Dec 152009
 
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

CSU President Tony Frank told student government Senate Wednesday night that he would wait to take an official position on the university’s concealed weapon policy until it provided a unanimous recommendation.

At the same meeting, the Associated Students of CSU moved its concealed carry resolution, which calls for preserving the university’s concealed carry policy allowing concealed weapons on campus, to its University Issues Committee for further discussion and revision.

Although Frank revealed that, in a recent review of the policy, the university’s Safety Committee recommended a ban on concealed carry on campus with a few exceptions, he said he would consider any recommendation by ASCSU before making a final decision.

“A resolution passed unanimously by the Senate has weight,” Frank said during floor discussion.

Senator David Ambrose, who co-drafted the resolution with Senators Cooper Anderson and Sen. Alex Higgins, said it focuses on “pinpointing” the direct advantages of concealed carry. ASCSU has heard feedback from close to 100 students, Ambrose said, and the “overwhelming” majority was supportive of maintainingthe current policy.

“Does banning a gun really keep someone who isn’t clear-minded from bringing a gun onto campus?” he said during floor discussion.

The reasoning behind the Safety Committee’s recommendation to ban concealed carry, Frank said, was concealed weapons do not fit the culture of an academic institution, and allowing concealed weapons on campus could increase the risk of an incident occurring.

CSU hasn’t had an incident since the time of it’s founding, and my philosophy is: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” Parliamentarian Russell Pinkston said during the discussion.

Evidence exists showing that allowing people to carry concealed weapons contributes to safety on campus, Anderson said, and self-defense is a “fundamental right” that students should be allowed to utilize if an incident were to occur.

Upon hearing the Safety Committee’s recommendation, senators fired questions concerning a national statistic that shows that no universities where mass shootings have occurred, including Virginia Tech, allowed concealed carrying on campus.

“That’s the argument right?” Frank said. “The question is: Even if a person had a concealed weapon in that classroom, would things have played out the way they did?”

During discussion, Adday Naoum, director of the Department of Diversity and Outreach, said CSU should not ban concealed carry on campus because people who go through the legal requirements should not be denied the right to carry concealed weapons for self-protection.

“They don’t hand out concealed weapons permits like candy,” Naoum said.

CSU Police Chief Wendy Rich-Goldschmidt said CSU has no way of knowing the identities or numbers of students who have concealed carry permits, and making a decision on whether to allow or ban them from doing so is a “difficult dilemma.”

“At the end of the day I think it comes down to managing risk,” Rich-Goldschmidt said.

During the Senate’s question and answer period, Senate members voiced a desire to see ASCSU conduct a student voice survey, which canvasses 5,000 CSU students, to better grasp student sentiment on the issue.

Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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