We, the American University chapter of the American Association of University Professors, stand resolutely against arming the University’s campus police force. We agree wholeheartedly with the opinion expressed by The Eagle’s Editorial Board that those guns will endanger the lives of students, faculty and staff. We share the Board’s concern that bringing guns onto the campus will adversely impact students from minority groups who already deal with racial profiling.
Given that the arming of the campus police force impacts the safety of every member of the American University community, the decision must not be made unilaterally. The AAUP’s stance on this issue is part of our larger efforts to urge the University administration to avoid top-down decision-making, in which consultation with faculty, students and staff is merely performative. To avoid performative consultation, the administration must seek input from all community members and integrate it into any decision. The administration also needs to engage the University’s brain trust: faculty who specialize in studying the impact of different forms of policing on social equity. Groups who might be adversely affected by changes in campus security policy should also be consulted.
We furthermore stand in solidarity with the Board’s concerns around inadequate campus safety, particularly the documented nonfunctional “blue light” towers. These towers exist for students in distress to directly contact campus safety. The administration should prioritize the restoration of functional towers and other nonlethal campus safety measures rather than arming the campus police force.
The American University chapter of the American Association of University Professors is a recently-formed advocacy group dedicated to promoting academic freedom and shared governance. The AU chapter’s leadership consists of president John A. Willoughby (Professor, Economics), vice president Patrick Thaddeus Jackson (Professor, SIS) and secretary/treasurer John R. Bracht (Associate Professor, Biology). This article was originally published on the American University AAUP website and currently has 121 signatures from AU faculty.
This article was edited by Jelinda Montes, Alexis Bernstein and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis.