SU weapon policy raises concerns

Shippensburg University has caused quite a stir recently with the adoption of its new weapon policy.

Over the past year, seven schools have decided to allow the possession of firearms on campus — SU being one of them.

The policy itself, which is not set in stone, allows students to carry firearms outside of school facilities as long as they can obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

The areas that are off limits, also known as “sensitive areas,” are defined in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Board of Governors draft policy on prohibiting deadly or offensive weapons below:

“All PASSHE buildings or any sporting, entertainment, recreational or educational event at PASSHE facilities or property or sponsored by a university [are off limits]. In addition to traditional classroom events, educational events include commencements, assemblies, outdoor class meetings, field trips, camps and other similar activities. Also, other areas as prohibited by law including daycare centers and elementary and/or secondary schools and grounds. PASSHE buildings include: university academic, athletic, administrative, healthcare or student residence buildings; dining facilities and student union or recreation centers.”

Yet, while the state may feel this is for the good of the faculty and students, many feel this just adds fuel to the fire. University presidents are beginning to show their concern, according to Penn Live. Penn Live also noted that last spring, the presidents of the 14 state universities contacted the PASSHE board to create a system-wide policy banning the permission of weapons on campus and at university events — in exception to the campus police and ROTC program.

The policy also listed the presidents’ concerns. One is that there is a state law banning firearms in schools with K-12 students so universities should have this ban as well due to the fact that there are minors on campus every day, according to Penn Live. Another was the idea that weapons could pose a threat to students who engage in high-risk activities.

Interim President George “Jody” Harpster was unavailable to comment on the date of publication, but the students were.

It seems to be a joint agreement for most students on campus when regarding the new weapons policy.

While students understand what the state is trying to do, many students still feel this is bringing unwanted attention to the big white elephant in the room — another school or university shooting.
Nathan Nemoyer, a senior at SU, finds it contradictive and is confused as to what happens to the weapons when the students enter campus facilities. Roland Johnson III, a junior, has strong feelings against the policy.

“That’s the dumbest thing ever honestly,” Johnson continued, “we have people coming from all over the world and everyone is going out drinking. People already don’t know how to handle their liquor and now you’re giving them the responsibility for weapons. That’s not good news.”

Johnson also went on to say he believes this policy is not a good deterrent to prevent future shootings, saying, “You know something is going to happen, it’s just a matter of time.”

Nick Galbo, a sophomore, has yet to warm up to it as well.

“Guns should be off campus,” Galbo continued. “It’s sketchy.”

While state lawyers and university presidents continue to try and hash this problem out, students have already spoken.

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