Guest Column: Regarding Campus Carry

Dear President Hebert,

As a Georgia Southern first year student, from California, and a proud Eagle, I write this letter to express my concerns about the new Campus Carry bill, House Bill 280.

Although I do not support this measure, I understand that this measure became a law and that it will be implemented on-campus. I believe that the university could and should be doing more to inform the students, faculty, staff and community about how will the new law be implemented at GS.

First, I was shocked to learn about this new law via Facebook and not via the communication channels of our university. As an out of state student, it has not been easy for me to transition to a new state far from my family, friends, and my social support.

Therefore, as a GS student, I look upon my classmates, faculty and university leaders to create and build a new supportive environment and cultivate new networks that will afford me a smoother transition on my educational journey.

However, a major law was passed that will affect me as a student, and others around me, yet the university has not made any efforts to send us communication addressing this issue. This is frightening, disturbing and makes me feel alone and unsupported by the school.

Second, the silence from the university leadership regarding this issue is disappointing given that universities should allow the flow of open and honest dialogues, even when discussing difficult issues. An open forum to discuss the implications of this new law would help to shine a light on the concerns that every student, faculty, staff and community members have regarding the new law.

Overall, an open discussion about this issue would allow the university to present their current or future plans on how this new measure will be followed on campus. Having an understanding of what the new law entails and how the university will respond to it, will help me, and others understand what exactly is going on and how this new law will affect me and my safety while on campus.

Instead, without having the open space where we can have honest conversations about this new law, I am left with lingering questions. What does this new law mean? How will GS assure my safety, the safety of my fellow students, faculty and other visitors on campus? Will professors be able to identify aloud students who are carrying firearms in the classrooms? Are their specific measures or instructions that I need to follow if I am faced with someone on campus who is carrying a gun?

In order to strive for higher learning, new discoveries and academic excellence, Georgia Southern must take proactive steps to ensure a safe and welcoming learning environment for every individual who is invested on this campus.  In my opinion, the following are some responsible steps that can ensure a safer university campus:

  • Proper gun training and certificate- every individual who wants to carry a gun on campus must participate in a rigorous gun training provided by highly qualified professionals at the Shooting Sports Education Center.
  • Dissemination of the legal ramifications of shooting someone – proper understanding of the laws and consequences of shooting an innocent bystander should be shared with everyone on campus.
  • Stand-your-ground law- every student should be informed about this law.
  • Physical defense classes- classes should be provided year-round free of charge to any individual who is part of the campus. If more people know how to physically defend themselves, perhaps there will be less need to bring guns to school.


Maria I. Olivas