firearms.”

Robb says she hopes the passing of the resolution, and its content matter, will help represent and address the student body’s views and concerns about the “arming question.” Robb also said since the University has indicated they would be moving forward with making a decision, it’s important for the SGA to take a stance.

“I’m very proud of our Senate for having a long discussion about it for speaking candidly about their beliefs and what they’ve heard from students,” said Robb. “I also think it shows that, very importantly, this was not a unanimous vote. So I think that we did absolutely what we could to represent the concerns that we heard and those were made known today.”

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