Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana has vetoed a bill that would have allowed college students to keep firearms in their dormitory rooms with their roommates’ permission, the Associated Press reported. Students can keep hunting weapons on campuses now, but only in special lockers. The measure, House Bill 240, also would have allowed students to carry concealed weapons if they had a permit to do so and would have prohibited university regents from making any campus rules prohibiting guns. The Montana University system had urged Governor Bullock, a Democrat, to veto the measure.
[For more on this story, see this Chronicle article. Last updated: 11:51 a.m.]
The authorities identified the MIT police officer shot dead by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects as Sean A. Collier, 26, of Somerville, Mass. They said Officer Collier had been found in his car, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, roughly 10 minutes after the police received reports of shots fired on the MIT campus, around 10:20 p.m. on Thursday night.
In a written statement, the university said Officer Collier had been a member of its police force since last January. John DiFava, MIT’s police chief, lauded Officer Collier’s service, saying he “looked at police work as a calling” and was highly involved with the university’s students.
Elsewhere in Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth said on Friday morning that its campus was being evacuated, “in response to information that the person being sought in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing is a registered student.” The university’s statement did not identify the student in question, but reports in The Boston Globe and other news outlets said that the authorities were searching for Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19.
A spokeswoman for Bunker Hill Community College confirmed that the suspect’s older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a firefight with the police early Friday morning, was a part-time student at the college for three semesters, from 2006 to 2008.
An earlier version of this post, last updated at 6:53 a.m., follows.
A campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was shot and killed Thursday night, by what are thought to be the Boston Marathon bombers, and SWAT teams and other law-enforcement officers from multiple agencies killed one of the suspects in a firefight and were searching for the remaining gunman early this morning in nearby Watertown, Mass., according to authorities cited in reports by The Boston Globe and other news outlets.
A message posted on MIT’s emergency-information Web page shortly before 2 a.m. said the police had determined that gunmen were no longer on the campus, adding, “It is now safe to resume normal activities. Please remain vigilant in the coming hours.” But shortly after 6 a.m., the university canceled classes for today and told employees that they could take excused absences.
Boston University, one of whose graduate students was killed in Monday’s bombings, also canceled classes. Boston and Emerson Colleges and Harvard University also have closed. And with the manhunt and shutdown of the regional transit system, other colleges are likely to do so as well.
The officer, who was not identified, was shot multiple times in his car following a reported robbery of a local store, the authorities said, and a manhunt quickly commenced.
Shortly after the shooting, which occurred about 10:30 p.m., the university sent out a text alert and tweets warning students to stay indoors and asking people to stay away from Building 32, the campus’s well-known Stata Center, where police officers and SWAT teams were gathering:
Around an hour and a half after the shots were reported, the Massachusetts State Police confirmed to NBC that a campus police officer had been killed by multiple gunshots. Rumors about the shooting had already been circulating on social media after MIT’s student newspaper, The Tech, published a photo of the scene.
A graduate student at the University of Iowa injured three police officers with a gun before he was killed in a shootout at a mobile home on Sunday, the Associated Press reported. Taleb Salameh, a master’s student in mechanical engineering, was visiting his daughter’s mother, who had previously sought a restraining order against Mr. Salameh, asserting that he had abused her. The police officers arrived at the mobile home after receiving a 911 call. Mr. Salameh died at the scene; the officers were treated at a hospital and released.
The case is unusual because the University of Iowa had expressed concern over Mr. Salameh’s application for a gun permit, in 2010. David Grady, associate vice president for student services, told the Johnson County sheriff, Lonny Pulkrabek, who processes requests for gun permits, “that he had ‘serious reservations’ about Salameh’s application, noting he had been convicted of numerous alcohol-related offenses and was involved in an assault on a student that took place out-of-state in 2009,” the AP reported.
In 2010, when Mr. Salameh applied for the permit, the sheriff’s office had permission to request records from the university when students sought such permits. In February, after an uproar over whether the arrangement violated students’ right to privacy, the university halted the practice.
The sheriff’s office has not yet disclosed the status of Mr. Salameh’s application, so it is not known if he held a gun permit at the time of the shootout.
The University of Iowa has been sharing data on students with local law-enforcement officials who process gun-permit applications, and that information includes some details that are normally kept private, under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, according to the Des Moines Register.
The newspaper reviewed e-mails between the local sheriff’s office and the university, and found that the university provides the sheriff’s office with certain information after the office notifies the institution that a student has applied for a gun permit. The chief of staff to the university’s president told the newspaper that the information could include details about failing grades or signs of depression or anger. He said that the practice dates back many years, possibly to 1991, when an Iowa graduate student shot and killed five people before committing suicide.
The local sheriff told the newspaper that the data in question did not include specific grades, but rather information on whether a student was failing classes or exhibiting troublesome behavior. A university lawyer said a privacy waiver signed by all applicants at the sheriff’s office enabled the university to share information protected by the privacy law, which is known as Ferpa. But the university never sees those waivers, and critics said that the practice probably doesn’t meet the federal law’s requirements, according to the newspaper.
The chief of staff to Iowa’s president told the newspaper that its inquiry had raised “some interesting questions for us,” and added that the university was considering new policies to deal with the matter.
For more, see this Chronicle article.
Image from Flickr user KOMUNnews.