‘They are not ready’: SGA passes resolution in opposition to concealed carry on-campus

After a lengthy debate, the Wichita State Student Government Association passed a resolution declaring that they do not support the concealed carry of handguns in campus buildings and that they wish to craft a recommendation for Kansas state legislators calling to extend the exemption on concealed carry until July 1, 2020. Current policy is set to allow the concealed carry of weapons in campus buildings July of 2017.

The resolution passed 27 to 4 with 2 abstaining.

A Kansas Board of Regents Student Advisory Committee gun survey that was prepared by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University said 55.4 percent of WSU students are dissatisfied with the idea of handguns on campus. It has also been reported that 40 percent of students said they would be less likely to attend WSU once the law is in effect.

The resolution also cites a report prepared in October by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health entitled “Firearms on College Campuses: Research Evidence and Policy Implications.”

The report examines “the capacity and proclivities of adolescents and young adults of typical college age to make prudent decisions about when or how to use firearms.” It links to the “onset of severe mental illness during young adulthood, the frequency of binge drinking of alcoholic beverages among college students and the violence that stems from that drinking.”

Some senators questioned the validity of this report to the campus carry debate, claiming that the study does not specifically examine the presence of guns on campus and that off-campus incidents that take place in private residences are not relevant to the debate of this policy.

“I think it’s important for us to have more time to prepare,” said Graduate Senator Deborah Ojeda, author of the resolution.

Senator Brayden Hosman argued that the law went into effect in 2013 and that the university has already had four years to prepare.

“Instead of working against the state, we should be working with Wichita State,” Hosman said.

Legislative Director Marilyn Morton said that many universities have put off drafting their concealed carry policies “to the last minute.”

Freshman Senator Sandra Carlo argued that the student body fears for safety on campus.

“The university has not taken all the steps necessary, and more importantly the student body feels that they are not ready,” Carlo said. “Specifically minority students. They do not feel safe. They do not want to attend.”

Diversity Task Force Char Tracia Banuelos also expressed a fear for minority students.

“As a woman of color, I feel unsafe with guns on campus,” Banuelos said.


Graduate teaching assistants have also expressed concerns that they do not feel prepared for this policy to take effect.

“I know a lot of other students and other GTAs have a lot of fears that the new policy might be infringing on what they feel they can talk about in classes,” Julia Siwierka, a graduate teaching assistant, said. “I’m not entirely sure what kind of training there is going to be on campus for faculty, but I haven’t heard anything for GTAs.

“My concern is that I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing if there was a situation in my class,” Siwierka said.

The debate eventually shifted away from discussion of extending the exemption on concealed carry to whether or not handguns have a place on Wichita State campus.

“I am a fan of responsible gun ownership. However, I believe there are some places where there should not be guns,” Senator Ian Englebright said. “I believe that, on a college campus, people should not be allowed to carry a gun.”

Despite SGA’s opposition, the resolution’s impact on the upcoming implementation of the policy was doubted.

“Regardless of what this senate feels — this will happen,” Hosman said.