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Education

Wichita State Crafting On-Campus Weapons Policy With Input From Faculty And Staff

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Hugo Phan
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KMUW/File photo

Universities in Kansas have until October 1 to draft concealed weapons plans to comply with a new Kansas Board of Regents policy passed this year.

Concealed weapons will be allowed on university campuses beginning July 1, 2017. Schools can bar the weapons in certain buildings under the rule, but only if they add security measures, such as electronic wands or metal detectors.

At a forum Monday at Wichita State University, WSU Police Chief Sara Morris and general counsel David Moses took questions from faculty and staff about how the new law will impact the school and what the school's policy should look like.

Moses said the university has more than 400 public entrances to buildings on campus—more if you include the school’s remote locations, such as WSU Old Town. He said the school will have to determine where the school will restrict weapons, which would be expensive to do everywhere.

“It’s economically not feasible to spend the maybe $10 million or more" to upgrade security at each of the entrances, Moses said.

The school is asking faculty and staff to fill out a survey to help determine the high-priority areas that may need these security measures.

Other issues raised at the forum included how special events will be handled, and if the policy could affect enrollment.

Morris said the purpose of the forum wasn’t to cause panic, but to educate the university community about the inevitable law going into effect.

"This is gonna happen. No ifs, ands or buts about it. There’s gonna be guns on campus. There’s already guns on campus, I can guarantee you that," she said. "So this isn’t a time to panic. This is a time to be aware, but be educated about it. Because it’s already here."

A WSU executive committee will use information provided at the forum to craft a university policy that the Kansas Board of Regents will have to approve, but Moses said he doesn’t know if they’ll have everything "locked down" by the October deadline. All of the schools in the KBOR system will have to come up with their own weapons policies.

Two more forums are planned for May 25 and May 31.

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Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx.

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