RIC President Vetoes Faculty Gun Bill
The Residents’ Interhall Congress president vetoed the resolution passed last week to allow UA faculty and staff to carry concealed weapons within university buildings.
The RIC senate had the ability to override the veto, with a two-thirds majority, but the motion failed.
Onnissia Harries, RIC president, officially vetoed the resolution Jan. 30, two days after the initial approval.
“I did what I had to do for my organization to reconsider, but our goal is to essentially be the voice of the on-campus student, and we want to voice that as appropriately as possible,” Harries said. “I feel like senate spoke tonight, and they did what they had to do, and I’m proud of them for it.”
Harries did not veto the resolution for personal reasons, she said, but because of the lack of discourse during the resolution proposal.
The resolution affects the entire campus: including students, faculty and staff. Harries said it was irresponsible to pass a bill without consulting those affected.
There are several other reasons Harries chose to veto the resolution, she said.
The resolution included an “unclear” definition of what a university building is, Harries said. After consultation with residence hall officials, the definition would include housing, allowing faculty and staff to carry within residence halls, which affects the safety of residence assistants, housing officials and others working and residing on campus, Harries said.
Harries was concerned about other schools nearby, she said. Public primary and secondary schools are gun-free zones, and weapons are not allowed within 1,000 feet of those schools; however, there are two schools, Leverett Elementary and Fayetteville High School, within this range. It would be irresponsible not to consider these schools when reviewing the bill, Harries said.
Insurance costs and liability were also a concern for Harries, she said, however she is unsure of the financial state at the UA.
This bill would be ultimately giving a blank check to Charlie Collins, proponent of the bill, who would have the ability to amend the bill as he pleases, Harries said.
Harries said she thought the debate should not have ended prematurely last week.
Joe Youngblood, RIC senator and author of the bill, asked why he was not consulted because there were issues in the bill that could have been addressed in a meeting between him and the president.
“It’s a manufactured attempt at establishing reasons for a purely political and a purely personal reason,” Youngblood said.
The decision not to consult Youngblood was at the accord of the president, said Jordan Luttrell-Freeman, president pro-tempore in response to Youngblood’s question.