From the Board
RIC Anonymous Vote on Gun Legislation
The Residents’ Interhall Congress discussed Monday night, among other legislation, a conceal and carry bill that would allow weapons onto the UA campus. The crowded room in the graduate education building was silent as arguments for and against weapons on campus were presented by hall representatives.
Two concealed carry bills were presented in RIC’s Monday night meeting, one allowing concealed carry for UA students with proper registration, while the other would allow UA faculty and staff with permits to carry concealed weapons in university buildings.
RIC denied passage of the first bill. The committee kept the vote anonymous because of the contentious nature of the bill. The second amendment, however, passed in a 16-14 roll-call vote.
The decision to conceal the votes of senators on the first issue was a mistake.
We agree, this is a contentious issue which is exactly why each student, especially those living on-campus, should have the knowledge of what their senator voted for.
On the RIC website, the expectations of an RIC senator are given. One of these stuck out more than the others.
“Talk to your constituents. Give a weekly report at your Hall Senate meeting and get feedback. How can you represent your fellow students if you never talk to them?”
How do residents know if an RIC representative is performing that duty, reflecting their opinion, if votes are hidden from them?
UA students deserve the know how they are being represented in their student governments, whether they are directly involved or not. Why keep votes — involving the people RIC represents — secret? In that case, why were results of the faculty and staff concealed carry bill made public?
Further, we on The Traveler editorial board do not support the passage of the second bill, allowing faculty and staff to carry concealed weapons into university buildings; however, our opinion does not reflect the opinion of the entire Traveler staff.
The UA campus is a place for learning. The introduction of weapons — of any kind — is the introduction of potential chaos in our educational system. A professor’s job is not to carry a weapon. Weapons do not, and never should, belong on our college campus.
We believe weapons should be left in the hands of individuals properly trained to act in tense, violent situations. Most college professors are not trained or experienced enough to know how to properly act in a life or death situation.
Despite the passage of this bill, UA administration has the final say in legislation of this kind. RIC’s bill essentially reflects UA students’ opinions, so students deserve access to bills and legislation discussed during RIC meetings.
RIC does not keep record of minutes taken during meetings on its website, nor does it keep an updated list of proposed bills, amendments and resolutions available online for students and faculty to read.
We do know that ASG will conduct voting in a different way.
Three “gun-related resolutions” will be discussed at next week’s ASG senate meeting, according to an e-mail to senators by Chair of Senate Mike Norton.
ASG votes will be made public and posted online the following day, Norton said.
RIC needs to increase transparency by providing more immediate information online about its meetings and the legislation in discussion. Student government cannot properly represent its students when students don’t have access to the information they need to make informed decisions.