A resolution introduced this term in the Associated Students of Oregon State University Congress led to discussions about the concealed carry policy on campus, but was ultimately not adopted by the student government.
Michael Yurkovskiy, the representative who authored the resolution and a member of College Republicans at OSU, said he thinks people should have the right to carry a concealed firearm on campus.
“I value the Second Amendment right and the right for all students, faculty and staff,” Yurkovskiy said. “Essentially, just abolishing gun-free zones.”
Current OSU policy restricts possession of any firearm on all university property, though the restrictions only apply to students and faculty. If a community member with no connection to OSU were to come on campus carrying a concealed weapon, they cannot be restricted so long as they do not enter university buildings.
According to Suzy Tannenbaum, chief of Public Safety at the university, another exception to the firearms rules is for law enforcement.
“Our Campus Safety Officers do not carry firearms, but our Oregon State Police Troopers do,” Tannenbaum said via email. “Any law enforcement officer who is on duty in the scope of their employment can carry a weapon on campus.”
According to Yurkovskiy, there are several more steps before the policy could be changed. These include gaining enough support from ASOSU to pass the resolution, taking it to the university administration and then potentially taking the issue to the state capitol.
Ayla Bussel, an ASOSU senator, also noted that there are limits to the power of a resolution.
“One thing students need to understand about this topic is that ASOSU does not have the power to decide whether or not OSU becomes a concealed-carry campus,” Bussel said in an email. “ASOSU resolutions are statements of support or opposition to various topics, and ASOSU can urge the university to take specific stances on certain issues.”
Bussel has spoken to Yurkovskiy about his resolution at the past two Senate meetings.
“I commend him for starting the dialogue surrounding this important issue, and I appreciate that he is willing to listen and respond to senators’ comments and concerns,” Bussel said in an email.
Despite her appreciation for how Yurkovskiy has handled this issue, Bussel strongly opposed the resolution, saying there is an increased possibility for confrontations to escalate and turn violent when individuals are carrying guns on campus.
“Background checks and concealed carry applications will not prevent dangerous folks from acquiring firearms,” Bussel said via email. “Given that college students are under a significant amount of stress, there would be a heightened chance for gun violence and gun-related incidents on campus, if OSU were to institute a concealed-carry policy.”
Within ASOSU, Bussel was not alone in her opposition. Carol Moreno, the ASOSU speaker of the House, said that the resolution was unanimously voted down in the senate. However, she did note that there was some support within the House of Representatives; there were five votes in favor out of the seventeen representatives present on the day with which the vote took place.
According to Yurkovskiy, there has been mixed reactions to his recently written resolution, though the majority of the feedback from the public has been negative, especially within a Facebook group popular with the OSU community.
“I made a post on Things Overheard at OSU, and that post even got deleted. I received so much backlash from it, hundreds of comments of people saying ‘f*** you…’, stuff like that,” Yurkovskiy noted. “I mean, some people made valid arguments, but I just keep my head up high.”
While many students strongly oppose concealed carry on campus, Yurkovskiy said that he knows of people who carry firearms on campus anyway.
“I have my concealed carry, but I don’t carry my gun on me because I don’t want to face threat of expulsion,” Yurkovskiy said.
With Yurkovskiy set to graduate, he said that he plans on passing this issue onto another member of the College Republicans. His hope is that the next person can reintroduce the bill, and eventually get it to pass.