March 23, 2016
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator
Dr. Cecil P. Staton Shares Letter Written to Gov. Nathan Deal Regarding Campus Carry Legislation
Dr. Cecil P. Staton, interim president of Valdosta State University, recently sent the following letter to Gov. Nathan Deal, asking him to veto House Bill 859 and any other bill with similar language permitting weapons on college and university campuses.
The Honorable Nathan Deal, Governor
Office of the Governor
206 Washington Street
111 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Dear Governor Deal,
As the General Assembly’s session winds down for this year, I wanted to take the opportunity to convey to you the sentiments of the Valdosta State University campus community with respect to the “campus carry” provisions contained in HB 859. First, let me echo the message from the Board of Regents and Chancellor Huckaby when I say Valdosta State supports current law. This is the message the campus has heard from me during meetings where “campus carry” have been discussed. Based on feedback I am receiving, from our faculty and the University Police Department, there are serious concerns about the bill.
Our Faculty Senate passed a resolution in January opposing any bill which included “campus carry” provisions saying, in part, “that universities are unique environments”…”with a clearly stated purpose to promote and facilitate the discovery, application and dissemination of knowledge” [where] “allowing concealed carry permit holders to bring firearms on university grounds or into classrooms threatens the progress of education and the expression of ideas by imposing lethal weaponry within a place that harbors vigorous and often heated academic discussion…”
Our police officers are concerned with maintaining the security of the campus and with so many unpredictable consequences possible from accidental or negligent discharges or the addition of well-intentioned but untrained bystanders to any potentially volatile situation on the campus, “campus carry” complicates their mission exponentially.
Finally, please consider that “the Move on When Ready” program can be a powerful tool Valdosta State University can use to help “Create a More Educated Georgia.” The possible presence of concealed weapons on our campus will give parents of bright high school students pause as they consider options for their child.
Governor, it is for these reasons, rooted in safety and protection of our educational mission, that I ask you to consider your options carefully, and to veto HB 859 and any other bill with similar language permitting weapons on campus.
Cecil Staton, D.Phil.
Valdosta State University