- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Students at Portland State University were joined Monday by Black Lives Matter activists in protesting the presence of armed police officers on campus.

PSU officials approved to beef up campus security last December by arming its police officers. Protesters gathered Monday to disrupt the freshmen welcoming ceremony and call on officials to reverse its decision, a local Fox affiliate reported.

“We feel we would be much safer without [armed officers], especially with the Portland Police Bureau office main precinct being about five blocks away,” PSU student Mason Ashwill told the station. “So we don’t see no real reason for having guns on campus and it makes me feel a lot less safe.”

Protesters walked out of the university president’s convocation opening ceremonies, chanting “Disarm PSU” and “Black Lives Matter,” a local ABC affiliate reported.

The rally was organized by the Portland State University Student Union, a group dedicated to advancing “the principles of horizontality, equality, and direct democracy,” Campus Reform reported.

“After all this time, we know that the only way to oppose it if we do want change is to be as loud as possible,” organizer Olivia Pace told ABC.

PSU spokesman Scott Gallagher defended the university’s new policy, telling Campus Reform that it was developed with significant input from the school community and is consistent with the approaches of other public universities in Oregon.

“The decision was a culmination of two and a half years of engaging the campus and creating a task force made up of faculty, staff, and students to decide how best to improve safety,” he said. “That task force recommended that the Board of Trustees approve the creation of a police force that would be armed.”

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