The University of Oregon is attempting to turn the Department of Public Safety into a fully sworn police force, complete with guns and tasers.
Students overwhelmingly disapprove of having these weapons on their campuses -- no surprise based on the fact that in the past few years two students have been tased and hundreds of others have been tear-gassed. Not to mention, transforming DPS into a police force will cost millions. These funds will be paid for on the backs of students with reduced funding for higher education and with the reserve funds that Universities should be using to lower tuition.
Weapons like these have no place on college campuses and, at a time when students at the UO are paying 70% more than 4 years ago for an education, it is not the time to be making these types of irresponsible expenditures.
This spring, 78% of students at the University of Oregon voted that they do not want a campus police force -- and with good reason. At a time when students are paying 70% more for higher education than they did 4 years ago, expenditures on campus police are unnecessary.
80 percent of Oregon students that qualify for Oregon opportunity grants do not receive them. Tuition at the UO is going to rise 8.4% next year. Staff are being threatened with pay cuts. And the cost of a campus police force is estimated to be equivalent to as many as seven faculty positions in the first year.
This bill, SB405, also puts in place the infrastructure for runaway higher education costs. While the UO is asking for 26 police officers, the bill caps at 50. And the conversation the legislature is currently having is exclusively about the UO. If Universities other than the UO choose to have campus police officers, as is permitted under SB405, costs could skyrocket beyond their projections.
Students, staff, and faculty are counting on you. Please veto SB405.