Students, professors, residents rally against campus-carry

Locals gather to protest proposed campus-carry bill, Monday at Marshall University’s Memorial Fountain in 2019.

Marshall University students and professors, members of Mom’s Demand Action and concerned Huntington residents rallied at the Memorial Fountain in protest of the Campus-Carry bill, Monday, Feb. 25.

HB 2519, or the Campus-Carry bill, calls for the legalization of conceal-carry of a weapon in academic buildings as well as on campus grounds. Undergoing first reading Monday, the bill has been the center of controversy on campus and in the state.

Leif Olson, a political science major, coordinated the protest and gave some opening remarks.

“We need you because I’m not necessarily certain our legislators are actually paying attention to any of the vocalization occurring against this,” Olson said. “Currently, MUPD, the Huntington Police Department, the university president, Faculty Senate, the SGA and a bunch of regular folks that aren’t involved with any of these official bodies are [all] not exactly happy with the prospect of getting shot in class.”

Professors also vocalized their concerns about the status of this bill. Jana Tigchelaar, an English professor at Marshall, said college campuses are safer as is.

“People who are in favor of this bill argue that college campuses are magnets for rampage violence,” Tigchelaar said. “This is untrue.”

At its core, the walkout promoted a call-to-action attitude, by encouraging attendees to call local representatives, sign open letters and educate themselves on the repercussions of this bill.

There is also an open letter addressed to Governor Jim Justice to show the public opposition of this bill.

The letter reads: “We, the members of the Marshall University Community, want HB 2519 and all attempts to take the regulation of campus safety away from our Board of Governors defeated. As clearly articulated in the public hearing on HB 2519, Marshall University does not want this bill.”

Currently, the open letter has reached 58 pages of signatures from students, staff and the general public.

“I encourage you to find out the truth for yourself, find [out] the information for yourself,” Tigchelaar said. “Keep our campus safe.”

Trey Delida can be contacted at [email protected].