Jun 292010

Editor’s note: Seth Stern was a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the CSU System’s ban on concealed weapons on campus. That lawsuit has been dismissed.

While most of western civilization celebrated Cinco de Mayo by consuming vast amounts of alcohol, the CSU Board of Governors voted unanimously to overturn its prior, incomprehensible decision to ban concealed carrying of firearms on campus after the Colorado Court of Appeals struck down a similar ban in place at CU-Boulder.

Far be it from me to criticize a decision I agree with, but I have to say the board’s initial decision to pass a policy based on unreasonable fears, talking points and a desire to make CSU more like other universities –– most of which have a similar concealed carry ban –– was appalling.

Following the ruling against CU-Boulder, CSU officials said campus presidents would go back to the drawing board and construct laws that fell in line with state law, according to reporting by the Collegian.

My hope is that the BOG recognizes the outrage and consternation demonstrated by the CSU students as undeniable evidence that we did not come to Fort Collins to be sheep; we came here to be Rams.

Despite the faculty and public safety team –– both of whom recommended banning weapons –– apparently feeling they were making decisions that would be accepted by a student populace that had clearly drifted to the left for the 2008 election, the student body recognized the threat presented by a gun-free zone and made its collective anger known.

What gun control advocates do not seem to comprehend about gun free zones is active shooters simply do not care about the ban on firearms.

As a result, if a licensed concealed permit holder were in a classroom or building attacked by an active shooter, there might be a chance of terminating the incident without even needing to fire a shot.

Professor Richard Eykholt responded to a similar claim made by students during the fall semester: “If you have a classroom situation where somebody starts shooting and other people are shooting back, there is a real opportunity there for more bystanders to be injured,” he said.

Well professor, since we obviously can’t use your superior intellect to help us off Gilligan’s Island, perhaps you can tell me approximately how many students will be injured or killed when an active shooter enters a gun free zone?

My guess – based only on recent American history, facts and logic –– is, a lot.

What the student body really needs to take from this is that the administration, the Board of Governors, the Public Safety Team and the faculty, have zero interest in what the student body has to say about pretty much anything.

They ignored the 21-3 vote by student government’s Senate to uphold the concealed carry policy; they ignored the protests; they ignored the petitions.

When it came down to it, they only cared they were going to lose a very public lawsuit on a completely frivolous policy.

So where do we go from here? Well, sadly, it appears if the law is not entirely clear on a policy proposed by the BOG, as it argued was the case with conflicting state laws in the case of the gun ban. It will move forward on the policy despite the concerns of the students or students’ parents.

This means CSU’s bureaucracy potentially threatens all student freedoms. My fear is the only reconciliation available to students moving forward on any of issue of rights is to immediately seek legal counsel and file a lawsuit.

The student outcry against this policy was overwhelmingly in support of allowing concealed carry on campus. We had the facts, we had the arguments, we had the history and we had the popular support.

Ultimately, the student body should make decisions affecting the student body; not a geographically separated group of adults unconcerned with the desires of the student body.

At the end of this fight, the system worked. We didn’t turn the other cheek and forget this was happening. We galvanized, we played the game and we came out on top.

Enjoy your summer, CSU. When we come back next fall, we will still have some line of defense between all of us and an active shooter. Well played. Today, I’m proud to be a CSU Ram.

Seth Stern is a senior journalism and sociology major. His column will appear periodically throughout the summer. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:23 pm

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