The start of July means the start of two new policies that affect students and employees at Wichita State University.
Wichita State will now allow concealed carry of handguns in all buildings, except the University Police Department.
Guns won’t be allowed at Koch Arena during games and graduation ceremonies and other large gatherings because the university will have security measures in place at public entrances.
The change comes as the Kansas Personal and Family Protection Act expires.
The new state law also prohibits the possession of other weapons and the open carry of firearms at Wichita State and the other public colleges and universities.
At least one WSU faculty member has resigned due to the weapons policy.
Communications Professor Deborah Ballard-Reisch submitted a letter of resignation earlier this month that announced her retirement on July 1, the day the new law goes into effect.
“I can not work in a climate in which students are fearful to claim their voices because the person next to them in my classroom may have both different views and a gun," Ballard wrote. "I cannot work in an environment where I am fearful to challenge my students to reach their full potential because they may have guns. I find this law to be the antithesis of everything a civil society stands for. As a strategic communication scholar and teacher, I find this policy to be in opposition to the goals of higher education."
WSU Weapons Policy:
- The new WSU weapons policy, which becomes effective July 1, can be seen in its entirety at wichita.edu/weaponspolicy
- An individual must be 21 years old or older to be lawfully eligible to carry a concealed handgun in Kansas
- Individuals lawfully possessing a handgun, pursuant to this policy, should keep it completely concealed on or about their person at all times, maintain it within their immediate control and custody and not brandish or intentionally display the handgun except when lawfully using the handgun in self-defense or when to transfer to safe storage
- Concealed carry of handguns is allowed in all WSU buildings, except beyond the University Police Department lobby, unless adequate security measures (detectors and armed personnel) are provided at all public entrances to the space
- Individuals may not carry a firearm of any type in locations where the university provides adequate security measures. WSU may designate a specific location as temporarily gun-free. An example would be at athletics or commencement events where attendance is more than 5,000
- Each individual who lawfully possesses a handgun on campus shall be wholly and solely responsible for carrying, storing and using that handgun in a safe manner and in accordance with the law, Board of Regents policy and university policy. Nothing in this policy shall be interpreted to require individuals who lawfully possess a handgun to use it in defense of others.
- The open carry of any weapon, including a handgun, is prohibited anywhere on campus.
Wichita State is also going tobacco-free beginning July 1 at the main campus, all satellite locations and WSU-owned properties.
The new policy bans the use of any tobacco product including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookah and electronic cigarettes.
WSU approved the new tobacco-free campus policy last August.
A 2013 WSU survey revealed that 64.8 percent of the respondents were supportive of a tobacco-free campus and 65.5 percent agreed a tobacco-free policy would increase overall campus appeal.
The university is offering tobacco cessation options to students, faculty and staff.
Wichita State joins more than 1,100 college campuses in the United States that are tobacco free.
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