U might ban faculty, staff from carrying guns

While rules ban students from bringing firearms on campus, no such policy exists for faculty and staff.

by Kari Petrie

The University’s general counsel is investigating options for creating a policy prohibiting faculty and staff from carrying guns on campus, University Provost Christine Maziar said Monday.

The discussion comes after Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed the Minnesota Citizen’s Personal Protection Act into law April 28. The law mandates standards in issuing permits for carrying handguns.

The student conduct code currently bans students from bringing guns on campus, but there is no policy relating to faculty and staff carrying guns.

University Vice Provost Craig Swan said the University should create such a policy.

“(A new policy would) make clear the expectations of the University and puts us in a stronger position should anything happen,” Swan said.

Minnesota’s new law has a provision stating public colleges and universities may establish policies restricting employees from carrying or possessing a firearm “while acting in the course and scope of employment.”

Institutions may take action against employees who do not follow its gun-related policies.

The provision also states “a post-secondary institution may not prohibit the lawful carry or possession of firearms in a parking facility or parking area.”

Regent Dave Metzen said he is unsure why the University does not have a faculty-staff gun policy. He said before the bill was passed, the University did not need a policy because it was harder to get a gun.

Metzen added that the administration should look at making policy changes.

“We have an obligation to study and look at the ramifications of how it affects the University – both students and staff,” he said.

Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said the University should bar employees from bringing guns on campus because they might compromise the safety of students and staff on campus.

“This is a lunatic law,” she said. “We have to do everything we can to find loopholes in the law to protect ourselves. Ö I’m embarrassed that this kind of thing has passed.”

Pappas said Minnesota’s law is less strict than a similar conceal-and-carry gun law in Texas.

Monty Jones, associate director for public affairs at the University of Texas-Austin, said Texas law specifically states students, faculty and staff cannot carry guns on university and college campuses.

Kari Petrie covers the Board of Regents and administration. She welcomes

comments at [email protected]