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.