The University of Tennessee at Martin Student Government Association president, Jordan Long, signed the controversial concealed carry resolution passed by the Student Senate last Thursday.
Reaction by some in the student body was swift, as many staged a sit-in at the Student Government Association (SGA) offices on campus, WBBJ-TV reported:
Although it received a majority of “yes” votes from SGA senators, students who voted in the referendum on Tuesday did not show the same support. More than 1,400 students voiced their opinion in the referendum.
In the referendum vote, 89 percent agreed that students feel safe on campus, 54 percent disagreed students with a Tennessee concealed carry permit should be allowed to carry a concealed firearm on campus, and 58 percent disagreed they would feel safer if students were allowed to carry a concealed firearm on campus.
On Dec. 7, the resolution was passed 17-10. Now, the resolution will go to UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver for approval.
SGA president Jordan Long told WBBJ-TV, “The hundreds of emails that I have gotten, I’ve almost responded to all of them – some for, some against – in a respectful manner, even when the ones that I’ve gotten aren’t at all. It is a constitutional right of people to be able to exercise that [Second Amendment] right if they so choose.”
Titled “A Resolution to Allow Students to Lawfully Carry Concealed Weapons at the University of Tennessee at Martin,” the resolution was at the center of campus controversy last month that involved a threatening letter to its supporters written anonymously by a UT Martin faculty member.
The Tennessee Star reported last month that the faculty member, later identified as associate professor of English Charles Bradshaw, was placed on leave for his intemperate missive as the matter was investigated to determine the extent of the impropriety.
Soon after, District Attorney General Tommy A. Thomas, decided not to prosecute, citing free speech concerns.
Meanwhile, UT Martin’s Student Government Association (SGA) moved forward, preparing the campus-wide referendum named, “Campus Concealed Carry for Students.”
The referendum itself took the form of three questions and was available for student feedback. The results were published December 5.
Although the SGA’s referendum and resolution process has caused a bit of a kerfuffle on campus, the exercise has no effect in law.
Currently, state law does not allow campus concealed carry for student permit holders. However now that the resolution has passed, the members of the Tennessee General Assembly may take the expressed wishes of the students’ representatives into consideration in the form of a similar legislative proposal in the upcoming session beginning in January.