NorthWest Arkansas Community College leaders voted Monday night to officially disallow anyone from carrying guns onto the campus.
The school’s Board of Trustees voted 5-1 at its regular meeting to opt out of the recently-passed state law allowing staff and faculty with concealed-carry permits to carry firearms on college campuses. Faculty and staff at colleges and universities across the state can carry guns on campus unless their institution opts out of the law.
"I think the decision behind it was a lot of research by our faculty and really our staff," said Joe Spivey, Vice Chairman of the Board.
Spivey said they received feedback on this issue for several months.
"We also heard from our students, our faculty and staff on what they wanted and what was needed," Spivey said.
Administrators said there are about 30 officers who patrol the campus. There's a combinations betweent police officers and security guards. NWACC also has a surveillance system throughout campus.
Steven R. Hinds, executive director of public relations, said the campus also held surveys and forums before making a decision.
"It was very important for them (trustees) to hear what people were saying, what they were feeling about the issue, what their concerns may have been and really to try and weigh all of that and make a decision that was best for the institution," Hinds said.
Two board members were absent and the trustee that voted against was Todd Schwartz.
The Board of Trustees will need to vote on the issue every year. This decision is effective until June 30, 2014.
NWACC administrators last week recommended the Board opt out of the professor-carry law.
The attached resolution to the recommendation is signed by NWACC President Becky Paneitz, Faculty Senate President Bryan Aguiar, Staff Council President Lenora Sotlar and Student Government Association President Jesse Pierce.
The Board of Trustees has been weighing the issue the past few meetings, and the school held a pair of student and faculty-driven forums last month on the possibility of allowing concealed-carry on campus.
The administration’s recommendation and resolution are below:
Date: May 13, 2013
To: Board of Trustees
From: Dr. Ricky Tompkins, Interim VP for Learning
Subject: Approval of Resolution Disallowing the Carrying of a Concealed Handgun
The NWACC administration recommends that the Board exercise its option to exempt the institution from Act 226 of 2013 and not allow employees (with a permit to carry a concealed weapon) to carry a concealed weapon on the College’s Campus or instructional Centers by approving the resolution disallowing the carrying of a concealed weapon.
Recommendation: The administration recommends that the Board exercise its option to exempt the institution from Act 226 of 2013 and not allow employees (with a permit to carry a concealed weapon) to carry a concealed weapon on the College’s Campus or instructional Centers by approving the resolution disallowing the carrying of a concealed weapon.
Mr. Ric Clifford, Chairperson Mr. Dan Shewmaker, Secretary
NWACC BOARD OF TRUSTEES
RESOLUTION ON THE CONCEALED CARRY OF HANDGUNS ON CAMPUS BY TRAINED AND LICENSED STAFF ON CAMPUS
WHEREAS, Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) is a public institution of higher education that receives regular budgetary support from the State of Arkansas, and that is required to report to the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and
WHEREAS, it is unlawful for any person other than a law enforcement officer or a commissioned officer in the employ of NWACC to knowingly carry or possess a loaded firearm or other deadly weapon in any publicly owned building or facility, and
WHEREAS, a “staff” member means a person who is not enrolled as a full-time student at NWACC, and is either employed by NWACC full time or is on a nine-month or twelve month appointment at NWACC as a faculty member, and
WHEREAS, Act 226 of 2013 requires that the Board of Trustees at NorthWest Arkansas Community College approve a policy with regard to the carry of concealed handguns on campus by trained and licensed staff members who possess a concealed carry permit.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED:
- That the Board of Trustees of NWACC adopts this policy expressly disallowing the carrying of a concealed handgun by staff members in college owned or controlled buildings and grounds, and
- That this Board policy expires one (1) year after adoption and must be readopted each year by the Board of Trustees at their annual meeting in January to remain in effect, and
- That NWACC’s commissioned law enforcement officers employed within the NWACC Department of Public Safety are exempt from this policy, and
- That NWACC’s Administration will conduct an annual analysis of its capacity to provide a safe and resilient environment that enhances the learning experience and supports the College’s educational mission, and
- That this analysis will accompany future requests to either readopt this policy or to adopt differing policies for the carrying of a concealed handgun by trained and licensed staff members for different campuses, areas of a campus, or individual buildings of the college for which the Board of Trustees is responsible, and
- That NWACC will post at the entrance of all facilities and parking lots controlled or owned by NWACC clearly written notifications readable at a distance of not less than ten feet that
“Carrying A Handgun Is Prohibited”
NWACC Board of Trustees Chair NWACC Board of Trustees Secretary