The Faculty Senate at the University of Central Arkansas passed a resolution Tuesday to support President Tom Courtway’s stance that guns should be kept off campus despite state legislation that would allow the carrying of concealed weapons.
Act 226 will open university campuses statewide to handguns unless the institutions opt out. The law goes into effect 90 days after the state General Assembly adjourns.
The resolution recommends the Board of Trustees opt out of the current law and keep the university’s current policy of a gun-free campus.
The senate is only the latest to say they don’t want guns on campus. Police Chief Larry James told faculty previously that crime on campus is lower than in the community in general. He strongly supported not allowing guns on campus, he said.
“Since day one, the traditional viewpoint of college campuses is that they are sanctuaries, safe places,” James said.
James said those who have a permit for a concealed weapon are not trained for the chaos that comes with having a shooter on campus. The protection of the public should be left up to police, he said.
Professors who might carry a weapon will find it has a “chilling effect” on students-teacher relationships, James said.
Lecturer Deborah Bratton said she is taking a class for a concealed-carry permit but still wants UCA to opt out of the law. She said she would like police to consider an exemption for people who have weapons stored safely in their cars.
“I have no interest in bringing mine to class,” Bratton said.
Even if UCA opts out of the law this year, the issue must be revisited yearly, according to the law.
(Staff writer Scarlet Sims can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1246.)