Joe Olson, who retired as president of Umpqua Community College at the end of June, said that within the past several months the college had discussed hiring an armed security guard but ultimately decided against it.
“We talked about that over the last year because we were concerned about safety on campus,” he said. “The campus was split 50-50. We thought we were a very safe campus, and having armed security officers on campus might change the culture.”
Dr. Olson, a former deputy sheriff in Massachusetts, said there had not been a specific incident that had prompted the idea of hiring armed security, but there was a generalized fear. He said he did not believe a security guard could prevent a gunman determined to kill.
“If you want to come on the campus and you want to shoot five people, you are going to do that before our security would arrive,” he said.
Dr. Olson said the typical student on the Umpqua campus was older than the average college student, and many were taking courses in nursing, automobile mechanics and welding to learn new skills. Many had lost jobs in the timber industry, he said.