Union leaders to discuss plan to arm URI police

The leadership of the union that covers faculty at the University of Rhode Island is meeting to discuss further steps it can take in response to a plan to have campus police carry guns.

Frank Annunziato says the executive committee of the URI chapter of the American Association of University Professors is meeting Tuesday. Among the steps he says they could take is to hold a vote to express opposition to the plan, which the union's executive committee and faculty senate have opposed.

Critics say the school didn't listen to their input, that there isn't much crime on campus, and that arming officers is costly and dangerous.

"There's no need and it presents a serious threat to campus safety. The fact that students are shot on campuses elsewhere and you can't be shot by something that's not there. You're not going to be shot by a gun nobody has. So it's kind of ridiculous to think that adding guns to campus is going to make students and faculty and the community any safer. It really makes no sense whatsoever," Judy Van Wyk, a union board member, told NBC 10 News.

The group represents about 700 faculty members.

URI is the nation's only public university where campus police do not carry guns. President David Dooley last week cited safety concerns when he announced campus police would be armed.

During a scare last year, a gunman was reported on campus.{} It turned out to be untrue, but campus police had to wait for town and state police to respond.

URI officials expect campus officers to be armed by next spring semester.

The union wants the university to provide a written use-of-force policy.

NBC 10 News contributed to this report.