On Tuesday, the New York Times published a Room for Debate segment on whether or not guns should be permitted on college campuses. “Supporters say guns make campuses safer. Opponents question the effect guns have on public safety and freedom,” reads the accompanying blurb. These columnists tackled the question of whether or not licensed students and professors should be allowed to carry their guns on campus.

One of the contributors, Amanda Collins, argued that affiliates should be permitted to carry on campus, and poignantly recounted the story of her rape — and her feeling of overwhelming powerlessness. “Permit holders are not allowed to carry firearms on campus,” she explained, but “I feel certain that I would have been able to stop the attack.”

Another, Nelson Lund, argued that “the university police are unable to prevent violent crimes, and it is heartlessly arrogant to disarm potential victims, leaving them and those they could protect at the mercy of rapists and other predators.”

The other two contributors argued against permitting students to carry weapons on campus. Today’s shooting at UCLA, about which details are only now starting to trickle in, is only the most recent reminder of the relevance and urgency of this conversation.

Somehow, none of the four featured columns commented on New York City’s puzzling system of campus safety. Perhaps for Lund and Collins, the reality — that most campus public safety officers are unarmed — is entirely unfathomable.

According to their website, at New York University “the public safety team is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our communities across NYU’s global network.” Uptown, “the mission of the Columbia University Department of Public Safety is to enhance the quality of life for the Columbia community by maintaining a secure and open environment where the safety of all is balanced with the rights of the individual.” And, at Barnard, “the safety and well being of students, faculty, staff, and guests have always been of paramount importance.”

But despite these promises of protection, campus public safety officers at all three institutions are unarmed.

The classic arguments for gun control — fewer homicides, suicides, accidental deaths, instances of mass murder — cannot logically be applied to a unit of trained security guards.

Proponents of the policy argue that in the city, the NYPD are always mere minutes away. But in a crisis, every moment matters, and the job of a campus public safety officer — who, by nature, will be more familiar with all the nooks, crannies and particularities of a campus — should consist of more than dialing 911.

And with the recent revelation that a former Columbia student left the country to join ISIS, one might imagine a heightened sense of insecurity on the university’s campus. The student escaped to Turkey where he turned himself in at the American consulate — an institution whose guards, I imagine, are armed.

At the University of Rochester, debates over whether or not to arm campus public safety officers devolved into a conversation on race relations and alleged biases. An article in UR’s Campus Times quotes one student contending that ultimately, the arming of campus public safety would result in “an innocent black or brown body” getting assassinated.

Is the natural outgrowth of the Black Lives Matter movement the call to disarm all police officers?

Talk about an unsafe space.

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