The Rhode Island Board of Education voted 8-1 to allow leaders at the state's three institutions of higher education to decide for themselves whether to arm campus police.
"The way things are nowadays, I see the need for increased security," one University of Rhode Island student told NBC 10.
Calls to arm campus police got a boost after reports of a gunman in a URI building last month. No gun or shooter was found, but supporters of arming campus police say the incident highlighted security weaknesses.
"It took them forever because they don't have that ability. And if that was serious, they took too long. You don't know what could have happened," another URI student said.
URI administrators are in favor of arming campus police. However, the Community College of Rhode Island is not.
CCRI school officials said because they don't have residential halls or dorms, and they don't post major events to the public, and the campuses have strong relationships with police, they said they feel response time by police is already good.
Students at the school weren't surprised that officials don't want to arm campus police officers.
"Maybe if we had dorms or parties for a need, but I don't necessarily have (a feeling) one way or another," one CCRI student said.
Students at Rhode Island College agreed.
"To my knowledge, we haven't had any incidents here so I think it's kind of something that they're better off letting the police handle it and call as needed," one RIC student said.