While the debate over whether the University of Colorado has the right to segregate gun permit-carrying students to separate dorms, the university’s chancellor has just stood up for the rights of those same students to carry guns on campus.
Earlier this week, one professor at the University’s main campus in Boulder threatened to cancel his class if any students showed up legally carrying guns. Physics professor Jerry Peterson declared his stance during a faculty assembly on Monday.
“My own personal policy in my classes is if I am aware that there is a firearm in the class — registered or unregistered, concealed or unconcealed — the class session is immediately canceled,” Peterson said. “I want my students to feel unconstrained in their discussions.”
But on on Wednesday, Chancellor Phil DiStefano squashed the idea in a pointed email to faculty.
“I have the utmost respect for Professor Peterson, who is an old friend and valued colleague, but I want to make clear that if the student carrying the weapon has a concealed-carry permit, the position implied by Professor Peterson’s comments directly violates Colorado law and the operating principles of the campus,” he said according to the Daily Camera.
“On this issue, there can be no ambiguity: all CU-Boulder faculty, as CU and state employees, are expected to teach their assigned courses and to hold classes for all enrolled students,” DiStefano added.
The Daily Camera reports that he also threatened disciplinary action for any professor caught cancelling class because of legal gun owners exercising their right.
The controversy over guns on Colorado campuses came to a head this summer when the state supreme court ruled that schools cannot ban legal, permit-carrying gun owners from carrying their weapons on campus.
“I believe we have taken responsible steps to adhere to the ruling of the Colorado Supreme Court while balancing that with the priority of providing a safe environment for our students, faculty and staff,” DiStefano said last week.
Still, the university’s policy to segregate students in campus housing based on their concealed weapon status has gun rights advocates worried that university is creating a dangerous environment for both those carrying guns and those not.