University of Utah Gun Ban Overturned

University of Utah Gun Ban Overturned

This is a discussion on University of Utah Gun Ban Overturned within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; In a ruling that legal experts say could threaten the autonomy of public universities and the safety of their students, the Utah Supreme Court ruled ...

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  1. #1
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    University of Utah Gun Ban Overturned

    In a ruling that legal experts say could threaten the autonomy of public universities and the safety of their students, the Utah Supreme Court ruled Friday that the University of Utah cannot bar guns from its campus.

    The university says that the ban will remain in effect, pending a federal court battle, where academic freedom arguments based on the the U.S. Constitution will be raised. Nonetheless, Friday’s ruling angered college leaders, who saw it as a terrible precedent. “This is a violation of law and common sense,” said Sheldon E. Steinbach, vice president and general counsel of the American Council on Education, which is backing the university in the case. “What’s it going to take for those representatives in Utah to understand? Will they only be moved after there has been an unfortunate incident involving a gun-slinging student?”

    Utah’s attorney general, meanwhile, praised the ruling as “a victory for the rule of law,” and he was joined by Utah lawmakers in pledging to fight for the right of students and others to bring guns on campus.

    Banning firearms from campuses is a widespread policy — and it doesn’t generally vary from state to state, even though states have widely differing gun laws. The dispute in Utah dates to 2001, when Mark Shurtleff, the attorney general, issued an opinion finding that the University of Utah’s gun ban violated state laws barring state or local entities from enacting restrictions on access to firearms. The university sued in federal court, charging that its academic freedom assured by the First Amendment was being violated, and also stating that Utah lawmakers had given the university considerable autonomy when they created it — enough to allow the university to set its own gun policy.

    A federal judge ordered that the state issues be heard first, in Utah courts, and that set up a series of legal hearings that led to Friday’s ruling. In the Utah courts, the main question was whether the Legislature had granted the university so much autonomy that it could bar firearms from campus. In a 4-to-1 ruling, the court found that references to university autonomy were not as strong or conclusive as university officials asserted. Absent specific exemptions in various state laws, the justices said, the university is covered — and that goes for the ban on restricting firearms.

    “Although the university has broad powers, it is not completely autonomous, and it is ultimately subject to legislative oversight.... The Utah Constitution does not grant the university authority to promulgate firearms policies in contravention of legislative enactments, and it is not our place to do so,” said the decision. If Utah citizens want their lawmakers to give the university the right to bar firearms, the justices added, they need “to express their dissatisfaction at the ballot box.”

    Utah legislative leaders have gone out of their way to say that they have no intention of changing the law and that they are annoyed with the university for implying that it wasn’t covered by their legislation on guns. John L. Valentine, president of the State Senate, issued a statement about the court ruling in which he said: “I appreciate what this ruling does for the Second Amendment issue but, more importantly, it reaffirms that government by the people, through their elected representatives, is the law of the land. There is really no room for independent islands of authority within state government.”

    In a dissent, Chief Justice Christine Durham wrote that applying the logic of the decision, “the university may not subject a student to academic discipline for flashing his pistol to a professor in class.”

    The chief justice said that the majority decision implied that the university only had autonomy over what courses are taught and what may take place in a classroom. Such a definition, she said, is far too narrow, because “a university, by its nature, is more than the sum of its classes.” She added that the university’s autonomy should generally extend to policies designed to advance its education goals. In this case, she wrote, “the record ... contains extensive evidence that practitioners and experts in higher education are convinced that a no weapons on campus policy is necessary to the educational enterprise.”

    The logic behind the chief justice’s dissent is similar to the argument the University of Utah now plans to take to federal courts. “Our central argument is that within the context of the First Amendment, there is the capacity to control the environment within which the educational dialogue occurs, so we are within our rights to take steps that are central to the free and open debate that you need at a university,” said Michael Young, president of the University of Utah, in an interview Friday.

    “If you think about what a campus looks like, people live in dorms and all over the place. They are relatively young, coming with varying degrees of maturity, and you are putting them in situations where they are in intellectual and social situations they haven’t been in before,” Young said. “In that volatile mix, you want to introduce real ideas, and you want those ideas debated and thought about. But you also want to eliminate any kind of possible physical intimidation.”

    He added that in the normal give and take of campus life, “things are different if you think the person you are talking to might be packing.”

    Utah is a state where many people do have firearms legally, Young said, and without the university’s rule, many students would probably bring guns to dormitories and campus events.

