Proposed weapons ban sparks controversy

The first steps in amending South Puget Sound Community College’s current weapons policy evoked dissenting views within the SPSCC campus community.

After deeming the current policies unclear and outdated, the SPSCC faculty senate researched the weapon policies at Washington state community colleges.

In collaboration with the Assistant Attorney General and the Human Resources Department, the faculty senate prepared an updated policy. The proposed policy change would make the campus a “weapons-free zone.” Weapons would be prohibited on SPSCC property, regardless of whether a person has a concealed weapons permit or is otherwise authorized to possess or use such a weapon.

The proposed policy must first pass through the College Council, then the president and his staff, and finally the Board of Trustees, which will make the ultimate decision.

In order to acquire more feedback and opinions, the College Council set up an online survey on April 15 for students, faculty, staff, and community members to fill out on the SPSCC homepage. SPSCC students, staff, and faculty will have further opportunity to be a part of the decision through public forums held by the College Council and the Board of Trustees.

Since 2011, the SPSCC faculty senate has been investigating the college weapons and firearms policies. However, the first step of the policy-change process began on April 3 this year when the College Council held a forum to hear SPSCC students’ opinions on the proposed weapon policy.

Students, faculty, and staff alike are divided over this controversial issue.

According to SPSCC Maintenance Mechanic Dennis Presley, the proposed policy is unenforceable and only makes our campus vulnerable.

“In gun-free zones, everyone is rendered incapable of defending themselves if something or someone – like a crazy shooter – were to appear,” he said.

SPSCC student Jeanna Lombardo said, “I feel much more safe when I know the people around me have the means to protect myself and others if a shooter showed up.”

“Who puts a gun-free zone sign in front of their house? Nobody, because that puts a target on your back,” Presley said.

By denying the ability to legally store defensive weapons while on campus, this policy could possibly put students in danger because they would have no place to leave their weapons in case they needed them, said Carol Hogan, an instructional support tech at SPSCC.

“Do you propose a lock box for such items?” asked Hogan, “If they fear their safety to and from work or school, what are their options?”

Student David Detrick said he opposes a weapons ban, because it infringes on his Second Amendment right.

“Without any negative weapon incidents, I don’t see how taking more rights away from students could be seen as a step in the right direction,” said Detrick.

SPSCC Counselor Sally Sharbaugh is for the proposed policy because she said it will provide a psychological safety for students.

“I think it’s scary that people have the right to carry guns here on campus. It’s a melting pot of people in America, and you never know what people are going to do if they have a gun close at hand,” said Rob Dixon, a student at SPSCC.

“In order to learn, people need an environment free from threats and distractions [which] prompt them to be more focused on their safety than their learning,” she said.

Of the six speakers at the forum, the majority were against the policy.

Yet six is a small representation of the SPSCC campus community, making some of the College Council members nervous about moving forward.

Vice President for Student Service and a member of the College Council, Rhonda Coats said she feels it would be in the council’s best interest to not move forward without gathering additional input from students, faculty, and staff.

“We need to take our time and not rush this,” said Coats.

Once the College Council has a more solid idea of what the campus community wants, they will make a recommendation to College President Timothy Stokes and his staff.

The SPSCC campus community will have another chance to weigh in on the proposed weapon policy at the Board of Trustees public forum meeting scheduled for June 25.

Until then, students, faculty, and staff can build up their arguments and participate in the online survey.The first steps in amending South Puget Sound Community College’s current weapons policy evoked dissenting views within the SPSCC campus community.

After deeming the current policies unclear and outdated, the SPSCC faculty senate researched the weapon policies at Washington state community colleges.

In collaboration with the Assistant Attorney General and the Human Resources Department, the faculty senate prepared an updated policy. The proposed policy change would make the campus a “weapons-free zone.” Weapons would be prohibited on SPSCC property, regardless of whether a person has a concealed weapons permit or is otherwise authorized to possess or use such a weapon.

