KU to host informational sessions in response to questions about concealed carry on campus

Signs stating that the open carry of firearms is prohibited inside buildings are posted on doors throughout the University of Kansas campus. This sign, on Wescoe Hall, is pictured July 7, 2017.

University of Kansas students returning to campus this fall evidently have some questions about the onset of concealed carry at their school.

The KU Office of the Provost, along with other KU entities, has answers, and on Wednesday will host the first of several informational sessions about new legislation allowing guns on college campuses.

“I think it’s important that we talk about this being an ongoing dialogue that the law is something that we have to address,” said Jill Hummels, communications manager at the KU provost’s office. “And what we’re looking at is, how do we help people feel comfortable and in control with the new environment that they are in?”

The sessions, organized in conjunction with KU’s Office of Diversity & Equity and the KU Public Safety Office, were developed in direct response to requests, Hummels said.

With the state law allowing concealed firearms on campus having gone into effect July 1, many in the KU community are asking about “specific situations” they might encounter, she said. The first two sessions, on Wednesday and Thursday, will cover basic de-escalation techniques. The last two, on Sept. 5 and Sept. 8, will address what to do in the event of an active shooter on campus.

Sessions will be held from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the union’s Woodruff Auditorium; from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the union’s Alderson Auditorium; from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 5 at Alderson Auditorium; and from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 8 in the union’s Big 12 Room. Interested GTAs, GRAs and GAs are strongly encouraged to attend Thursday’s program.

Sessions are open to the public but are geared mainly toward students, faculty and staff, Hummels said. A program designed specifically for graduate students drew about 100 participants earlier this month, she said. Similar sessions for faculty and staff weren’t nearly as well attended, Hummels said, declining to speculate why.

Much of the information that will be shared in upcoming sessions has already been available for months at concealedcarry.ku.edu, Hummels said.

Still, questions remain for many on campus.

“I think it’s also important to point out that these are programs KU Public Safety has had for a number of years,” she said. “It’s not really anything new, but I think there’s a lot of interest in those topics right now, and by holding these public sessions, it’s giving more people access to those programs.”