MOSCOW, Idaho ― The University of Idaho is taking steps to comply with a new state law that allows people with an enhanced concealed-carry permit to bring a concealed weapon on campus.
The law takes effect on July 1.
New University of Idaho president Chuck Staben sent a letter to the school community last week. It announced the formation of a task force to recommend policy changes the school should make to ensure campus safety while adhering to state law.
The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports the university currently does not allow guns on campus and that policy will remain in effect until July 1.
“In order to fully understand the implications of and implementation of this new law, I will name a task force made up of faculty, staff, students and law enforcement representatives who will assess the law, consult experts and propose a comprehensive university policy regarding possession of weapons on university property,” Staben wrote in the letter.
The goal is to promote “a safe living, learning and teaching environment at university locations statewide,” he wrote.
The new law does not allow people to carry firearms within dormitories, residence halls or any public entertainment facility with a seating capacity of at least 1,000 individuals. It also outlines that carrying a weapon while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is unlawful.
Bill Goesling, a member of the Idaho State Board of Education, said the task force will be a helpful tool. He compared it to the alcohol task force UI formed last year, which he said was an effective method of addressing policies to limit alcohol abuse on campus.
“Anytime you open up your communication system to allow for more input, (it) works out well,” he said.
Goesling said he believes other universities and colleges in Idaho will create similar task forces.
Idaho Faculty Senate Chairwoman Trish Hartzell said many people on campus are worried about the ramifications of the new law.
Membership on the task force is not for those wanting to express their personal agenda on the controversial law, she said. Instead, the university is looking for people who are knowledgeable on the subject and can make appropriate recommendations, she said.
“That way we can have a calmer, more rational discussion,” she said.