Faculty, staff and trustees will be 1st on an Ohio college campus with permission to carry a handgun.
Written by Cedars Staff
Cedarville University’s board of trustees approved a new concealed carry policy at its most recent meeting.
The policy, a first among Ohio colleges, “authorizes the President to grant permission to faculty, staff, and trustees with concealed carry licenses to carry a concealed handgun on campus under approved terms and/or conditions consistent with state law.”
In March, Ohio became one of 24 states to allow universities to decide whether concealed carry permits should be allowed on campus. The policy will be finalized over the summer by the president and others at the administrative level and go into effect August 1.
“The process to bring a concealed carry proposal to our board for consideration was handled carefully, with significant input and dialogue, and always keeping the safety of our campus community as the highest priority,” Dr. Thomas White, Cedarville University’s president, said in a statement. “We weighed all of the issues very carefully to ensure we were moving in the best direction for Cedarville.”
The concealed carry discussion began in February 2016 when the Ohio House began talks of allowing campuses to make their own decision concerning concealed carry on their campuses. When the bill was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich in December allowing concealed carry at colleges and universities, the process intensified.
“The board discussed this matter, and in our determination, we believed it was important to allow our conscientious faculty and staff to have the opportunity to exercise their second amendment rights, and, if necessary, to defend themselves should an incident arise in the future,” Board of Trustees Chairman Chip Bernhard said in a statement. “It is our prayer, of course, that no one is ever forced to take this type of action.”
Cedarville’s president and trustees have emphasized their care in forming the policy, which included consultations with law enforcement, legal counsel, and insurance representatives.
The administration also held a town hall meeting for university faculty and staff and conducted two campus-wide surveys of faculty and staff. The surveys revealed only eight percent of the faculty and staff on campus were against the potential policy.
Knowing that the trustees would discuss concealed carry at their May meeting, Cedars conducted a student-wide survey in March to see how students felt about the possibility of the concealed carry policy changing on campus.
Thirty-five percent of students responded to the survey and 51.3 percent favored concealed carry on campus, 11.3 percent said no and 36 percent said with limitations.
When asked who should be permitted if a concealed carry policy was adopted, 50.8 percent said administration, faculty and staff only, 43 percent said anyone with a permit including students and 6.2 percent said no one.
In the faculty and staff survey, 73.5 percent of the 347 respondents were in agreement that concealed carry should be permitted among administration, faculty and staff. A fourth of them said they possess a concealed-carry permit.
Many other colleges in Ohio have declined to make concealed carry available on their campuses, including Ohio State and Wright State.
Dr. Patrick Oliver, associate professor of criminal justice and former chief of police in Cleveland, Fairborn, and Grandview Heights, Ohio, contributed to the policy’s development.
“From my perspective as a peace officer in the state of Ohio,” he said in a statement, “I believe the decision to allow law-abiding faculty and staff to conceal carry on campus is strategically beneficial given the growing safety concerns among institutions of higher education.”