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

OPINION: Suffolk University will not be safe until our officers are armed

Adam Marotta

Suffolk University will host an all-student forum March 26 to discuss the topic of arming the Suffolk University Police Department. At this forum, SUPD leadership will answer questions surrounding the topic, as well as give students the opportunity to provide feedback and express their thoughts relating to arming SUPD.

If students wish to be safe on campus, arming SUPD must be a top priority. 

As seen on the university’s webpage, the mission statement of the Suffolk Police Department is as follows:

“The mission of the Suffolk University Police and Security Department is to provide a safe and secure environment that enhances the educational mission of the university. We are committed to the protection of life and property, and the prevention and detection of crime through a partnership with the community. The Suffolk University Police and Security Department is committed to excellence in service through proactive initiatives and the highest quality of professionalism, and dedication.”

As members of the university community, we can not reasonably expect our police officers to provide a safe and secure environment for the Suffolk community unless they are provided with the resources necessary to do so. 

It is no secret that Suffolk University is a university unlike any other, especially when it comes to the layout of the campus. Instead of having a gated campus like a stereotypical college, Suffolk mixes the best of both worlds, having buildings scattered all over the heart of Boston, leaving the city to serve as the de facto “campus” for students to explore. While this undoubtedly has its benefits, it also creates problems that traditional schools do not typically have to deal with.

Certain Suffolk buildings including One Court Street and 150 Tremont Street are open to the public in some capacity. Although these buildings have strong security measures in place, like card taps and the use of pepper spray, these measures would not be effective at preventing individuals with evil intentions from inflicting harm onto Suffolk students, especially if they are using weapons stronger than pepper spray.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 into law which banned guns on all public and private school grounds. While this does not apply to colleges and universities, many institutions of higher education modeled their gun policies after this law. According to Suffolk’s weapons policy, “Suffolk University prohibits the possession or use of any items that may be used or are used to harm, or threaten to harm, another individual, on property owned by or under the control of Suffolk University.”

Research shows that this is not only the wrong approach, but is actually counterproductive. Since the Gun-Free School Zones Act was passed in October of 1990, there have been nearly 7800 firearm-related incidents on K-12 school campuses all across the United States, resulting in nearly a thousand injuries and over five hundred deaths.

One thing is clear — gun-free zones are not just ineffective, but counterproductive. If the university policies to deny students their constitutional right to keep and bear arms, even if the student has a valid Firearms Identification Card, the least they can offer is an armed police department.

However, if SUPD is to be armed, there must be appropriate procedures in place, including the use of body cameras on all SUPD officers who are armed. Additionally, I would encourage all members of the Suffolk community to familiarize themselves with Sir Robert Peel, and his nine principles of policing.

If the students and faculty at Suffolk wish to be protected appropriately by SUPD, then the community should support the needs of the department, and arm our officers.

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About the Contributor
Harry Murphy
Harry Murphy, Staff Writer | he/him
Harry is a junior broadcast journalism major from Walpole, Massachusetts. Harry is an Eagle Scout who enjoys being outdoors, and loves spending time with family and friends. In his free time, he enjoys running around the city, or watching any of Boston’s four major sports teams. After graduation, Harry hopes to work as a political correspondent.
Follow Harry on X @harrymurphy1776

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    Matthew NewmanFeb 29, 2024 at 2:39 pm

    Samia is right next to the Ashburton building that houses the Attorney General and many other high level executive positions. 500 feet from Sawyer is the Statehouse which holds the Govenor’s office as well as the offices of the legislators. Furthermore, 500 feet from Sawyer is where the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts is. Suffolk is surrounded in almost every aspect by State Police who protect those important building and if there ever was a security threat at Suffolk, it would take maybe 30 seconds for State Police to respond as their vehicles are parked right next to Suffolk. Also, BPD exists and in many instances they would respond to issues as it is because Suffolk PD is limited in their capacity, whether they had guns or not. I do not think there as any need to arm SUPD.