The proposed policy must first pass through the College Council, then the president and his staff, and finally the Board of Trustees, which will make the ultimate decision.

In order to acquire more feedback and opinions, the College Council set up an online survey on April 15 for students, faculty, staff, and community members to fill out on the SPSCC homepage. SPSCC students, staff, and faculty will have further opportunity to be a part of the decision through public forums held by the College Council and the Board of Trustees.

Since 2011, the SPSCC faculty senate has been investigating the college weapons and firearms policies. However, the first step of the policy-change process began on April 3 this year when the College Council held a forum to hear SPSCC students’ opinions on the proposed weapon policy.

Students, faculty, and staff alike are divided over this controversial issue.

According to SPSCC Maintenance Mechanic Dennis Presley, the proposed policy is unenforceable and only makes our campus vulnerable.

“In gun-free zones, everyone is rendered incapable of defending themselves if something or someone – like a crazy shooter – were to appear,” he said.

SPSCC student Jeanna Lombardo said, “I feel much more safe when I know the people around me have the means to protect myself and others if a shooter showed up.”

“Who puts a gun-free zone sign in front of their house? Nobody, because that puts a target on your back,” Presley said.

By denying the ability to legally store defensive weapons while on campus, this policy could possibly put students in danger because they would have no place to leave their weapons in case they needed them, said Carol Hogan, an instructional support tech at SPSCC.

“Do you propose a lock box for such items?” asked Hogan, “If they fear their safety to and from work or school, what are their options?”

Student David Detrick said he opposes a weapons ban, because it infringes on his Second Amendment right.

“Without any negative weapon incidents, I don’t see how taking more rights away from students could be seen as a step in the right direction,” said Detrick.

SPSCC Counselor Sally Sharbaugh is for the proposed policy because she said it will provide a psychological safety for students.

“I think it’s scary that people have the right to carry guns here on campus. It’s a melting pot of people in America, and you never know what people are going to do if they have a gun close at hand,” said Rob Dixon, a student at SPSCC.

“In order to learn, people need an environment free from threats and distractions [which] prompt them to be more focused on their safety than their learning,” she said.

Of the six speakers at the forum, the majority were against the policy.

Yet six is a small representation of the SPSCC campus community, making some of the College Council members nervous about moving forward.

Vice President for Student Service and a member of the College Council, Rhonda Coats said she feels it would be in the council’s best interest to not move forward without gathering additional input from students, faculty, and staff.

“We need to take our time and not rush this,” said Coats.

Once the College Council has a more solid idea of what the campus community wants, they will make a recommendation to College President Timothy Stokes and his staff.

The SPSCC campus community will have another chance to weigh in on the proposed weapon policy at the Board of Trustees public forum meeting scheduled for June 25.

Until then, students, faculty, and staff can build up their arguments and participate in the online survey. “Without any negative weapon incidents, I don’t see how taking more rights away from students could be seen as a step in the right direction,” said Detrick.

SPSCC Counselor Sally Sharbaugh is for the proposed policy because she said it will provide a psychological safety for students.

“I think it’s scary that people have the right to carry guns here on campus. It’s a melting pot of people in America, and you never know what people are going to do if they have a gun close at hand,” said Rob Dixon, a student at SPSCC.

“In order to learn, people need an environment free from threats and distractions [which] prompt them to be more focused on their safety than their learning,” she said.

Of the six speakers at the forum, the majority were against the policy.

Yet six is a small representation of the SPSCC campus community, making some of the College Council members nervous about moving forward.

Vice President for Student Service and a member of the College Council, Rhonda Coats said she feels it would be in the council’s best interest to not move forward without gathering additional input from students, faculty, and staff.

“We need to take our time and not rush this,” said Coats.

Once the College Council has a more solid idea of what the campus community wants, they will make a recommendation to College President Timothy Stokes and his staff.

The SPSCC campus community will have another chance to weigh in on the proposed weapon policy at the Board of Trustees public forum meeting scheduled for June 25.

