State of the University

University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead delivered his State of the University Address in the Chapel in Athens, Ga., January 21, 2015.

University of Georgia President Jere Morehead released a statement through an Archnews email Wednesday night voicing his opposition to Georgia House Bill 859, which advocates for allowing students to carry firearms on campus. 

In the email, Morehead included remarks from University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby, who testified against HB859 in the Georgia Senate Judiciary Committee earlier Wednesday. Morehead said in the email that he supports Huckaby's testimony.

Huckaby said in the testimony that the USG Board of Regents, 29 university presidents, police and parents of students “feel strongly that current law strikes the right balance between creating a safe environment on our campuses while affording those individuals who are carry users a safeguard location."

Huckaby said in the testimony that the opinion is “supported by the experience of campus presidents and campus public safety departments, who are closest to the day-to-day reality and operations of the state’s public colleges and universities." He also said that “allowing students to have firearms on campus makes [police officers’] jobs extremely challenging, particularly if an extreme emergency were to occur."

Under state law and UGA policy, students cannot carry guns on campus. HB859 would allow anyone over 21 years old with a weapons license to carry a concealed gun on public college campuses in Georgia, except in dormitories, Greek houses and at athletic events.

The chancellor said that USG must provide students and faculty a safe environment, a responsibility it takes very seriously, according to his testimony.

“The bottom line — we oppose this legislation,” he said.

The House bill in question passed the House on Feb. 22 by a 113-59 vote, and is in the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

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(1) comment

dj7

In an environment where the university has zero control over what (or even who) comes on campus, I believe that responsible students with a concealed weapons license should absolutely have the right to protect themselves. You can be assured that someone meaning to do harm will not give a second thought about the current law and the university could do very little to prevent it. Your rights shouldn't be stripped from you in order for you to get an education, particularly on a large campus where the administration has no control and police response times may not be adequate to protect you. Responsible students should be allowed to protect themselves, it's as simple as that. I realize that a dangerous crime or an active shooter situation is a very remote (but real) possibility. That being said, my point remains the same. The doomsday campus carry scenario's just aren't reality - for proof of that you can look at any other state that's enacted similar laws.

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