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Thursday, November 30, 2023

The UF administration is in trouble.

It has the task of figuring out if using a Taser gun on UF student Andrew Meyer during Sen. John Kerry's appearance Monday was justified. A document from the University Police Department would suggest its officers were well within their bounds to use a Taser on the disruptive student.

But maybe UPD's policies need a few changes. Thousands of UF students and thousands of people across the nation seem to think so. At the very least, the overwhelming opinion is that Meyer's actions didn't merit a Tasering, regardless of what the UPD handbook says.

Tasers shouldn't be banned from campus. In light of what happened at Virginia Tech, there may be a time when using a Taser is necessary. And it's completely possible someone could become very violent on campus and an officer would be justified in using a Taser.

A Taser is a much better alternative to a gun, especially in Florida, where it's perfectly legal to shoot first and ask questions later. But just because it's a less deadly weapon doesn't mean it can be used with abandon.

The police have the responsibility to be very careful any time they consider applying pain in exchange for compliance. There's a fine line between using power and abusing power.

Even though it updated its Tasering policies in March, UPD must revise them if it hopes to regain credibility among students. UF announced it will ask the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to look into when it's appropriate to use Tasers.

Accent, Student Government speakers' bureau, said it won't change its security policy at speeches and events, and we applaud that. But we hope UPD considers changing its Taser policy.

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