CLEVELAND OH Jan 20 2017 Ohio- Officials at most of Ohio's public and private colleges have decided the best action regarding a new state law allowing permit holders to carry a concealed firearm on campus is no action.
Senate Bill 199, signed by Gov. John Kasich on Dec. 19 lifted the blanket prohibition on firearms but only if a college's board of trustees agreed to allow concealed carry on campus. Kasich's action occurred as Ohio's colleges emptied for winter break. Officials did not have a chance to discuss the law and address any concerns until recently.
Cleveland.com surveyed every private and two-year college in Northeast Ohio and every public university statewide on the issue.
The general consensus: do nothing.
That's because the law maintains the current prohibition preventing concealed handguns on any property owned or leased by a public or private higher education institution unless the gun is locked in a motor vehicle.
This makes the law, which takes effect March 19, vastly different than one in Texas, which permits people 21 or older with concealed handgun licenses to take their handguns onto public university campuses. Colleges had little recourse but could restrict guns from dorm rooms and allow faculty to declare their offices gun-free zones.
Lawrence Pollock, chairman of the Kent State University board of trustees:
"The university policy on deadly weapons as approved in September represents the Board's position on this issue and we have no plans for further action."
"I know this bill has been a topic of discussion across the College, and our faculty has brought various concerns to campus leadership and to me for clarification," Cuyahoga Community College President Alex Johnson wrote in a campus email on Friday. "I have been in close communication with Tri-C Board Chair Victor Ruiz and the other trustees about this matter. Tri-C's Board of Trustees has no intention of taking action to permit concealed carry in Tri-C facilities."
The new law is on the agenda for OU's trustee executive committee's meeting on Friday.
The issue has been widely discussed on the southeast Ohio campus.
The Faculty Senate passed a resolution in opposition to concealed carry. The Student Senate is holding a referendum to decide its official stance on a state bill, according to the student newspaper The Post.
"Whereas the full and free discussion of potentially controversial ideas and knowledge is essential to the academic mission of the University; and Whereas the possible presence of concealed weapons in instructional spaces and faculty offices will have a chilling effect on the free exchange of ideas; BE IT RESOLVED that the Faculty Senate urges the Ohio University Board of Trustees to take no action that would allow concealed carry on any of our campuses in order to reaffirm our commitment to a weapon free campus," the Faculty Resolution states.
Notre Dame College: "The Notre Dame College Board of Trustees will be discussing the Concealed Carry issue at their next meeting on February 17.' wrote spokesman Brian Johnston in an email. "Prior to that, College administrators and our chief of police will meet to discuss the matter and consider recommendations for Board discussion."
"Prior to that, College administrators and our chief of police will meet to discuss the matter and consider recommendations for Board discussion," he wrote.
Bowling Green State University: "President Mary Ellen Mazey will recommend to our Board of Trustees that the current ban on concealed carry remain in place on our campuses," said spokesman Dave Kielmeyer in an email.
Northeast Ohio Medical University: "In addition to being a public university, we are unique in that we have a public high school located on our campus as well as the Rootstown local schools across the street from our campus," wrote spokesman Roderick Ingram in an email. "We plan to address this with our Board of Trustees during our March board meeting."