    Young stressed that the university was not anti-gun or trying to make any sort of political statement. The university has a highly competitive pistol team and a Reserve Officers Training Corp unit, he noted.

    Steinbach of the American Council on Education agreed that the issue is university autonomy, not guns. And he said that there are real safety issues at stake for any campus leader. He noted that even if a given student knew about gun safety, there was no reason to believe others in a dormitory would know. And given the problems colleges already have with drunk students making poor choices, Steinbach said, adding guns to the mix in dormitories would invite trouble.

    From a legal standpoint, Steinbach said that the authority for a university to control the educational environment was defined in constitutional terms in 1957 when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter defined four elements of academic freedom: “the freedom of an institution to decide who may attend, who may teach, what may be taught and how it shall be taught.” Steinbach said that “inherent in that definition” is the ability of universities “to define the educational environment.”


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    So since big or tall people intimidate others, the University of Utah could ban them from campus, based on their own arguments? Incredible.

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    “If you think about what a campus looks like, people live in dorms and all over the place. They are relatively young, coming with varying degrees of maturity, and you are putting them in situations where they are in intellectual and social situations they haven’t been in before,” Young said. “In that volatile mix, you want to introduce real ideas, and you want those ideas debated and thought about. But you also want to eliminate any kind of possible physical intimidation.”

    He added that in the normal give and take of campus life, “things are different if you think the person you are talking to might be packing.”
    Interesting.

    Change the word campus to Military and see what you get.
    Exactly the same thing.

    That guy is obviously antigun to the point that he dosent even trust the military to carry guns, because the age group is exactly the same.
    But, being part of the academic elite, that comes as no surprise.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Crunch View Post
    “If you think about what a campus looks like, people live in dorms and all over the place. They are relatively young, coming with varying degrees of maturity, and you are putting them in situations where they are in intellectual and social situations they haven’t been in before,” Young said. “In that volatile mix, you want to introduce real ideas, and you want those ideas debated and thought about. But you also want to eliminate any kind of possible physical intimidation.”

    He added that in the normal give and take of campus life, “things are different if you think the person you are talking to might be packing.”
    So there is no crime in campus? There are no murders, rapes, agravated assaults? If you have a volatile mix, and you don't have LEOs overseeing whats going on, who is defending the guy that is being beaten/stabbed/kicked/etc...? Pysical intimidation... jum a group of thugs on campus may think twice before messing with the geeky looking students, robbing them, making them do things they don't want, harrasing them, etc. Also, women comming out of their classes late at night would feel a little better knowing they have a broader spectrum of means to defend themselves. Public universities are that - public; that means anyone can go in an out of the campus - students and criminals alike. Good decision from the courts!

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    Good decision from the courts!
    Perhaps the other states will take note.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    From a legal standpoint, Steinbach said that the authority for a university to control the educational environment was defined in constitutional terms in 1957 when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter defined four elements of academic freedom: “the freedom of an institution to decide who may attend, who may teach, what may be taught and how it shall be taught.” Steinbach said that “inherent in that definition” is the ability of universities “to define the educational environment.”
    I love this quote from Steinbach of the American Council on Education. On any given day he will turn around and approve of government programs that take away “the freedom of an institution to decide who may attend, who may teach, what may be taught and how it shall be taught.”

    I would wager he raised a big stink when:
    Following an investigation of [Ward] Churchill's past research, the University [of Colorado]'s Standing Committee on Research Misconduct recommended Churchill be sanctioned for repeated acts of "serious research misconduct", and on June 13, 2006, recommended his firing.
    There goes the second element.

    Affirmative action programs take care of the first element. I'm sure Steinbach supports them. I'm sure it would not be difficult to find where he stood against the third and fourth elements. When people like Steinbach talk about academic freedom it is usually freedom for academics against the administration of the university. About 1 time in 20 to 40 do Steinbach and the organizations like the one represents come down on the side of administration and that is only when the administration is trying to do something the general public doesn't want them to.

    In a dissent, Chief Justice Christine Durham wrote that applying the logic of the decision, “the university may not subject a student to academic discipline for flashing his pistol to a professor in class.”

