CEDARVILLE — Cedarville University will allow full-time employees to carry a concealed handgun on campus beginning this fall.
The board of trustees May 5 approved a policy that allows employees who choose to complete an application process to exercise their rights to carry under Ohio law and the Second Amendment of the Constitution. The policy specifically “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.”
The president and administration will finalize the conceal carry procedures this summer, with implementation of the plan taking place Tuesday, Aug. 1.
“The decision to allow our full-time faculty and staff members to carry concealed is the right decision for Cedarville,” said board trustee the Rev. Chip Bernhard. “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. It is our prayer, of course, that no one is ever forced to take this type of action.”
The concealed carry discussion began with leadership and trustees in February 2016 when the House proposed a bill allowing universities the authority to set their own policies. On Cedarville’s campus, discussion ramped up soon after the Ohio Senate approved and Gov. Kasich signed Bill 199 into law December 2016. The law allows the board of trustees of an institution of higher education in Ohio to authorize concealed carry for its campus.
The process to implement a concealed carry policy for Cedarville included consultations with law enforcement, legal counsel, and insurance representatives; research of other universities’ concealed carry policies; and significant engagement with the campus community.
University employees participated in a town hall forum and provided input to the process through two campus-wide surveys. Results from the two surveys indicated only 8 percent of faculty and staff did not want anyone to conceal carry on campus. The university’s student newspaper, Cedars, also conducted a student survey and reported favorable responses for a policy.
A planning task force made up of university administrators, campus safety officers, legal counsel, faculty, and operational leaders also met to refine the concealed carry policy proposal and to recommend implementation procedures. The result was the policy presented to the trustees for consideration along with procedures that faculty, staff, and trustees who wish to carry must follow.
“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,” said President Thomas White. “We weighed all of the issues very carefully to ensure we were moving in the best direction for Cedarville.”
Xenia Daily Gazette news report compiled by Scott Halasz.