URBANDALE -- Over the past several days there has been much discussion among policy makers and the press regarding security issues, including arming campus police officers at Iowa's three public universities. This discussion and strong feelings on both sides of the issue have come about because of the unimaginable tragedy at Virginia Tech University. While it is natural for caring citizens and policy makers to have immediate and strong opinions about how to react to horrible events like the one at Virginia Tech, it is very important that decisions like arming campus security officers on the university campuses and other recommendations being discussed not be made too quickly and without very careful and thoughtful analysis.
The Board of Regents, consistent with its governance role, has already initiated this analysis with the three universities. Governor Culver and the Board have asked the universities to undertake a comprehensive and detailed review of campus security protocols, procedures, technologies, and prevention counseling techniques that are currently in use by the institutions, and to explore process and protocol improvements as well as other improvements they may uncover in the course of this analysis. This information will be invaluable, not only to the Board of Regents and the Governor, but to the citizens of Iowa and the students and their parents who attend one of Iowa's universities, in determining whether improvements and changes need to be made to the current protocols and procedures which currently exist.
The Board is also very interested in learning all of the details concerning the events at Virginia Tech. New information is released each day, and it is very important that Iowa's universities, and universities across the country, have an opportunity to learn from the Virginia Tech experience, both the positive and negative aspects, so that decisions that are made in Iowa reflect lessons and protocols that worked or did not work in the Virginia Tech experience. Before any final decisions are made, it is imperative that we know and understand the current procedures and policies at Iowa's universities, and know and understand the totality of the information at Virginia Tech so that thoughtful, informed and wise decisions are made.
Michael Gartner, President
Board of Regents, State of Iowa