December 2, 2015
University distinguished professors issue statement on weapons policy
Forty of Kansas State University's university distinguished professors sent Kansas Legislators a letter urging them to allow universities to regulate the presence of guns on campuses. Following is the letter that was sent.
To the Kansas Legislature:
In July 2017, Kansas Regents Institutions will lose their exemption from Kansas legislation that permits the carrying of firearms in all public places. Until that time, colleges and universities have had the authority to restrict firearms if they believe them incompatible with the function and mission of their campus. Our university has done so, a policy which we strongly support.
Our administration and campus community have made that choice for a wide variety of reasons.
Suicide is a threat to people of traditional college age; death by gunshot is the most prevalent suicide mortality. We believe that easier access to guns will mean losing more of our students to suicide.
Accidental shootings injure both gun owners and those around them. University classrooms, labs, libraries, athletic venues, and other public spaces bring people in close proximity to one another. Accidental shootings cannot occur in the absence of guns and we believe more guns will increase the likelihood of accidental shootings of our co-workers, our students and the guests who come to our campuses.
There is no evidence that increased gun presence has decreased death or injury by guns on campuses. Whether on campuses or elsewhere, private citizens have had no appreciable success in preventing deaths by intentional shooters, accidental shooters, or suicidal individuals. Beyond the boundaries of universities, the evidence is that the presence of guns in homes increases the likelihood of death or injury by gunshot. We believe our community is safest without guns in our midst, except in the hands of on-duty law enforcement officials.
We think that officially allowing firearms on campus for students, faculty and staff will make it more difficult to recruit those who are uncomfortable with guns in their learning or working environment, and we worry that we will lose valuable members of our campus community to other universities.
We are dedicated teachers, mentors, researchers, and colleagues. We believe that the unrestricted presence of guns in our classrooms, offices, lecture halls and other spaces will make us and our students feel less safe. It will compromise the open door policy many of us maintain, in which students and others are free to drop by our offices to consult or converse. It will make students less open to working together with others whom they may not know well, and will adversely affect their educational experience. We believe that by compromising the safety of our community members, sanctioning guns on campus goes against the mission of the university.
We, the undersigned University Distinguished Professors, strongly urge the legislature to allow colleges and universities to regulate the presence of guns on their campuses, granting them permanent relief from the Kansas Personal and Family Protection Act.
Christer Aakeroy, Chemistry
John Blair, Biology
Frank Blecha, Anatomy and Physiology
Susan Brown, Biology
Yolanda Broyles-González, American Ethnic Studies
M.M. Chengappa, Diagnostic Medicine
Lew Cocke, Physics
Robin Denell, Biology
Elizabeth Dodd, English
Walter Dodds, Biology
James H. Edgar, Chemical Engineering
Bikram S. Gill, Plant Pathology
Wayne Goins, Music
David Hartnett, Biology
Dale Herspring, Political Sciences
Duy H. Hua, Chemistry
Ryszard Jankowiak, Chemistry
Anthony Joern, Biology
Michael Kanost, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics
John Leslie, Plant Pathology
Robert Linder, History
Daniel C. Marcus, Anatomy & Physiology
Richard A. Marston, Geography
Subbaratnam Muthukrishnan, Biochemistry & Molecular Physics
T.G. Nagaraja, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology
Philip Nel, English
Harald Prins, Anthropology
Charles Rice, Agronomy
Juergen Richt, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology
Thomas Roche, Biochemistry & Molecular Physics
Ted Schroeder, Agricultural Economics
Chris Sorensen, Physics
Brian Spooner, Biology
Sandra Stith, Family Studies & Human Services
Xiuzhi Susan Sun, Grain Science & Industry
Michael Tokach, Animal Sciences & Industry
Barbara Valent, Plant Pathology
Philine Wangemann, Anatomy & Physiology
Ruth Welti, Biology
Dean Zollman, Physics