Aligning itself with University President Michael Drake’s position on the matter, Ohio State’s Undergraduate Student Government passed a resolution Wednesday night stating its opposition to concealed carry on campus.
The resolution comes in response to the recent passage of elements originating from Ohio House Bill 48, which allows concealed firearms — previously banned outright on college campuses — to be allowed at universities if they so choose. Drake spoke out against the measure in November, and OSU spokesman Chris Davey said allowing concealed carry on campus was “not under consideration” shortly after the bill passed in December.
Gerard Basalla, president of USG and a fourth-year in political science and strategic communication, said USG’s resolution puts the governing body on the same page as university leaders.
“Students, administration and the board all have the same message,” Basalla told The Lantern. “That message is concealed carry is not wanted on campus.”
The resolution passed with 29 votes for, two against and two abstentions, after being debated for over 45 minutes. Arguments centered around the necessity of passing such a resolution and whether student government should take a stand on such issues.
Michael Frank, sponsor of the resolution and a third-year in political science and economics, said he thought it was important for USG to take up the resolution because of some students’ concerns about how guns on campus might affect their experience in the classroom.
“Their main concerns are that it directly threatens the progress of education,” he said during the meeting. “When you’re in classrooms and contentious topics come up, there’s such a thing called the freeze effect where people will no longer say what they want to because they’re fearful of someone with a weapon … and that’s exactly opposite of what the university would be going for because here at the Ohio State University we should have a free flow of ideas and expression.”
David Glass, a fourth-year in agribusiness and applied economics, was the primary voice of opposition to the resolution.
“I believe our role is to advocate for students and being the voice of students, not to comment on issues of law, issues of political affiliation,” he said during the meeting.
Many of the USG senators who spoke were careful to say they supported the initiative based on the will of their constituencies, not due to personal views on the issue of concealed carry overall.
“(My constituents are) not interested in having concealed carry on campus,” Zach Clark, a USG senator and a second-year in philosophy and environmental policy, told The Lantern. “I think concealed carry can be a great thing. Actually my parents are both planning on getting their concealed carry license. But I think here on a college campus is not the place.”