A decision about whether to arm Herkimer County Community College's campus safety officers has been delayed until at least February.

A decision about whether to arm Herkimer County Community College's campus safety officers has been delayed until at least February.

Campus Safety Director Michael Lemm resigned earlier this month, and HCCC President Ronald Williams wants to wait until a replacement is hired before making a final decision, he said. 

DECISION AT A GLANCE What: Herkimer County Community College President Ronald Williams must decide if some or all of the 11 campus security guards should carry guns.

When: The decision has been postponed until February so that a new campus safety director can be found.



Williams initially planned to make a decision by the end of the current semester, which ends this week.

The school shooting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in April left college officials across the country questioning safety.

Williams, who is retiring next spring, has the sole power to make the decision about arming officers at the college. He could decide to arm some or all of the 11 campus officers.

"It's a gray decision," Williams previously said, "and whichever way you go, there's potential for problems."

Williams has hosted forums with students, faculty and staff to understand the concerns on campus. He said he gathered all the input he was looking for but hasn't made a final decision.

“We're not going to decide about this until we get a new director,” he said.

The college is advertising for the campus safety director position and expects it probably will take about one month to fill, Williams said.

The reason for Lemm's resignation was not available.

Second-year student Sean Coughlin, 21, Phi Theta Kappa president at HCCC, said many students are against arming the officers because students worry officers will show up at out-of-control parties and pull their guns, Coughlin said.

But Coughlin said he thinks he can trust the officers with guns.

“Personally, I'm all for it,” he said. “As long as there's training and they're going to be experienced, then I'd say go for it.”

Observer-Dispatch