Thursday, October 16, 2014

Why I Don’t Want Guns in My Classroom

The Chronicle of Higher Education
October 14th, 2014

Every morning as I head to my office at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, I have to drive past two armored military vehicles aimed in my direction: an M60 tank and an M42 Duster anti-aircraft gun. The vehicles are on display in front of the National Guard Armory, which happens to sit beside my academic building, and the campus and the armory share an access road. While the armored vehicles may be an appropriate symbol for the armory, they create an unfortunate and unwelcoming entrance to campus. Each day students, faculty, and staff are greeted with an image of violence and aggression that is unsuitable for an academic setting.
In the same regard, I worry about the presence of weapons on campus. Last year, out of concern for legal challenges, Kutztown University and four other universities in our state system relaxed their gun policies. Initial reports about the policy change stated that any person who wished to carry a gun on campus must first obtain permission from campus police, but those reports were incorrect. University Relations and local police have confirmed that, as a result of the new policy, any person with a gun permit can now legally carry a concealed weapon onto campus without permission, provided he or she does not bring the weapon inside an academic building or to a campus “event.” Under the same policy, anyone who has “compelling personal safety concerns” can request permission from campus police to bring a gun onto “university property,” but the term “university property” refers to buildings (the university campus is considered state property). Therefore, any person who has obtained permission can legally bring a gun into a building, even the classroom.

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