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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

The Gold Standard: Guns, Jews and shields: In support of arming campus police

Published: October 26, 2007
Section: Opinions

Not only does Brandeis University need for its campus police to be armed;

this decision has not been taken a moment too soon. The reasons why have absolutely nothing to do with last semesters tragedy at Virginia Tech. Brandeis is simply a school which is at especial risk.

Consider the layout of the campus. There are no walls, checkpoints, or other barriers around us;

there are innumerable points at which a hostile individual could enter campus. Many of us remember the yearly occurrences of dangerous non-students causing trouble on campus. I could mention here numerous stalkers in girls dorms, the masturbating man on the Gosman tennis courts, or the first-year North Quad resident who was struck by a non-student this semester in the middle of his quad. These incidents remind us that Waltham is not the safest city in the nation, and that Brandeis is not, in fact, a bubble.

But the real reason that Brandeis is endangered is the one which none dare speak. Brandeis is a Jewish institution. We might not like this;

we might debate the degree to which it is or should be true. But in the popular perception, Brandeis University is a leading light in the constellation of organized Jewry. Its student body is approximately 50% of the Mosaic faith. Its professoriate is frequently quoted in the Israeli and national Jewish press, and includes many leading experts in Jewish and Israeli fields (as Professors Sarna, Troen, Feldman). Soon, Brandeis University will be opening the first Israel Studies center in the United States.

Let us be very clear: radical Islamic terrorists have repeatedly targeted Jews and Jewish institutions. One could cite the 1994 Hezbollah bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, or even the 9/11/01 attacks on the World Trade Center. Of the latter occasion, we now know that Al-Qaeda terrorists had originally intended to attack neighborhoods in Brooklyn, but believed that attacking the WTC would create more Jewish casualties.

The above items are not politically correct. At Brandeis, I should say, few topics are less spoken of or considered in poorer taste. Nor were they among the nine facts cited in the official report of the Firearms Advisory Committee for choosing to arms Public Safety. Nevertheless, they are truths, and I assume the administration considered them in making this decision.

The Committee also noted that they considered guns to be an important tool to respond to crisis situations if such should occur at Brandeis. I have had the privilege of working with the Department of Public Safety on the Greenline Shuttle project last year;

and I, for one, have absolute confidence they are entirely qualified to use the tools required to keep this campus safe. As the administration has rightly concluded that they need guns, guns they should have.

Editors Note: Mike Goldman 08 is the Secretary of the Student Union