As of July 1, 2017, it became legal for guns to be present on college campuses in Kansas. Newman University has never allowed guns on campus and as a private institution will continue to provide a gun-free environment.
The policy was revisited this year due to the change in state law on July 1. The decision to remain gun free was a collective decision made by the board of directors and cabinet.
There has been confusion concerning policies as nearby state-assisted school Wichita State University legally allows guns. Newman Director of Security Morris Floyd stated, "The reason WSU must allow the carry of firearms is because they are public property versus Newman, which is private property."
While it will not be illegal to carry weapons on the Newman campus, it will be dealt with as a trespassing issue and will not be tolerated.
"Issuing an order like trespassing gives us recourse," said Floyd. "Trespassing allows us to prohibit someone from being on our campus because of an action they've taken."
If someone were to enter campus with a gun or weapon (and refuse to leave), Newman would involve commissioned police officers to write an order for trespassing. If the perpetrator returns to campus at any given time, with or without a weapon, the police could potentially be called and an immediate arrest will take place.
For students who want guns and weapons used for recreational hunting to be allowed, Floyd stated that Newman simply does not have a safe storage space for those. "I understand people have hobbies, but we can't responsibly store those things in the dorms so that's an issue," he said.
Floyd researched gun incidents on U.S. college and university campuses over the past two and a half years. In that time frame, there have been 11 shootings due to arguments, 10 accidental discharges and eight incidents that happened in dorms; all occurred at a time when guns were illegal on campuses. Floyd fears that by making guns legal and welcome on campuses, those numbers will skyrocket.
Floyd has given multiple presentations on this issue to staff, faculty, students and parents. He has also spoken about active shooter situations, the benefits of pepper spray and safety procedures at Newman University.
The Newman University gun-free policy includes guns, archery equipment, swords, brass knuckles and any other weapons. Only commissioned law enforcement is excluded from the policy.
To find out more information, contact Floyd at 316.942.4291 Ext. 2143