2:37pm

Thu August 16, 2012
Education

CU Boulder to Undergrads: Please Forgo Bringing Guns to Dorms

  • Erin O'Toole Interviews CU Spokesman Bronson Hilliard on All Things Considered

As students prepare to move into residence halls next week, the University of Colorado Boulder is asking undergraduate students to leave their handguns behind.

CU Boulder says it is amending housing contracts to ask students who hold Colorado concealed carry permits to forgo bringing handguns to campus. The policy applies to undergraduate students, as well as residence advisors and faculty who live in university housing.

The move follows a March ruling by the state Supreme Court which says colleges and universities in Colorado don’t have the authority to ban weapons from their campuses.

CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard says the policy was developed with input from concerned parties.

"We heard pretty clearly from the parents and undergrads we talked to that they didn’t desire to have a presence of firearms in the undergraduate residence halls," Hilliard says. "We think the contractual arrangements that we’ve arrived at here balance the rights of concealed carry permit holders with the realities that we have on the campus with young people, alone and away from home for the first time, living in a residence hall environment."

Hilliard says there’s no connection between the new policy and last month’s deadly mass shooting in Aurora, allegedly carried out by a CU Denver student.  

"This comes out of that (Supreme Court) decision. It was not driven by external events at all," he says. “We think we have an environment here where we can incorporate this policy. As the state’s flagship university, we have a special obligation. We’re chartered by the state constitution to obey the law, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

The new approach will potentially affect just a small number of students – an analysis by the CU police department suggests only about 0.6 percent of students, faculty or staff possess a concealed carry permit. According to a university press release, about 96 percent of students living in residence halls are under 21, and aren’t eligible for a CCP.

"As the state's flagship university, we have a special obligation. And we're chartered by the state constitution to obey the law, and that's what we're going to do."

Hilliard says graduate students who hold permits will be accommodated in a housing complex off the main campus, provided they agree to store handguns in a safe when they aren’t carrying them.

Weapons won’t be allowed in Folsom Field or other public performance venues.

Residence hall students who don’t want to abide by the amended contracts can ask to be relocated or be released from their housing contract without penalty.

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