Time for a campus safety discussion

Let me first say that I am beyond grateful the situation on Monday involving an armed man didn’t escalate into something much worse.

While our first and foremost concern should be making sure everyone is safe on our campus, I fear many will read this letter and initially feel that it’s “too soon” to raise serious questions about the campus weapons policy. I contend that it’s never too soon to talk about how people on campus can remain safe. If anything, it’s too late.

After a recent string of armed robberies on and near the University of Minnesota campus, it’s no surprise that people on campus feel less safe in our community. Unfortunately, because of an undoubtedly well-intended policy, even law-abiding citizens are restricted in their basic right to self-defense at the University.

How many of these horrifying school shootings and incidents will occur before we realize that these self-inflicted gun-free zones are doing nothing to protect the safety of students?

Instead, whenever such a situation arises, students are forced into panic as they have no real means of protecting themselves. The weapons policy leaves people at the University defenseless against those who wish to do them great harm.

As a law-abiding carry permit holder licensed by the state of Minnesota, I personally feel safest when I possess a means of defending myself, which is when I carry. It is when I am restricted of this human right that I feel terribly unsafe and unprotected.

It is the role of University administration to provide the student body with a safe environment for learning and development. Writing words in a Board of Regents policy that criminals don’t follow falls short of doing just that.

Like many others, I am sick and tired of being exposed to such danger. While I understand that my opinion is likely not that of the majority, I still urge all members of this community to understand that now is the time for a real campus discussion about safety.