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Faculty Senate considers new survey for concealed carry

Students may see another concealed carry survey in the future, as University faculty senate members were unable to come to a consensus by the last University Faculty Senate meeting of the semester Tuesday afternoon.

In light of recent campus events like the Open Carry/Firearm Education walk, the House Bill 48 Committee presented their final report on the University’s stance on the bill. Committee chair Ian Young was unable to attend the meeting, but committee members Lauren Sanchez and Al DeMaris spoke in his place.

“The official charge was to determine whether or not to draft a faculty senate solution to address HB 48, and if so, to draft such a resolution to be delivered to the state senate and/or other appropriate bodies,” Sanchez said.

Earlier this semester, the committee surveyed the campus community to gain student and faculty input on the issues in the HB. They presented their findings from the survey at the meeting.

“We got a lot of comments from people, and [they] did not have neutral attitudes on this issue,” DeMaris said.

The online survey the committee created was sent to 20,338 respondents during a three day period and only 5,792 responses came back at a response rate of 28.5 percent. Data from the survey was generally inconclusive, but there is an overwhelming 66 percent of respondents that felt less safe with anybody having open carry privileges compared to the lower 41 percent of people that felt less safe with only faculty having open carry privileges.

Results also showed that three-fourths of women surveyed felt unsafe toward anyone carrying guns, and undergraduate students were most in favor of supporting the HB.

“We decided that we weren’t going to bring forward a resolution because the committee could not achieve a consensus on the issue. People were both for conceal and carry and against it. Even after the survey input, we still had a kind of split,” DeMaris said.

The committee will possibly conduct another survey in the future with a different format to see if the data fluctuates in any way. Members of the faculty senate were encouraged to produce their own possible resolution to HB 48 for next fall by the chair of Faculty Senate Allen Rogel.

Faculty senate also received a report from Provost Rodney Rodgers, speaking on behalf of President Mazey. He said the housing deposits for the fall semester indicate a strong increase in undergraduate students.

“We will be up a little bit, but we will certainly be in our budget goal of about 3,500 undergraduate students,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers also touched on the topic of the proposed renaming of South Hall, the remodeled media and communications building will be named after University alumni from the journalism program.

“We’ve heard the president say that she would love to not have directions in front of a building name, so South Hall at the board meeting next week will be renamed “The Mike and Sara Kuhlin Center,” Rodgers said.

Before wrapping up the opening statements, Rodgers mentioned that Dr. Tom Gibson will be taking over the role of Vice President and Vice Provost of Student Affairs in July.

“He’s excited to make this transition to another MAC school where the mascot is something a little scarier than a cardinal,” Rodgers said.

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