Create a free Diverse: Issues In Higher Education account to continue reading

U. of Central Arkansas Opts Out of Guns on Campus Law

CONWAY, Ark. — The University of Central Arkansas’ Board of Trustees has voted to not allow faculty and staff members with concealed-handgun permits to carry their weapons on campus.

The board voted 5-1 Friday to opt out of the new state law that allows weapons on campus carried by faculty or staff members with a concealed-carry permit. It is the state’s first four-year college to do so.

UCA President Tom Courtway, campus Police Chief Larry James, the staff senate and the faculty senate recommended the action.

“I believe our campus is very safe” Courtway told trustees. He said he thought it best “that no one has weapons (on campus) other than law-enforcement people.”

Trustee Kay Hinkle voted not to opt out, saying she believes law-abiding citizens with a concealed carry permit should be allowed to carry a gun on campus.

“I believe in the Second Amendment and anybody who is a law-abiding citizen who is trained to carry a gun should be able to do so,” Hinkle said. “I think it’s their right to be able to do that. That’s just my opinion. I know I’m in the minority. I can’t live with myself if I don’t express that,” she said.

State Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, who is a UCA faculty member, co-sponsored the legislation and said he believes it will make campuses safer as faculty and staff could protect students, and said he hopes the board will reconsider its stance next year.

“It (the vote on whether to opt out) will come back every year at every university,” Lowery told The Log Cabin Democrat.

Officials at other four-year public universities in the state either support opting out or have not yet developed a position.

University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt “will be visiting with our board chairman and campus leadership in the coming weeks before making a recommendation on this issue,” spokesman Ben Beaumont told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The UA system includes the flagship campus in Fayetteville, and campuses in Little Rock, Fort Smith, Pine Bluff and Monticello.

Arkansas State University Chancellor Tim Hudson said in an email that he will recommend that the campus not allow the carrying of guns on campus.

“My decision is based on feedback from all our constituencies students, faculty and staff. Additionally, our university police department contends that this is in the best interests of the safety of our campus,” Hudson said.

A spokesman at Southern Arkansas University said SAU faculty and staff have recommended to opt out.

Officials at Arkansas Tech University and Henderson State University say there have not been recommendations yet on the law.

A New Track: Fostering Diversity and Equity in Athletics
American sport has always served as a platform for resistance and has been measured and critiqued by how it responds in critical moments of racial and social crises.
Read More
A New Track: Fostering Diversity and Equity in Athletics