March 1, 2009
CSU delays weapons policy
BY TREVOR HUGHES
CSU officials have decided to delay developing a new on-campus weapons policy until a lawsuit against the University of Colorado's more restrictive policy is resolved by a judge.
The Faculty Council of Colorado State University in December asked CSU leaders to develop a campus-specific policy re-garding the carrying of concealed weapons on campus.
CSU currently uses the default state law, which permits concealed weapons if someone has a permit. Weapons are banned from residence halls and CSU-run apartments.
The University of Colorado system and the University of Northern Colorado have policies that make it illegal to have weapons, including firearms, explosives and other dangerous or illegal weapons on campus. The University of Denver, a private university, also banned weapons from campus.
CSU's faculty council asked CSU administrators to develop a CSU-specific plan, but didn't suggest what it should say.
CU's longstanding policy is being challenged in court by current and former students who say the ban on concealed weapons violates a 2003 state law permitting them to be carried. CU officials argue that they have the right to govern what happens on their campuses and consider concealed weapons to be a "distraction" from the learning environment. CU asked a judge to dismiss the suit earlier this month.
CSU officials decided to hold off on developing a policy until the lawsuit is resolved, fearing CSU could get named as a party if it took action now.
"I think there was a sense in the leadership of our institution that we didn't want to develop any specific revisions to our weapons policy in light of the CU lawsuit," said interim CSU Provost Rick Miranda. "We want to have that discussion, but we want to make sure it is informed in the best possible way about what's legal and not."
In pushing for a new policy, faculty members said they thought CSU needed one specific to the university.
"We don't have our own (policy), and that's rare; most (higher education institutions) have a pretty strict weapons policy," Richard Eykholt, chairman of CSU's faculty council, said in December.
Eykholt guessed a new weapons policy, which would take time to enact, would allow more university control.
"We'll probably go the way most universities have and become more restrictive," he said.
Eykholt said discussions began after the April 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, where a gunman killed more than 30 people on the university campus.
Miranda this week said CSU leaders are "comfortable" with the existing policy.
"We've sort of put it on the back burner," Miranda said of the change. "The evidence (CSU public safety experts) are aware of indicates that immediate action would not really be necessary."