    The chief justice said that the majority decision implied that the university only had autonomy over what courses are taught and what may take place in a classroom. Such a definition, she said, is far too narrow, because “a university, by its nature, is more than the sum of its classes.” She added that the university’s autonomy should generally extend to policies designed to advance its education goals. In this case, she wrote, “the record ... contains extensive evidence that practitioners and experts in higher education are convinced that a no weapons on campus policy is necessary to the educational enterprise.”
    If the Chief Justice's remarks weren't so stupid they would be laughable. "The university may not subject a student to academic discipline for flashing his pistol to a professor in class." She's right, but not in the way she means it. Since what she mentions would be brandishing academic discipline would not be the proper course action. Utah says the following: "It is unlawful for any person in the presence of two or more persons to exhibit any firearm in an "angry and threatening manner", unless in necessary self-defense." The proper course of action would not be academic discipline any more than it would be the proper course for dealing with someone who ran over another student. The proper course is legal action.

    This is the remark that indicates how remarkably stupid the Utah Chief Justice is: “the record ... contains extensive evidence that practitioners and experts in higher education are convinced that a no weapons on campus policy is necessary to the educational enterprise." These are the same people who can't teach a teacher how to teach your child to read. These same experts would disarm every law abiding citizen in the country. I guess the Chief Justice did not read the book The Experts Speak : The Definitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation by Victor S Navasky, Christopher Cerf published in 1984, 2nd Ed. 1996. The experts are wrong far more often than they are right. The old saw about the definition of an expert is only partially a joke. Expert: ex means former and spurt is a drip under pressure.
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    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by dr_cmg View Post
    If the Chief Justice's remarks weren't so stupid they would be laughable. "The university may not subject a student to academic discipline for flashing his pistol to a professor in class." She's right, but not in the way she means it. Since what she mentions would be brandishing academic discipline would not be the proper course action. Utah says the following: "It is unlawful for any person in the presence of two or more persons to exhibit any firearm in an "angry and threatening manner", unless in necessary self-defense." The proper course of action would not be academic discipline any more than it would be the proper course for dealing with someone who ran over another student. The proper course is legal action.
    You beat me to it! IANAL, and I do not live in Utah, but I was assuming that what the Chief Justice was describing is a crime. The university shouldn't take action--the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction should be arresting someone.

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    +1 for dr. Especially punishing the student academically. Legal action would be the best because then the student would be in jail - and without registering for the next semester of classes... They are toast academically. Not to mention for the rest of theri life.

    On a different note... Quite a few students at my school ignore the "no-gun" policy and in some cases, I have heard the university blatantly looks the other way. I personally know two guys who assemble and build AR-15 kits on campus and sell them to local gun shops. The address on their FFL, according to one of them, even reads the university's mail box number - though I highly doubt that.

    We have had a few ND's at the school. Usually one a semester or so. So far no one has been shot and I don't think alcohol has ever been involved - at least not as long as I've been here. People here tend to be pretty responsible about their firearms and I couldn't imagine a student here brandishing to a teacher. To start, tuition at this school runs ~$12,500 a semester to take 15 credits. If you are doing flight school (which is most), then it's likely an additional $3000 a semester. With loan payments like that, not many people are willing to @#$! up their career goals by doing something stupid like flashing a gun. Secondly, we have a huge ROTC population here (1 in 4 does AFROTC) and again with kissing your careers goodbye. Another good portion of our school is Security & Intelligence Studies. With people like DIA and NSA recruiting out of here, you can imagine how a felonous criminal record would look...... which is about as good as a couple arrests for narcotics trafficing.

    I won't say my(our) university is safer because people carry!However I do believe that the extraordinarily high numbers of people who own/CCW (some illegally) on campus is more of a function of the high level of self-responsibility inherent to the career fields harboured here. Some colleges around the country are more prone to it, while others are not. I personally feel safe on our campus, but then again there are "other reasons" why I feel safe. I'm not sure about our crime statistics, nor would I believe them if they were even released, though. Many universities doctor or do not release their crime statistics to the public so as to protect the name of the university itself.

    For example, when my friend was kidnapped last year from VCU in Richmond, VA, the school did not report her death as such on its crime statistics because no one could prove she was murdered on campus - so she fell under "other" in the crime statistics. Disgusting.
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    Oregon ruled the same way and the colleges are now "begging" people not to bring guns onto campass, class.

    All the people with CHLs ignore their pleas for disarmament.

    I do know that the school board (university board?) at the UofO and OSU in corvallis are in talks with ginny burdick (who may, or may not be in the state legislature next year) about passing a gun control law.

    Since the time that the college has been forced to allow firearms, campas crime is down. The last one was when a guy hit another (with fist) and knocked the other guy into a curb where he suffered brain damage and died.

    But, this whiney assed blissnannies don't see this (or want to see it), that crime is way down. They actually believe that if NO guns were allowed then crime would be zero (in their little world).

    Wayne

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