Board of Regents to discuss UA’s weapons policy at special meeting

March 23, 2016

The Board of Regents will hold a special meeting Friday, March 25, from 10 to 11 a.m., to receive an update on SB 174 and to discuss possible related changes to UA’s weapons policy. The possible changes would be consistent with the changes sought by the university to SB 174, “An Act relating to the regulation of firearms and knives by the University of Alaska.” Unless amended to reflect those changes, that bill would compel the regents to change policy in ways that would prevent the university from managing common critical situations on its campuses.

The Board of Regents’ meeting agenda and draft policy can be found here. Input may be submitted in writing to ua-bor@alaska.edu since public testimony is not generally taken at special meetings.

The meeting will take place in the Butrovich Building ​on UAF’s campus. Those outside of Fairbanks can watch the meeting via web stream or at video sites on other UA campuses. Video sites have been set up at the following locations:

  • UAA – Administrative/Humanities Building, Room 201
  • UAS – Hendrickson Annex, Room 101D

Background
The Board of Regents opposes SB 174 in its current form and has asked for amendment allowing it to restrict firearms in six areas:

  • When behavior indicates a risk of harm to self or others;
  • In student dormitories or other shared student living quarters;
  • In K-12 programs;
  • In health and counseling, discrimination, harassment and Title IX offices;
  • During adjudication of staff or student disputes or disciplinary issues; and
  • Requiring a concealed carry permit to carry concealed weapons on campus.

At present, SB 174 contains only some of the amendments sought by UA, and those can still be removed or altered in the legislative process.

Note: Because the university does not control the legislative process and must abide by state law, the legislative process remains critical irrespective of the position the board takes regarding weapons policy.

Participate in legislative hearings
The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a hearing on SB 174 for Thursday, March 24, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. The hearing will be teleconferenced to local Legislative Information Offices. Public testimony will be taken from 2:30 to 4 p.m. People who testify will be limited to three minutes. While we encourage you to express your opinion, please either do so on your own time or take leave to do so. For more important information, visit alaska.edu/state/advocacy. A list of frequently asked questions about SB 174 and a factsheet including the university’s position on the legislation can be found there.

Board of Regents policy discussion
The UA policy changes under discussion by the Board of Regents on Friday would mirror the changes UA is seeking to SB 174 (see above bulleted list). Section (B) would allow lawful concealed carry of handguns by a permit-holder. Although this is a relaxation of current UA policy, it would require a student or employee carrying concealed in the close quarters of university common areas, classrooms, labs, libraries and other communal space to have some training and knowledge about gun safety and applicable law, and would exclude individuals with certain criminal convictions from carrying concealed on campus. A permit requirement is not addressed in SB 174.

The second part of Section (B) provides exceptions to concealed carry with a permit.  These address sensitive, high risk, high conflict areas on campus as well as situations, which frequently arise and to which UA must respond. While the university has sought amendments to SB 174 to address these issues, only some are included in the current version of the bill, and those remain subject to change.

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