Univ. dean calls students with concealed carry permits 'untrained cowboys'

Two Grand Valley State University deans denounced a student senator’s Good Samaritan proposal Thursday evening at a university student senate meeting, calling students with Concealed Pistol Licenses (CPL) “untrained cowboys,” in response to legislation that would allow students to carry their CPL firearms that could be used in the event of an emergency.

Maddie Cleghorn, GVSU’s Senate President, read aloud a message from Frederick Antczak, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, in which he recounted having “heard things from uneasy faculty” about the resolution he claimed to be in violation of the university’s student code.

“Please, please, please don’t suspend the code, which would in effect encourage carrying guns on campus. It would be so easy for such a student to be mistaken (not by trained police, but by untrained cowboys who’d never have been in a live fire situation) as the shooter,” Antczak asserted, according to the meeting’s minutes. “There’s something antithetical in the words ‘gun’ and ‘university’,” he continued.

The school’s Director of Judicial and Special Programs, Aaron Haight, also offered her commentary through Cleghorn.

“Adding a loophole or form of acceptance of guns on campus, does not make campus any safer,” she argued, according to the minutes. She also asserted that first responders would not be able to identify an active shooter if several students had guns in a crisis scenario.

Benjamin Soltis, the student senator who proposed the resolution, released a statement Friday requesting to meet with the university officials over their “unprofessional behavior on behalf of the students they are entrusted to teach and lead to success.”

“As a tuition-paying student at this institution, I find it concerning that these leaders within our university are being paid to release commentary that runs contrary to what our university stands for. We should be about the free exchange of ideas in an ever-changing world. These two deans have offered no substantive facts that apply to the issue of firearms on campus, rather resorting to bare hypothetical situations, name calling, and saying, ‘No guns here!’ Not only is this detrimental to the safety of the student body, they are publicly telling criminals that we as students are unarmed victims on campus,” the senior senator Tweeted.

Proposed earlier this month, Soltis’ controversial “ Resolution to Incorporate a Good Samaritan Policy in the Student Code to Allow Legally Carried Firearms on Campus to be Used in Case of an Emergency” aims to apply Michigan law, which permits the carrying of CPL firearms on campus, to GVSU’s Student Code, which bans all firearms except those of law enforcement personnel. However, the resolution also notes that the code’s ban is based on “undetermined legal footing and is currently being challenged in the Michigan Court of Claims.”

Soltis told Campus Reform that a resolution like his could have enabled students in the Umpqua Community College shooting last month to defend themselves, pointing out that “In Oregon, case law says that properly licensed people can carry on the campus grounds but that they couldn't carry into buildings.

“That negates the prospect of even carrying on campus if you can't carry to your class,” he noted, while also pointing out that Michigan law allows students with a CPL to conceal carry on campus and open carry in university buildings.

“My resolution would waive Student Code sanctions if it could be reasonably proven that a person used a lawfully carried firearm in an emergency where there was an immediate danger to their life. The student code bans all firearms, so in effect, if a person had a concealed firearm on them during a school shooting, they wouldn't have to consider the reprimands from breaking the student code. In UCC, it would have allowed someone who was legally carrying a firearm to use it.”

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