Prohibit ALL students, including on-duty student police officers, from bringing weapons to class.
  • Petitioning The Senate, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador

This petition will be delivered to:

c/o Sheila Singleton, Secretary of Senate, pro tempore
The Senate, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador

Prohibit ALL students, including on-duty student police officers, from bringing weapons to class.

    1. Petition by

      Stephen Crocker

      St John's, Canada

In November of 2013, the Senate of Memorial University of Newfoundland  and Labrador voted to exempt on-duty student police officers from an existing university regulation (8.4) which prohibits all students from bringing weapons onto campus and into classrooms. The revised regulation now allows on-duty student police officers to bring their loaded weapons to class. 

 

This decision, which many believe greatly affects the educational quality and safety of our classrooms, took place with virtually no public discussion. Almost no one with whom I have spoken in the university has heard about this decision and almost everyone I have told about it has expressed opposition to it. This petition asks the Senate to reverse the decision and reinstate the previously existing regulation that prohibits ALL students, including student police officers from bringing weapons onto campus and into classrooms.

There are a number of compelling reasons to be concerned about this change in firearms policy and to insist that the decision allowing firearms in classrooms be reversed.

1. In  their consideration, Senators in favor of the exemption argued that on-duty police are allowed to be on campus with guns anyway, when they are called for police emergency.  But 'the police'  only come on campus with guns for reasons of  extreme emergency.  To make the emergency protocol  the normal operating procedure for everyday classroom use  is an unprecedented and frightening development.

2. The reason for this new policy is that the police claim that it is inconvenient for on-duty student Police officers to change out of uniform before coming to class. Is an organizational scheduling problem sufficient reason to impose this enormous change in weapons policy on campus? Have the Senate and police department explored all other possible options? Surely there must be many other ways of solving the minor problem of changing uniforms. The police department is located less than ten minutes from campus. Can they change there? Could they have a change room and locker at the offices of Campus Enforcement and Patrol? And why do Police get such special treatment here? Many other students have equally complex schedules and deal with the inconvenience of having to change before class.

3. Like many others with whom  I have spoken, I am frightened by the prospect of a gun in a classroom. I do not think that I can be as focused on teaching in the presence of a gun. The President of the Graduate Students Union has said, in a letter to the Telegram, that he thinks he could not be as effective a student in the presence of guns. Would you want to be a student sitting next to someone with a gun? Do you feel free to speak your mind in the presence of a gun? These are important questions about basic principles of university life: can the threat of violence and force coexist with the spirit of education? 

4.There are also basic questions of personal safety to be raised. There is a powerful argument  to be made that introducing a gun into a situation makes it a more dangerous situation. What if, for instance, the lone  student Police officer, his/her  attention already divided between between police duty and class discussion, is overpowered by one of his sixty classmates and the gun is made available to others? Then we find that we are a captive population in a  closed  room with a gun - a familiar scenario in countless scenes of gun-related violence on North American campuses. It seems clear to me that even the possibility of this scenario is a significant threat to personal safety and cannot be justified by the minor convenience of not having to change before class. 

5.In all of this, I think that the important point to be made is that we do not teach ' the Police' as such. MUN is not a police academy. We teach students who happen to be police. We teach all sorts of other professionals as well, and we expect them to leave their professional paraphernalia at home. While we teach them, they are students. Students are not allowed to have guns in the classroom. If this means that the police cannot be on duty while in class ( how could they do that effectively anyway?), or must lock the guns in the trunk of their  cars while in class, then that seems like a reasonable compromise.

6. Even if it is only a small minority  who feel strongly opposed to the presence of loaded weapons in class, that should be enough to compel the Senate to reverse the decision  since all that is at stake here is a minor scheduling conflict in the police department that cannot warrant the enormous change in university culture that  this new regulation brings into effect. 

The Senate of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador  should reverse the decision to allow weapons in the classroom. Clearly the decision was made without adequate consultation of all those affected and without due consideration and public debate of all possible alternatives to this drastic measure. We do not want to attend classes with armed student police officers and believe that other less extreme solutions should be found for the problems of scheduling and uniforms changes in the police department.

 

To:
The Senate, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, c/o Sheila Singleton, Secretary of Senate, pro tempore
Prohibit ALL students, including on-duty student police officers, from bringing weapons to class.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. RNC are entitled to time off DURING THEIR SHIFT to attend university.

      Stephen Crocker
      Petition Organizer

      I have learned that that the current RNC Collective Agreement ( available online) clearly states that officers may request time off DURING THEIR SHIFT to attend class.

      Clause 29.07 reads :

      Police officers who are enrolled in either the Criminology
      Certificate Program or in the Degree of Bachelor of Arts (Police Studies)
      program at Memorial University may request from the Chief of Police time offo attend classes which occur during their regular shift.

      So, the police themselves gave this issue some forethought and considered it reasonable and desirable that officers take time off during their shift in order to attend class.

      If you have a moment, write the senate ( senate@mun.ca) and ask if they were aware of this important piece of information when they changed weapons regulations. Some may now wish to change their position. Ask the Senators who represent your faculty. Let them know that police do not need to be on duty or in uniform or armed while attending class.

    2. Reached 500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • una marsden ST JOHN'S NL, CANADA
      • 3 months ago

      people are dangerious, we dont need guns to help t

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Eric Brushett ST JOHN'S, CANADA
      • 4 months ago

      I have friends and family who attend MUN, I believe having guns in classrooms has the potential to endanger their lives.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kevin Halleran ST. JOHN'S, NL, CANADA
      • 5 months ago

      totally inappropriate

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Hannah Delaney CONCEPTION BAY SOUTH, CANADA
      • 6 months ago

      I am a student at Memorial University.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Thatguy Jim MT PEARL, CANADA
      • 6 months ago

      Police officers are people, and like all other people they exercise judgement before acting. The RNC Mun Campus Shooter who fired her pistol weapon at someone 'accused' of pilfering out of parked cars. The RNC Mun Campus shooter thankfully missed this citizen and he escaped with his life. It is pure chance, or luck that no MUN student was killed by the 'lost bullet'. Any conflict in a classroom could result in similar 'bad judgement', and a student being shot dead. Get angry at a Prof raise your voice & you risk an armed student Police officer deciding whether you are a threat. Remember the RNC Mun Campus Shooter last month. Crazy, dangerous, loose cannon.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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