Portland State University (PSU) announced today that starting this fall Campus Public Safety officers will begin conducting campus patrols without firearms PSU also launched a new process to Reimagine Campus Safety, an effort that will look carefully at all aspects of campus safety and devise a new approach that addresses the issues of systematic racism and promotes the dignity of all who come to PSU’s urban campus.
“Over the past few weeks we have listened to many voices across our campus,” PSU President Stephen Percy wrote in an email to campus announcing the change. “The calls for change that we are hearing at PSU are ringing out across our nation. We must find a new way to protect the safety of our community, one that eliminates systemic racism and promotes the dignity of all who come to our urban campus.”
Campus Public Safety Chief Willie Halliburton made the decision to begin non-armed campus security patrols as an important first step in building a new approach to campus safety.
“CPSO acknowledges that some individuals on our campus have had negative experiences in their past encounters with law enforcement in their communities. CPSO feels those past experiences should not be a barrier to working together on the holistic plan for Campus Public Safety,” Halliburton said.
Reimagining Public Safety is a process that PSU will begin immediately, developing actionable and innovative measures to revamp the university’s approach to campus safety. The process will be led by President Percy along with a steering committee made up of Jose Coll, Dean of the School of Social Work; Ed Washington, Director of Community Outreach and Engagement, Global Diversity & Inclusion; Motutama Sipelii, President of ASPSU, the university's student government; and Vicki Reitenauer, Faculty, Women, Gender and Sexuality Program, and incoming Chair of Faculty Senate.