Who would have thought that simply passing campus carry at a state university could have such an effect? Although my daughter won’t be going to college for at least a decade, Kansas University is looking pretty good. I carry, and want my children to have the same option whether at home or college. However, at least one Kansas professor disagrees. His open letter makes some rather outrageous claims to supporters of the Second Amendment.
In 2013, the Kansas Legislature passed legislation allowing lawful gun owners to carry concealed handguns on all Kansas university campuses and in campus buildings, beginning July 1, 2017. In order to be in compliance with state law, the Kansas Board of Regents approved its new weapons policy on January 20, 2016. This policy applies to all Regents institutions, but allows each university to determine some specific ways to implement the policy on their campuses. The Regents asked KU and the other institutions to submit their policies by October 2016.
After eight months of work—headed by its university-wide Weapons Policy Advisory Committee and two campus implementation committees—KU submitted its draft weapons policy to the Regents on October 10. The Regents governance committee approved its policy at the November board meeting. The policy was approved by the full board December 14, 2016.
And the Professor Who Can’t Handle It
Jacob Dorman: Why I’m resigning from KU, an Open Letter
In light of the state of Kansas’ apparent determination to allow the concealed carry of firearms in the classrooms of the University of Kansas, I am writing to tender my resignation effective two weeks from today as an associate professor of history and American studies at the university. I have accepted a job in a state that bans concealed carry in classrooms.
I proudly served as a KU professor for a decade, from 2007 until 2017, and have a great deal of affection and gratitude to the university, Lawrence and the state of Kansas. Kansas is a great and beautiful state that is refreshingly different than the coasts. I have enjoyed getting to know Kansans from all parts of the state as my students, neighbors and friends, and I’ve especially benefited from getting to know Kansans from rural communities where gun ownership and hard work are equally a way of life. But Kansas will never secure the future that it deserves if it weakens its institutions of higher learning by driving off faculty members or applicants who feel as I do that there is no place for firearms in classrooms. Kansas can have great universities, or it can have concealed carry in classrooms, but it cannot have both.
In practical terms, concealed carry has proven to be a failure. Campus shootings have become all too frequent, and arming students has done nothing to quell active shooter situations because students do not have the training to effectively combat shooters and rightly fear becoming identified as suspects themselves. But beyond the fact that concealed carry does not deter gun violence, the citizens and elected representatives of Kansas must recognize that this is a small state, and in order to run a premier university, which is necessary for the health and wealth of the state, it must recruit professors from out of state. Recruiting the best trained professors necessarily means recruiting from coastal areas and progressive college towns where most people do not believe that randomly arming untrained students is a proper exercise of the Second Amendment’s protection of a well-regulated militia.
Moreover, we discuss sensitive and highly charged topics in my classroom, concerning anti-religious bias, racism, sexism, classism and many other indexes of oppression and discrimination. Students need to be able to express themselves respectfully and freely, and they cannot do so about heated topics if they know that fellow students are armed and that an argument could easily be lethal. Guns in the classroom will have a chilling effect on free speech and hinder the university’s mission to facilitate dialogue across lines of division. That stifling of dialogue will hurt all students, including the ones with guns in their pockets.
Let us not let the NRA destroy the future of the state of Kansas with a specious argument about the Second Amendment. Guns do not belong in classrooms any more than they belong in courtrooms, but a university simply cannot afford metal detectors at every entrance. Kansas faces a very clear choice: does it want excellent universities with world class faculty, or does it want to create an exodus of faculty like myself who have options to teach in states that ban weapons in classrooms? Does Kansas want to reinvent itself as a center of innovation and prosperity, and attract the minds that will create the jobs that the state needs to be prosperous for the 21st century, or does it want third-rate universities that will not find the cures, patent the drugs, train the engineers, start the companies, or innovate the laws and social programs that will bring the state lasting prosperity and health?
This is the truly concealed question that faces Kansas’ citizens and legislators in the concealed carry debate. I hope for the sake of the future of the great state of Kansas that its Legislature will make the right decision and take a stand against weapons in classrooms, and in favor of excellence in education.
It is quite obvious the professor thinks quite highly of himself. Of course, how could Kansas, or any midwest state for that matter, ever hope to produce an intellectual of his caliber? “Recruiting the best trained professors necessarily means recruiting from coastal areas and progressive college towns…” And how about the absurd accusation that people cannot have an intelligent or honest conversation if there is the possibility of a student being armed? How many students are returning military with multiple combat tours? I mean, “randomly arming untrained students…” really? I suppose this means the people educated in coastal, ivy league universities are the product of schools that mold young minds instead of teaching them to actually think and reason for themselves.
You Make the Call
I’ll admit it; I’ve earned several degrees from a coastal schools, including some from liberal schools, including UCLA which Dorman also attended. However, before that, I did a couple of hitches in the military including time in the sandbox in the first Gulf War. So, what do you think? Should students be allowed to carry on campus? Is Prof. Dorman rightfully afraid to teach at KU, or just another gun hater? Was Thomas Jefferson correct when he said, “An armed society is a polite society” or would the potential presence of a firearm stifle open dialogue? Did the Jayhawks ranking just go up in your estimation?
Share your answers, as well as your opinion, on this this story and the author’s points in the comment section.