In the second installment of Profits over People, see how the Provost of KU responded to a parent and alum who expressed concern about concealed carry at the university. Like in Part 1, I have put the communication from KU in bold blue text. My commentary is in red italics.
Thank you for your frank note. I am truly sorry to hear your son has chosen to leave the University of Kansas and heartbroken that the reason for his departure is a law beyond my personal and professional power to change.
So far this is okay and seems genuinely sympathetic. I take some issue with the “beyond my personal and professional power to change” line however, because there are more things that her office could be doing in opposition to campus carry that would not violate the law.
As I’m sure you know, the issues surrounding concealed carry on college campuses in Kansas are complex and even today are still being analyzed, debated, and discussed.
It’s actually really quite simple. There is overwhelming evidence that suggests guns on campus are a bad idea, as highlighted in this pre-Brownback Kansas Board of Regents report on the topic. Acting like campus carry is a matter of opinion– like one’s preference for chocolate over vanilla ice cream– is ignoring mountains of evidence. This issue is still being “analyzed, debated, and discussed” at KU in part because opinions that are not based on facts and evidence are presented as having equal weight and validity to ones that do. This behavior is shameful for a research university to be participating in.
Every day at KU we manage a delicate balance of all laws and evolving regulations that affect our institution as we strive to fulfill our stated mission to educate students and conduct research that positively impacts our world.
Allowing death machines into campus buildings without even informing prospective students about it is not a “delicate balance.” It is a willful concealment of facts.
I can assure you there has been no conspiracy to hide information about concealed carry or deliberately mislead anyone.
And we are supposed to believe this, why? The yellow sticker pictured below that says “[image of gun free sign] expires July 1, 2017” was part of a campaign put on by individuals and not an official sticker from the university. These stickers have been constantly removed by maintenance staff and have to be continually replaced. If the University of Kansas were not intentionally hiding this information, they would link their website concealedcarry.ku.edu to the main admissions page, which they don’t do, and they would include it in every single promotional item for prospective students. They would also put up their own version of the yellow stickers. I heard from a trustworthy source that the Chancellor even admitted that they won’t put information about campus carry into admissions material because they are afraid it will hurt enrollment.
For some time now, the university has involved faculty, students, and staff in efforts to address the law’s implementation on each of our unique campuses.
Note: she says “to address the law’s implementation”. She does not say “to oppose the law” or to “find ways to keep guns off campus” or “to make sure that the campus is free from unrestricted firearms everywhere”. As I mentioned in a previous post, the Kansas Board of Regents has been working with the NRA to develop policies for implementation.
Our collective goal is to make KU’s campuses as safe as possible using all the means at our disposal.
“All the means at our disposal” would be great. That’s not actually happening. The University could inform every single prospective student, faculty member, staff member, and visitor about the law. They have that kind of platform. All of the administrators could talk to the legislators as “private citizens” since they are barred from using state-appropriated funds to lobby for gun control measures. Making sure that every single person who may interact with the University of Kansas in any way shape or form is not illegal. The University of Kansas doing anything less than that is not “using all the means at our disposal.”
I understand the stance you and your son have chosen to take, and I wish nothing but the best for both of you.
Her sympathy is seeming a lot less sincere at this point.
The University of Kansas can do more to oppose campus carry. Do not believe administrators when they tell you otherwise.
I will continue this series with Part 3. Stay tuned.