Sept. 21, 2007
Regents delay policy decisions on arming police, naming
by Anne Krapfl
The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, discussed arming campus police officers, issues surrounding naming campus units or facilities, and facility renovations during its meeting Sept. 18-19 in Council Bluffs. Following is a summary of board action.
While showing some early support for allowing certified police officers at the three regent universities to carry firearms, the board ultimately delayed a direct decision on arming. Instead, the board unanimously (8-0) approved a motion directing board staff to develop "a comprehensive safety and security policy" that includes a section on arming officers. By a 7-1 vote, with regent Rose Vasquez dissenting, the policy draft will include language that authorizes campus officers to carry and use firearms.
"It's a vote to include guns in the policy that will be voted on later," summarized board president Michael Gartner. He said the policy proposal will include specifics such as which officers will be armed, with what and when. It also will address firearms training requirements and a statistical analysis of campus crime, the latter a suggestion made to Gartner from Ames state senator and faculty member Herman Quirmbach.
Regent Ruth Harkin, who introduced the motion, said she has heard and read a lot in the last few months that indicates firearms are one component of campus security. Communication and better use of available campus resources are others, she noted.
"I don't want to give the impression that we've responded to security by voting on the firearms issue," she said. "Don't we really want a better security policy - that includes this issue?"
Several regents, including Craig Lang, David Miles, Jack Evans and Vasquez, indicated they were ready to vote singly on the arming issue Tuesday. The three regent university presidents spoke in favor of arming.
The board also directed its staff members to draft a new regent-level naming policy that will leave some flexibility with the three universities. The current policy, which is about 20 months old, allows naming for persons, businesses and commercial products.
The board's bond counsel told members that naming spaces or units for businesses can eliminate the tax-exempt bond status for that unit or space for as long as it carries that name. Other issues include perceived benefit to a business when naming actually occurs based on a gift from the separate foundation of the same name (e.g., Ford, Kellogg), the desirability of naming a unit or facility for a product (not a person or a business) and what's occurring with naming on university campuses nationwide.
President Gregory Geoffroy requested as few specific rules as possible in the proposed policy. He also noted the importance of early communication between the university and board leaders regarding gifts that potentially could lead to naming.
East side dining centers
The board approved the schematic design and budget ($15 million) for renovation projects at the Maple-Willow-Larch and Oak-Elm dining centers. The work would be funded by Dormitory Revenue Bonds ($12 million) and dormitory system improvement funds ($3 million).
"Higher enrollments this year are putting increased pressure on dining facilities that already are operating beyond their intended capacities," said vice president for business and finance Warren Madden. "These improvements also will give students the kind of dining choices they want on the east side of campus."
The M-W-L project would begin next June and be completed by July 2009. It includes renovation of the existing space and a one-story building addition of 5,000 square feet to add seating area and provide a more accessible location for the convenience store. The intent is to create a marketplace concept in the dining area, similar to what's in place at the Union Drive community center.
The Oak-Elm project would begin on the heels of the M-W-L project in August 2009 and wrap up by July 2010. The work will renovate the dining area, create specialty food serving areas and improve access to the dining area from the building's main (south) entrance directly above the dining center, including a dedicated stairway and elevator.
The board approved the sale of $12.175 million of taxable bonds to partially fund renovations to Jack Trice Stadium previously approved by the board. The work will begin when the 2007 season ends and wrap up next August. These bonds are taxable due to "business" use of the stadium (such as concessions and rental of the facility for private events). The project also includes $3.5 million in private gifts.
In other business, the board approved Iowa State requests to:
"It's a vote to include guns in the policy that will be voted on later."
Michael Gartner, president, Board of Regents, State of Iowa