KU chancellor, distinguished professors state opposition to guns on campus

No guns signs are posted on a side door of KU's Art and Design Building, as well as other buildings on campus, pictured in May 2015.

The Kansas University chancellor and 70 of the school’s distinguished professors have formally spoken out against the concealed carry of guns on campus.

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little addressed the issue in her chancellor’s message to KU faculty and staff on Monday.

“I want to be clear that I am not in favor of allowing concealed carry on university campuses,” Gray-Little wrote. “I also realize that not everyone at KU or across the state will agree with my opinion. I appreciate that, and as always, I encourage you to share your perspectives with state lawmakers.”

The KU distinguished professors’ statement, dated Friday, followed a similar one from professors at Kansas State University.

“We agree that universities should have ‘the authority to restrict firearms if they believe them incompatible with the function and mission of their campus,'” the KU professors wrote.

Professors wrote that they “strongly support” granting universities the right to continue restricting weapons.

Signees include current and emeritus distinguished professors from the KU Medical Center and Lawrence campuses, as well as outgoing KU Provost Jeff Vitter, who is a distinguished professor in the electrical engineering and computer science department.

Under state law, Kansas universities must allow concealed weapons on campus beginning July 1, 2017.

Schools will develop policies for implementing concealed carry on their respective campuses following the adoption of a broader statewide policy by the Kansas Board of Regents. The Regents have drafted a policy, expected to be approved in January.

Gray-Little said that unless legislators change the law — which she called “unlikely” given the wide margin by which it was passed — KU must prepare to comply with it.

“That’s why we all need to work together over the next year to determine how to be in compliance with this law on our campuses,” she said.

Gray-Little encouraged KU employees to attend Tuesday’s weapons on campus information session and respond to a weapons survey that was emailed last week to all KU faculty and staff. She said to expect more opportunities as KU works to develop a policy for implementing the concealed carry of weapons on campus.

Weapons on campus information session

The University Senate at Kansas University is planning an informational session about changes in the law that will allow concealed weapons on campus. KU students, faculty and staff are invited to attend the event from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in 120 Budig Hall.