Though the overwhelming majority of postsecondary educators don’t want guns on their campuses and most states, in keeping with centuries’ old wisdom, have refused to expand guns to their campuses, two more states are set to bring firearms to higher ed. Arkansas and Kansas are joining Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin as places where guns are permitted.
Most of these states have significant restrictions on who can carry (Tennessee doesn’t allow students to have guns, for example), what training you must have, and where you can have guns, but some states still permit them in university-run daycares and hospitals. Kansas’ law is particularly foolish. On campuses in that state, 21 year old students can drink booze but 18 year olds with no training can bring guns because the state doesn’t require a permit or training to conceal and carry a lethal weapon of choice in college student suicides and intimate partner murders.
Above, a poster on the University of Kansas’ main campus in Lawrence. The original poster has an image of a gun with a red circle and a slash through it, indicating that guns are not permitted in the building, but a yellow sticker has been added to note that this prohibition will expire July 1, 2017.
The case against guns on campus is well-established, as you might expect when you pick a fight with people who are professional researchers and who navigate difficult conversations with young minds every single day. But, thanks to generally spineless higher education administrators and gunhumping state legislators who just can’t risk losing their NRA A+ grade, even though, yeah, people are going to get hurt and some are going to die because of this law, guns are being forced onto campus in some places close to my heart.
But, Rebecca, you say, you are always so sad and angry, thinking about students, staff, faculty, and visitors dying. Why not look on the bright side for a change?
Okay, here are the benefits of guns on campus:
- Thousands of hours have already been put into job searches as faculty and staff members seek positions in places where their lives are not being deliberately endangered by their bosses. This is great, because it renews their confidence that they have marketable skills that are valued in other places and other industries. You should always keep your CV, like your go bag and your passport, handy, just in case. And you should always be looking for a new job! Don’t focus on the past or even the present—like your current job duties—when you can be looking ahead to the future!
- Educational institutions in places with policies that protect human life are going to get some terrific scholars, staff, and administrators (I think they do exist, though in small numbers, as the decent ones will admit) as the best and brightest leave Kansas and Arkansas. Sure, that leaves those who don’t care, are so close to retirement that they are willing to risk it, just aren’t good enough to get jobs elsewhere, or have no options for other employment in the region but need to stay there for other reasons, but surely there’s no problem with having a faculty population that’s comprised of people who are lousy at their jobs, fearful, and desperate. That keeps salaries, and therefore tuition, low.*
- Border states with respectful gun policies are going to get great students! If I were Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, and Louisiana, I’d be running a tuition discount for refugees from Kansas’ and Arkansas’ gun policies. Who cares if if students empty out of that Utah-Idaho-Colorado-Kansas or Texas-Arkansas-Mississippi stretch of the country? If an Obamacare repeal happens, those places don’t need to attract med students to fill the need for rural doctors since they won’t have rural hospitals anyway.
- Regional and national academic organizations won’t have so many campuses to consider when debating where to hold conferences and meetings. Shorter meetings for that committee!
- Small liberal arts schools will flourish. Instead of giving to my graduate school alma mater (the University of Kansas), I’ll be donating to private schools to insure that the tax-paying students of Kansas and Arkansas can afford a high quality liberal arts college. Maybe Arkansas Baptist and Philander Smith, two private HCBUs in Arkansas? I’m also a big booster of Bethel College in Kansas and Juniata College in Pennsylvania, and I am happy to recommend students for scholarships there, so if you are fleeing a gun state and are considering applying to one of those two schools, please let me know.
- Universities can now promote themselves as “destination universities” for people who love, love, love guns so much that they can’t imagine leaving them in their off-campus apartments while they head to chem lab. This self-selecting student population will reduce diversity naturally, so the Tennessee legislature and the racist students of Kansas and Arkansas won’t have to work so hard to scare off people who aren’t conservative white Republicans.
- Our family has just considerable shortened our list of colleges and universities to consider for college for our own kids. We’re saving a bundle in application fees!
- Conservative state legislators can actually have a war against women (who are most likely to be killed in mass shootings on campus since we comprise such a bigger percent of students and staff) and academics at the same time! Every day will be Christmas—or the first day of hunting season!—for misogynistic, anti-intellectual ammosexuals.
*JK! Tuition has nothing to do with faculty salaries. You’re paying for the new Vice Provost of Syngergistic Leadership, Free Enterprise Boosterism, and Academic-Athletic Partnerships for Student Exploitation. Or potentially a second home, in Spain, for the ex-Chancellor.