Slippery Rock University has a new anti-weapon policy in coordination with a mandate from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to develop a system-wide approach to weapons on the system’s campuses.
The new policy prohibits any weapon in university owned or operated buildings, except by authorized police.
It sounds reasonable enough, but any gun control law always brings with it a lot of debate, especially in western Pa., and this policy is no exception. Using the Second Amendment as their basis, opponents of the new policy are outraged at the university and PASSHE for limiting, what they feel, are their rights as Americans.
In our view, as tuition-paying, full-time students of SRU, the new policy is perfectly fine. It doesn’t limit any of our constitutional rights and it further establishes a safe learning environment for the university’s students.
There should not be guns on campus. It’s ridiculous. There is no need for them.
Opponents of the policy will claim that as a state school, private property laws do not apply to the decision-making, and as public land, restrictions such as these cannot be created.
We’re not sure that is true.
Yes, PASSHE schools are state run schools, meaning they are funded heavily by the public. But that doesn’t mean they promise the same rights as other public places.
For instance, public schools and universities offer only limited access to the public that is funding them. People not working for or enrolled in the university are not allowed to just walk into a classroom building on campus and exercise their right to free speech like they could on public property, such as a sidewalk.
A state university is considered limited public land.
But beyond that, the chancellor and university presidents are not only allowed, but are obligated by Act 188 of 1982 to provide a safe and secure educational environment, and they are “authorized to establish policies governing the use of university facilities and property.”
This new policy falls right in line with a policy that has been around for three decades.
We, as students, certainly feel far safer walking into a classroom when we are sure that no one in that classroom is packing heat.
Now, opponents will argue that they have the right to have a gun to protect themselves should any danger arise on campus.
We’ll maintain the stance that it is up to the university and the police to protect us rather than relying on individual students to protect themselves.
At least on campus.
Because allowing guns on campus will lead to far more trouble than any benefit it might bring.
We feel the school has a right to judge whether or not they want to allow guns on their campus. Luckily for us, it seems SRU has made a good decision on the matter.