Faculty Senate shoots down bill for concealed carry on campus
The Faculty Senate of Florida Gulf Coast University passed a resolution on Friday to oppose the concealed carry of firearms on campus. The resolution aims to prevent HB-4005, the Florida House concealed carry bill, from taking effect in 2015. The bill was proposed by Florida state Rep. Greg Steube in late 2014, and has been opposed by every state university since it passed a state criminal justice committee.
The significance of the issue was such that reporters from local news stations covered the meeting. Faculty Senate member and professor Patrick Niner, who was responsible for drafting and revising the resolution, noted that similar resolutions have already been proposed or passed at the University of North Florida, the University of Central Florida and Florida State University. Niner also pointed out that FSU experienced a shooting last November that injured three students.
Student Government Sen. Robert Garcia attended the meeting and took issue with some of the language in the resolution, requesting that the following line be removed: “Understanding that undergraduate students of traditional age are not fully mature and commonly lack the coping skills necessary to adapt to the pressures put upon them.”
“This is not a maturity issue,” Garcia said. “This is a general safety issue. I agree with the purpose of the resolution, but I would like to amend that section.”
Niner acknowledged Garcia’s point, stating, “I agree that the current language may convey the message that the faculty is afraid of the students, which is not the intention of this resolution.”
After the resolution was passed by majority vote, Garcia mentioned his plan to propose a similar resolution in Student Government. He claims that this would send a “stronger message” to the Florida Legislature than a Faculty Senate statement alone.
“I’m proud of the faculty for passing the resolution,” Garcia said. “But I also think it’s important for FGCU students and faculty to be on the same page.”