James Stakenas, vice president of Administration and Finance, and Joseph Charon responded to questions at the SGA meeting.
Director of Public Safety Joseph Charon presented updates about the arming of public safety officers to students at Monday night’s SGA meeting.
“No decision has been made regarding the arming of public safety officers at this time,” he said. “We will continue hosting small campus based community meetings on the issue throughout the semester and this will lead to the subsequent presentation to the Board of Trustees, who will then make the final decision.”
James Stakenas, vice president of Administration and Finance, said implementation costs would be $25,000 and annual maintenance costs nearing $6,000. These costs would be covered by the College’s operating budget, which is primarily funded through student fees, he said.
“There is some flexibility within the budget,” Stakenas said, “and no budget cuts would need to be made.”
Charon conducted research at Westfield State University and Mount Holyoke College to view how they implemented the arming of their officers.
He also said the immediate difference between local colleges such as Williams College and Berkshire Community College compared to MCLA is that MCLA’s security force is made up of police officers.
“We have a duty to act,” he said. “We can’t ignore that duty. Firearms would give us the ability to respond to unpredictable situations as primary agents.”
Last year, there were two robberies and an aggravated assault charge on campus, Charon said. In all instances, the assailants used weapons.
“I know this is a very important dynamic community issue,” Charon said. “Having open minds, being educated on the topic, and trying to learn as much about the issue as you can matters. But ultimately, the Board of Trustees makes the final choice.”
Charon also said at the meeting that Public Safety has moved to 277 Ashland Street, while Facilities relocated to Townhouse 4.
“There was collaboration with the McCann Technical School and MCLA on the design and floor plan of the building,” he said. “The two students who directly influenced the design now attend MCLA.”
SGA elections were held Tuesday and Wednesday in the Bowman Lobby. Results will be announced within the following weeks.
Also announced at Monday’s meeting is the upcoming Community Day of Service scheduled for Saturday, October 8 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Service will take place at Brayton Elementary School, YMCA, and the Brayton Hills Housing community.
Students will participate in flower planting, playground upkeep, work on a community vegetable garden, and street crosswalk painting. Transportation will be provided. For more information, contact Spencer Moser via Firstclass.
SGA meetings are held every Monday at 7 p.m. in Murdock 218 and are open to the public. However, there will be no meeting on Columbus Day, Oct. 10.