A Majority of the Portland State Community Surveyed Favors Disarming Campus Police, Report Says

Fifty-two percent of students, faculty and staff surveyed supported taking guns away from campus safety officers.

A majority of Portland State University community members want the college to take guns away from campus police officers, a report released Friday afternoon says.

The 209-page report explores concerns raised after the June 2018 shooting that killed Jason Washington in front of the Cheerful Tortoise and lists the choices the university can make in regards to having armed cops on staff.

The report surveyed students, faculty and staff, and found that 52 percent favored disarming campus police, 37 percent wanted officers to keep their guns, and 10 percent did not have an opinion on the matter.  4,145 people responded to the survey, out of 27,670 students and thousands of staff and faculty.

"While there is a general impression that most Portland State University members support disarming CPSO police officers, the survey results show that the PSU community remains divided on the question of whether or not sworn PSU officers should be armed," the report says. "There are clearly mixed opinions about this issue within the campus community."

The report also notes that the results may have been affected by the phrasing of the question because the survey asked if people support having "trained and armed" officers on campus. Some respondents explained in follow-up comments that they support "trained" officers but not officers armed with guns.

Despite the majority support for disarming officers, the report does not suggest PSU disarm its cops.

"We believe that Portland State should retain armed officers, albeit in a form different than the current model," the report concludes. "Disarming [Campus Public Safety Office] officers would make PSU an outlier amongst its peers and would represent an abnormal step with respect to campus safety models in higher education."