January 25, 2016 || Issue: Campus Carry on College Campuses
featured image: Ben Wiseman, for The New York Times Opinion article, “Guns, Campuses, and Madness” by Frank Bruni.
The below place mat was used to guide the discussion among the participants. Three options were presented and deliberated over, and the info graphic below shares some of the opinions and data from the discussion.
This topic provided a lively discussion among participants, with many exchanging stories and personal values.
*Update:* Our public deliberation forum was one of many ways that the Baylor’s Student Government used to compile the opinions of students, staff, and faculty. Based on this information and other sources of opinions, the Student Government passed on their opinion that a majority of the community wanted to ‘opt-out’ of the Campus Carry Act. On February 12, Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr announced our official opposition to the Board of Regents. Read more about that here.
More information was compiled from the six different groups including additional points to consider, questions that were posed, and action steps participants wanted:
Additional points to consider:
- Minority students, international students, racism, prejudices, stereotypes. “In the open carry debate, we often see young white people carrying, while in inner cities we see minorities dying from carrying toy guns.”
- “I would like to emphasize the student to student environment.” We should be able to speak in class without fear and walk around our residence halls without fear. “I have seen people in residence halls get upset about trivial things such as Mario Kart.”
- What rights we already give up at a private institution: drinking on campus.
- Signs and laws and university policies don’t deter people intent on violence.
- “People already carry pocket knives and I’ve never heard of a student being aggressive to teachers [or others] that way.”
- “Send out safety videos in non-mass email format.”
- The GuardianApp is currently not available on Blackberry. Make sure that all students (with and without smart phones and other resources are informed and can get access to help.)
- Guns can act as a deterrent for several types of violence (ex: sexual assault), not just active shooters.
- Based on the demographics of who may have a CHL, “guns would be unequally distributed to certain areas of campus.”
- “There are legal ramifications for showing your gun.” Concealed weapons must be concealed; would the mindset of campus really change?
- “As a university you have people from all over the country and the world and the guns detract. You want to attract people from all over the world. … People’s parents don’t want them in classrooms with people with guns.”
- The University would still have the right to revoke the right of carrying, if we opted in to the law, if a CHL holder was not taking it as a serious responsibility.
- Students don’t always obey laws, ex. drinking age; they may not be the best at following or remembering to leave their concealed firearm at home if they live off-campus. The process of acquiring a CHL does not always mean that person is mature and responsible. “A lot of people go through the process of getting a driver’s license but still drive under the influence.”
- “Baylor should focus more or put more effort on cracking down on people drinking” and other safety issues “regardless of what we decide about the gun issue.”
- “I think a lot of people might not agree on the term ‘safe’ because what makes one person safe might not make another person safe. Some people feel safer is someone has a gun; some people feel safer without guns.”
Questions that were posed:
- So many of these situations are unlikely; if the main focus and question is how to make campus safe and to feel safe—is it with or without people carrying guns?
- “A school that spends money on football should do more on safety.” How do university funds match with the mission of higher education and safety?
- Baylor is allowed to make restrictions—what if only staff and faculty with CHLs were allowed to carry?
- Several students’ tuition is paid by their parents; scholarships are given by donors and companies with firm stances on this issue; how would this decision affect these things?
What participants want:
- Gun/safety seminar
- Trainings in non-violent conflict resolution
- Awareness of the mental health resources that are available
- For classroom safety: a pepper spray closet like the fire extinguishers to use in case of emergency, and window coverings.