Cedarville University trustees vote to allow faculty and staff to carry concealed on campus

Cedarville University trustees have approved a plan that makes theirs the first college in Ohio to allow concealed carry on campus.

From Cedars, the campus newspaper:

The policy, a first among Ohio colleges, “authorizes the President to grant permission to faculty, staff, and trustees with concealed carry licenses to carry a concealed handgun on campus under approved terms and/or conditions consistent with state law.”

In March, Ohio became one of 24 states to allow universities to decide whether concealed carry permits should be allowed on campus. The policy will be finalized over the summer by the president and others at the administrative level and go into effect August 1.

“The process to bring a concealed carry proposal to our board for consideration was handled carefully, with significant input and dialogue, and always keeping the safety of our campus community as the highest priority,” Dr. Thomas White, Cedarville University’s president, said in a statement. “We weighed all of the issues very carefully to ensure we were moving in the best direction for Cedarville.”

According to the article, the concealed carry discussion began in February 2016 when the Ohio House began talks of allowing campuses to make their own decision concerning concealed carry on their campuses. When the bill was signed into law last December, the process intensified. 

“The board discussed this matter, and in our determination, we believed it was important to allow our conscientious faculty and staff to have the opportunity to exercise their second amendment rights, and, if necessary, to defend themselves should an incident arise in the future,” Board of Trustees Chairman Chip Bernhard is quoted as saying. “It is our prayer, of course, that no one is ever forced to take this type of action.”

Cedarville’s president and trustees have emphasized their care in forming the policy, which included consultations with law enforcement, legal counsel, and insurance representatives. 

The article notes the administration also held a town hall meeting for university faculty and staff and conducted two campus-wide surveys of faculty and staff. The surveys revealed only eight percent of the faculty and staff on campus were against the potential policy. Similarly, 92 percent of students favored allowing some degree of concealed-carry.

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Cedarville isn't the only Ohio campus where students have voted in favor of concealed carry. Students at all five of Ohio University's regional campuses — Chillicothe, Southern, Lancaster, Eastern and Zanesville — voted to allow concealed carry, but were outnumbered by the number of votes against concealed-carry from OU’s main campus in Athens.

The Cedars article concludes by noting that Dr. Patrick Oliver, associate professor of criminal justice and former chief of police in Cleveland, Fairborn, and Grandview Heights, Ohio, contributed to the policy’s development.

“From my perspective as a peace officer in the state of Ohio,” he said in a statement, “I believe the decision to allow law-abiding faculty and staff to conceal carry on campus is strategically beneficial given the growing safety concerns among institutions of higher education.”

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and a NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

Additional Information:

5 things to know about Cedarville U. decision to allow concealed carry