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The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Embracing Change: Marshall’s Plan to Prepare for Campus Carry

Kaitlyn Fleming
The university held its first town hall on campus carry Tuesday, March 12.

Recognizing campus carry is an unavoidable law that will imminently go into effect is a significant aspect of handling concealed carry arriving at Marshall on July 1, one member of MUPD said at the campus carry town hall meeting on Tuesday, March 12.

“While there are 11 exemptions, campus carry will be here because it is a law,” said Jim Terry, Chief and Director of Public Safety.

These 11 exemptions include mass gatherings of over 1000, K-12 sponsored events, private functions, daycare facilities and other designated areas, Terry said during his presentation.

Leah Payne, Marshall’s director of communications, facilitated the meeting by fielding questions from the audience and highlighting university initiatives in preparation for the law.

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“Civil, responsible and safe are three words that are guiding our initiatives and implementations regarding campus carry,” Payne said. “These are from our ‘Marshall for All, Marshall Forever’ plan.”

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Dicky Parker, alongside Tracy Smith and Daniel Persinger from the environmental health and safety team, joined Terry in taking anonymous questions from the audience.

Several audience members had questions regarding campus carry in correlation with the university’s residence halls.

“We are working with housing,” Terry said. “Right now, concealed carry will be allowed in common areas such as lounges, dining areas and study areas.”

Likewise, Smith said most residence halls have a 24-hour attendant at the front desk as an added security measure.

In addition, audience members proposed questions regarding training for resident assistants in relation to wellness checks and awareness training.

“They aren’t police officers answering a domestic violence call,” Terry said. “They are RAs doing room checks.”

In addition, Smith said, “We meet with RAs before the semester to go over things like this.”

Meanwhile, other audience members inquired regarding the process to acquire university-wide panic buttons for places that are gun-free zones.

“Lots of areas have them already,” Terry said. “However, they have to be either grant-driven or out of a departmental budget; we cannot buy that equipment for you.”

As for the university’s plan regarding campus carry, Smith said emphasizing education and communication remains the two key initiatives.

These education and communication endeavors are already in the works, Terry added.

“There are several things we need to do in terms of educating students about concealed carry,” Terry said. “We are working on partnering with uni classes, making an educational video and speaking to students.”

Terry went on to say even clarifying the definition of concealed carry is vital.

“Open carry means that the weapon is visible,” Terry said. “Concealed carry means that you cannot see any part of the weapon.”

In addition to educating students, the panelists said they continue to work on research and educating themselves on this law.

“We have to look at the implementation of other states,” Parker said, “but we have to make it the most effective and safe for our university.”

Likewise, Terry said MUPD stays up to date on active shooter training and drills.

“We have to figure out in this new environment how to determine who the bad guy is,” Terry said. “We also have to figure out how to incorporate that into our training.”

Terry went on to say one predicament is learning how to navigate concealed carry at athletic events and events by the Marshall Artists Series.

Beyond research, the Persinger said there are measures individuals can take to prepare for campus carry.

“Each department can request active shooter training,” Persinger said. “That option is there and they can request training through MUPD or environmental health and safety.”

Meanwhile, Student Body President Walker Tatum said campus carry is a law Marshall will have to navigate through experience.

“There are things we won’t understand until it takes effect,” Tatum said. “We have to live and learn.”

Terry went on to say campus carry is no longer a matter of opinion.

“This is not about pros and cons,” Terry said. “This is the law and we have to figure out together the safest and best way to go about it.”

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