Under a new law, licensed professors will be allowed to carry concealed handguns onto campus if the Board of Trustees approves it and doesn't opt out.
Over the next two weeks, students and faculty at the NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville will have a chance to express their opinions at a couple of forums.
The Wednesday, April 3 forum at the Student Center will be held at 6 p.m. It's titled “Gun Control: Issues Behind the Sensationalism."
The panelists will be Philosophy Professor Dr. Doug Krueger and college student James Morphew, who's also a member of the National Rifle Association. It was organized by students in a Service Learning Class coordinated by Professor Chris Huggard.
They are asking for donations or caned food to donate it to the NWA Food Bank.
The second forum “Firearms on Campus” will be held in the same location at 12 p.m. Friday, April 12 and will feature faculty members.
"Our faculty senate president really reached out to faculty who might be panelist for one side or the other on the issue so really completely different speakers," said Steven R. Hinds, executive director of public relations and marketing.
The public is invited to both forums, which hope to address misconceptions about the professor carry law.
The NWACC student government also conducted a guns-on-campus survey. Sixty-two percent are in favor of the professor carry bill, and 35 percent are against it. According to Hinds, about 1,000 students participated in the survey.
Student government member Cyndi Beltran said, "We've heard opinions so many times about this. What we need is actual statistics and research and what would happen, what if and how is it going to help?"
Students who plan to attend said the forums will give them the information they need in figuring out which side to take on the issue.
"I think it would help me establish my own opinion on whether gun control in school would be something that would benefit us or would actually cause more conflict," said student Claudia Rodas.
The Board of Trustees will use information from both forums in reaching a decision on the issue. They expect to address the issue in their May board meeting.