Home » Opinion » Letters to Editor » Open letter to President Drake concerning open-carry protestors

Open letter to President Drake concerning open-carry protestors

Dear President Drake,

Today at about 2:45 p.m., I left my graduate student office in Derby Hall to get lunch. As I left my building, I saw a few men with long-arm assault rifles walk past the building. Feeling genuinely skittish after last week’s act of violence, I ducked away from the group and went back to my building. I immediately sent a message on social media warning of the incident. From a distance, I realized that the men were not acting in a hostile fashion and must have been part of some demonstration. I looked around and did not see any police in the area. I called University Police and reported the incident. Then later, as the men surrounded a woman holding a sign, I approached, took several photographs to report the incident to friends and colleagues. I eventually did find two police officers parked nearly a full campus block away in either direction. During your administration, I have seen far more active police presence for small groups of unarmed, non-violent protestors calling for racial justice than for these 15 heavily armed men.

The policy on open carry on campus seems conflicting, and I am not a legal expert. The most important thing I can say, no matter what the law is, is that I felt very unsafe for myself and my colleagues. After last week’s incident, we know that campus can become a dangerous place in a matter of seconds. As a veteran with extensive firearms training who served our country during 9/11, I am fully aware of what responsible gun safety looks like. But this is not a war zone: this is a university. It was my understanding that our campus is a weapon-free zone, and that our administration takes campus safety seriously. Moreover, I believe that our University Police did a disservice both by failing to provide an adequately visible escort to the heavily armed group, and also by not using the law within their discretion to remove the group from campus grounds.

You have a responsibility to keep everyone safe while they are on campus. You let me down. Not only did I feel extremely unsafe today under your watch, but based on your administration’s lack of initiative to reduce access to weapons on campus, I do not believe that you are taking my safety seriously.

To rebuild trust, I am asking that you make a clear statement about today’s events and about the steps your administration is taking to make sure that assault weapons have no place on campus. Moreover, I’d like your assurances that the police are being assigned in ways that reflect the actual and potential threat to life on campus, and not based on race, immigration status, political ideology or other criteria that have no place in how campus resources are assigned.

I look forward to hearing back from you personally, and to seeing evidence of your leadership in this matter.

Austin Kocher
GTA Geography Department


  1. Well snowflake, the university president cannot protect you. Gun-free zones certainly won’t. Almost all mass shootings occur in them. When you grow up, you’ll understand you yourself have to take responsibility for your own and your family’s safety. In the meantime, ask for OSU to be posted with rain-free and heat-free signs so you won’t melt.

  2. You said you felt unsafe but you should have felt the opposite. Law abiding citizens don’t become killers because they are carrying a gun openly. In the case of handguns, they are run through a number systems before they are deemed qualified to carry a weapon. I guarantee you that you are surrounded by people carrying in your daily life and don’t know it. Do you feel safer among hidden guns? Do you feel safer being a sitting duck? I myself would feel safer with armed citizens walking around so I don’t have wait on the police if there was an attack.

    None of those people will hurt you and their guns can not act on their own. So their presence is a positive thing. Why would you want to wait for an officer as someone is attacking you? You have a RIGHT to defend YOURSELF.

    How are those gun free zones working out for ya? Every time there is an attack it’s in an area government has disarmed the good guys allowing the bad ones to kill people like fish in a barrel until the good guys can get there. Many times they can’t go in until it’s safe for THEM in the mean time many lives including yours may be lost. Police are not legally obligated to protect you.

    It’s been shown, if someone wants to do you harm, they don’t need a gun. It can be a car or a knife. If that happens I’ll be protecting myself and THRILLED someone else is armed to help.

  3. Only Communist feel unsafe around guns.
    The purge must begin.

  4. I can’t believe you reported these demonstrators to the campus police. You are a prime example of a scared, ignorant anti gun person. You said yourself that they did not appear hostile and they must be demonstrators. But you called the cops anyway. You need to learn guns protect good people from bad people.

  5. I don’t know why you say you have law enforcement experience and list STG (Sonar Technician) for credibility. If you were assigned TAD to base security in Puerto Rico while you were there, you may have been an E-4 which provides the same level of law enforcement experience as a few police ride alongs. I do commend your service to our country but it seems it was just enough to get the GI Bill. If you are terrified by the non-threatening display of firearms, however, perhaps it is good you only served 4 years. In any case, with your limited exposure to the REAL world, you may want to park yourself at a university for the remainder of your days. As a veteran, you above all others, should realize the importance of the Bill of Rights since you had most of those rights stripped away from you during your service. I pray the defense of our nation never falls into your hands as it wouldn’t stand a snowflake’s chance in hell.

  6. Aston Cucker, why you complain of Americans men exercise second amendment rights? I thought America was land of free? Perhaps new president Trump will help you to relearn freedoms of your country, you can thank our great president Putin for his help in defeating crooked whore Clinton then. MAGA?

  7. Austin, if these demonstrators did not have a ton of police around them it means that the police did not view these individuals as a threat to the students or faculty on campus. As a matter of fact, everywhere they went on campus became instantly safer. And It is funny that you view these individuals as a priority to be babysat over whatever else the police were doing like watching out for crime. And people with extensive firearm training like yourself do not often freak out because someone has a gun in their presence, nor do they use the term assault weapon.

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