FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VALDOSTA, GA (May 21, 2012) – The Faculty Senate at Valdosta State University (VSU) in Valdosta, Georgia, has voted to keep guns out of classrooms and off university grounds. The introduction of House Bill 981 this year by Georgia House Representative, Sean Jergunson (R-Holly Springs), would have allowed concealed handguns into elementary, middle, high school and post secondary institutions, both public and private. Although the bill was subsequently defeated, concerned faculty members at VSU unanimously adopted the resolution on May 17, 2012, to voice their opposition.
Dr. Michael G. Noll, Associate Professor of Geography, introduced the resolution. “I am delighted that with the help of the Institutional Planning Committee and the Faculty Senate we were able to unanimously pass this resolution. It is our primary role as educators to foster the discovery of knowledge and encourage open dialogue at our institution while allowing our campus police force to fulfill their role of enforcing the law and maintaining campus security. Guns have no place within a university, uniquely defined by its purpose as an institution of higher learning,” Noll said.
Student political science researcher, Kathryn Grant, a senior at VSU who has been tracking gun legislation in Georgia since 2010, was instrumental in adopting the resolution. “Public opinion polls in Georgia clearly indicate Georgians do not want guns in schools. The results of my research, and the publicly stated agendas by representatives early this year to support laws that would allow college students to carry concealed firearms into classrooms, was very concerning to me,” Grant added. Grant contacted The Brady Campaign in Washington, DC and The Campaign To Keep Guns Off Campus as part of her research.
Andy Pelosi, director of the Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus is encouraged by Valdosta State University’s Faculty Senate decision to adopt the resolution. “Fortunately, HB 981 was defeated this year in the Georgia House, but we know that this bill (or some form of it) will be back again next year. That’s why it’s crucial for other schools (public and private) to follow Valdosta State’s lead and speak out against legislation that would threaten the safety of students, faculty and others by forcing concealed handguns on Georgia’s campuses,” Pelosi said.
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The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus was founded in 2008 to urge colleges and universities to band together to oppose the gun lobby’s agenda to push guns onto college campuses. To date, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and more than 335 colleges and universities in 39 states have joined the Campaign by signing a resolution that opposes legislation that would restrict an educational institution’s autonomy to regulate possession of firearms on campus. View list at https://www.keepgunsoffcampus.org/list.html