Earlier this week I wrote about the decision made by Villanova University to create an armed police force on campus.
As you might expect, such a decision invoked strong opinions on each side of the issue, and it did not take long to find out what those opinions were.
Several students who were against the decision planned a protest, which took place today. Numbering about 150 students, the protest started off with a prayer on the steps of the church (this is a Catholic University after all), followed by a silent march across campus.
Several of the protesters were interviewed afterwards.
One student was quoted as saying, “”I think it’s a response in fear, I don’t think guns are a solution to guns, and I don’t think it aligns with the Catholic values of this university.”
Other students seemed to be concerned about the lack of transparency and lack of student input into the decision making process, and were asking that the decision be reversed. They also asked for a meeting with the administration to discuss the issue.
To be fair, I should point out that not everyone is against the decision to arm the public safety officers. I have heard from a few faculty, and students, who believe that such a move will lead to a safer campus.
What I found most interesting while watching the news coverage of the event (see the end of this blog for the video) was that one of the people marching was a priest, a member of the Theology department. I say interesting because the decision to create the armed police force was ultimately made by the President of the University, who is also a priest.
When interviewed, the protesting priest said, “Rather than offer the principles of the NRA – more guns, less violence – we need to affirm the Catholic principles of peace and justice”, and he believed that the decision-making process was “rigged,” and that the conclusions of a two-year task force that studied the issue were kept secret.
Beyond the fact that the protest march took place, what I liked most about it was the fact that the students were willing to stand up for something they believed in, and did so in a peaceful manner.
It was great seeing the idealism of youth in action; they haven’t yet, and hopefully never will, become cynical.
So who knows what the outcome of their protest will be.
Perhaps they will find out that speaking out can lead to changes.
Or perhaps they will learn that despite your best efforts, you don’t always get what you want.
Either way, it’s a lesson learned, and that’s what college is all about.
So I applaud those who protested, and encourage you to keep standing up for your convictions.