Iowa State University nameplate

Inside Iowa State
Gold bar
November 30, 2001

Senate votes against Tasers

by Linda Charles
Expect hard times for a couple of years.

That was the prediction of state legislators who attended the Nov. 13 Faculty Senate meeting.

Iowa State's operating budget this fiscal year started at about 6 percent less than the previous year. A mid-year de-appropriation reduced the budget another 4.3 percent. And the university is preparing for another cut in its budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2002.

Asked when the university's budget situation would "get back to normal," Rep. Barbara Finch (R-Story) said, "I'll bet it's going to be two years. I hope we can level off." Sen. Johnie Hammond (D-Story) concurred.

"I have very deep concerns about our ability to maintain quality at our universities and to maintain the essential services that I think the state expects," she said. "I think it's a good exercise and we need to go through and look at what are the essential services. I don't think there's anyone who wouldn't say that education, from preschool all the way to include our universities, are essential services in the state."

Taser guns on campus
The senate voted 36-25 not to endorse a recommendation that campus public safety officers be armed with Taser stun guns.

President Gregory Geoffroy is seeking comments by Dec. 1 from the university community on two proposals for Iowa State's department of public safety. One would rename the department's "law enforcement division" the "police division." Its sworn personnel would be "police officers" instead of "public safety officers." The second would include the Advanced Taser stun device as part of the equipment carried by officers.

Several senators questioned the need of stun guns on campus, including Max Wortman, management. He noted that the Tasers under consideration look like handguns and speculated that might put campus security officers under more risk.

Wortman also questioned whether bystanders might be hit by the stun gun darts, and said there hasn't been sufficient research on the effects of stun guns on people.

The senate ran out of time before it could discuss the name change in the department, and will not make any recommendation on either proposal to the president.

Free speech on campus
The senate did endorse a proposal that would allow most campus grounds and facilities to be used without permission by the public for non-commercial purposes. The current policy requires university approval for activities held anywhere on campus except public forum areas.

Palmer Holden, animal science, requested that the policy be changed to require groups to schedule events in indoor atriums so they don't conflict with department events planned for those areas.

The senate endorsed the proposal with Holden's change.

The next senate meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, in 260 Scheman.

... Becoming the Best
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
Copyright © 1995-2001, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.