Oregon State University has put the brakes on its plan to install its own armed campus security force.
OSU, which cut ties with the Oregon State Police last year in the wake of the controversial Genesis Hansen arrest, says it needs more time to set up its own security. Thus, the OSP will be retained through the end of the year. Wednesday was originally set as the transition day. The OSP is supported by unarmed OSU Department of Public Safety personnel.
“We put on hold the development of OSU’s law enforcement program and related hiring of personnel until we fully engage the community in dialogue and public safety design programs,” said outgoing President Ed Ray in a university-wide email. “At the same time, we must continue to protect the university community and provide emergency response to reported incidents on the Corvallis campus.
“(New) President King Alexander and I agree it will take each member of the university community to achieve transformational reform, support Black Lives Matter and end systemic inequality and discrimination against the Black community and other communities of color. We ask that you join us in committing to action and persistence to provide equal opportunity and success for all faculty, staff and students.”
Ray noted that the delay “will disappoint and concern some members of our university community, and I sincerely appreciate that concern. At the same time, I ask that you trust that we are moving to address what must change and do so in a complete, transparent and caring manner that will provide long-term change while providing needed community protection.”
Hansen, a Black student, was stopped Oct. 13 for riding her bike on the wrong side of a street near the campus and was taken into custody on charges of interfering with a peace officer and resisting arrest after she refused to show her ID. The Benton County District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute those charges. The interaction involving Hansen, an OSP trooper and a Corvallis Police Department officer was captured in a 38-minute video.
On Oct. 16 Ray announced that the university was considering cutting ties with the OSP because of the incident, and the two entities made it official Oct. 29. The goal at that time was to have the new security agency in place by Wednesday.