Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Kelly, Lamb discuss arming SUPD in SGA

Stephen Merrick
SUPD police car sits across from the Samia Academic Center.

Suffolk University Student Government Association heard an address regarding the arming of SUPD officers by President Marisa Kelly and Chair of the Board of Trustees Robert Lamb Feb. 15. 

Kelly said conversations with all community members will be vital in the decision-making process, namely an all-student forum slated for March 26.

According to Lamb, concerns regarding police response in the event of an active shooter situation prompted this conversation to begin within the Board initially in 2019. 

“We have not had any problems with response time of Boston Police officers. We have a great partnership with BPD. The issue of response time is simply a matter of Boston Police officers not being physically located in our buildings, so any response time would likely be longer than with SUPD officers,” said Suffolk Vice President of Communications Greg Gatlin in a statement to The Suffolk Journal.

Kelly and Lamb’s address to the Senate, which also included an open forum for questions and concerns from those in attendance, was the first on the topic to students since the matter was originally brought to the community in 2019. Kelly said the conversation had also been introduced to the Faculty Senate.

“We’re not going to make this decision in a vacuum. That’s why we’re starting this process. That’s why we’re reaching out to the staff and the faculty, and we’ve already reached out to other outside experts as part of the normal process,” said Lamb.

The Board of Trustees plans to vote on if officers will be armed in either its April or June meeting.

If the Board of Trustees vote passed, only sworn officers would be armed, not the force’s security officers, who are non-law enforcement. Sworn officers include the chief, deputy chief, captain, lieutenant, sergeants, operations officer, crime prevention officer and patrol officers, according to the force’s most recent strategic plan.

According to Gatlin, the monetary cost of arming and training campus police officers will not be a factor in the decision.

In 2019, SGA passed a resolution to recommend the arming of SUPD officers, but the issue never reached a vote in the Board of Trustees following pushback on the initiative from community members, as reported by The Suffolk Journal.

“There has been no specific incident that led the Board to resume this discussion. Rather, as Chair Lamb said at the SGA meeting yesterday, this is a conversation that began prior to the pandemic, and the Board feels it is critical to gather community input before making any decision,” said Gatlin.

Following the meeting, SGA President Clinton Oreofe said he hopes students take advantage of March 26’s open forum to share their thoughts and questions on the matter.

“The response I want to see is everyone giving their opinion. Making it a topic is what will have the biggest impact,” said Oreofe.

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About the Contributors
Maren Halpin
Maren Halpin, News Editor | she/her
Maren is a sophomore print/web journalism major with a minor in political science from Milford, Massachusetts. When she’s not in The Journal office, you can usually find Maren in Suffolk’s orientation office or at an on-campus event. In her free time, she loves to go to her favorite coffee shops, listen to Noah Kahan, Hozier and Taylor Swift on repeat, explore the city and spend time with family and friends. Maren is passionate about politics and hopes to go into political journalism in the future. 
Stephen Merrick
Stephen Merrick, Staff Writer | he/him
Stephen is an undergraduate law major from Marshfield, Massachusetts. In addition to writing for the Journal, he is a member of the Suffolk University Debate team, and was previously the president of the Suffolk University Democrats. In his free time, he enjoys reading, fishing and scuba diving. When Stephen graduates, he hopes to join the United States Coast Guard.

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