Until then, students, faculty, and staff can build up their arguments and participate in the online survey.The first steps in amending South Puget Sound Community College’s current weapons policy evoked dissenting views within the SPSCC campus community.

After deeming the current policies unclear and outdated, the SPSCC faculty senate researched the weapon policies at Washington state community colleges.

In collaboration with the Assistant Attorney General and the Human Resources Department, the faculty senate prepared an updated policy. The proposed policy change would make the campus a “weapons-free zone.” Weapons would be prohibited on SPSCC property, regardless of whether a person has a concealed weapons permit or is otherwise authorized to possess or use such a weapon.

The proposed policy must first pass through the College Council, then the president and his staff, and finally the Board of Trustees, which will make the ultimate decision.

In order to acquire more feedback and opinions, the College Council set up an online survey on April 15 for students, faculty, staff, and community members to fill out on the SPSCC homepage. SPSCC students, staff, and faculty will have further opportunity to be a part of the decision through public forums held by the College Council and the Board of Trustees.

Since 2011, the SPSCC faculty senate has been investigating the college weapons and firearms policies. However, the first step of the policy-change process began on April 3 this year when the College Council held a forum to hear SPSCC students’ opinions on the proposed weapon policy.

Students, faculty, and staff alike are divided over this controversial issue.

According to SPSCC Maintenance Mechanic Dennis Presley, the proposed policy is unenforceable and only makes our campus vulnerable.

“In gun-free zones, everyone is rendered incapable of defending themselves if something or someone – like a crazy shooter – were to appear,” he said.

SPSCC student Jeanna Lombardo said, “I feel much more safe when I know the people around me have the means to protect myself and others if a shooter showed up.”

“Who puts a gun-free zone sign in front of their house? Nobody, because that puts a target on your back,” Presley said.

By denying the ability to legally store defensive weapons while on campus, this policy could possibly put students in danger because they would have no place to leave their weapons in case they needed them, said Carol Hogan, an instructional support tech at SPSCC.

“Do you propose a lock box for such items?” asked Hogan, “If they fear their safety to and from work or school, what are their options?”

Student David Detrick said he opposes a weapons ban, because it infringes on his Second Amendment right.

“Without any negative weapon incidents, I don’t see how taking more rights away from students could be seen as a step in the right direction,” said Detrick.

SPSCC Counselor Sally Sharbaugh is for the proposed policy because she said it will provide a psychological safety for students.

“I think it’s scary that people have the right to carry guns here on campus. It’s a melting pot of people in America, and you never know what people are going to do if they have a gun close at hand,” said Rob Dixon, a student at SPSCC.

“In order to learn, people need an environment free from threats and distractions [which] prompt them to be more focused on their safety than their learning,” she said.

Of the six speakers at the forum, the majority were against the policy.

Yet six is a small representation of the SPSCC campus community, making some of the College Council members nervous about moving forward.

Vice President for Student Service and a member of the College Council, Rhonda Coats said she feels it would be in the council’s best interest to not move forward without gathering additional input from students, faculty, and staff.

“We need to take our time and not rush this,” said Coats.

Once the College Council has a more solid idea of what the campus community wants, they will make a recommendation to College President Timothy Stokes and his staff.

The SPSCC campus community will have another chance to weigh in on the proposed weapon policy at the Board of Trustees public forum meeting scheduled for June 25.

Until then, students, faculty, and staff can build up their arguments and participate in the online survey.

One comment on “Proposed weapons ban sparks controversy
  1. Would it not make sense that those of us who are responsible adults that have come to the age that we can, by law carry a firearm in the public also have those same rights as students in a college that is part of that same public community? This isn’t high school! We are adults, not children. Also I should like to add that the existing gun policy is an exact copy of RCW 9.41.270. Titled weapons apparently capable of producing bodily harm_unlawful carry or handling. I only know this because I do carry a firearm and have since I could and read the law frequently.

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