Thursday, July 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Kutztown U. to allow weapons on campus; Could other state universities follow?

Kutztown University will allow legally registered guns to be carried on "open areas" of campus, a change in policy.

Kutztown U. to allow weapons on campus; Could other state universities follow?

By Susan Snyder

INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Kutztown University may not be the only state system school to begin allowing guns to be carried in “open areas” on campus.

Within the last year, the Pennsylvania Office of General Counsel advised the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which covers 14 universities including Kutztown, that a blanket prohibition against having weapons on campus is legally unenforceable.

All 14 universities, including West Chester and Cheyney, were asked to review their policies and make sure they comply with the law, according to Kutztown University President F. Javier Cevallos, who sent a message to the Kutztown campus community about Kutztown’s change in policy Thursday evening.

A spokeswoman at West Chester University said she could not comment and was awaiting word from the state system.

Kenn Marshall, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, did not return immediate calls for comment. Neither did a spokesperson for Cheyney.

Under Kutztown’s new policy, weapons - even if they are legally registered - still will be prohibited on most areas of campus. According to Cevallos, weapons will not be allowed “in academic buildings, administrative buildings, student residence halls (both university owned or leased), dining facilities, student union buildings, athletic facilities, recreation centers, or while attending a sporting, entertainment or educational event on university property or sponsored by the university.”

But firearms under the policy now can be carried in “open areas” of campus by those with a government license, Cevallos said.

“Any requests for further exceptions must have the approval of the university chief of police,” Cevallos wrote. “While I am cognizant of the concerns associated with this change, as a state institution we must follow the advice of legal counsel and do what is necessary to comply with the Second Amendment.”

Matt Santos, a spokesman at Kutztown, declined to answer questions, also referring a reporter to the state system for comment.

Contact Susan Snyder at 215-854-4693 or ssnyder@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @ssnyderinq. Read her blog at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/campus_inq.

 

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