Weapons policy committees to begin work

In December, I wrote about how the University of Kansas is working to comply with the state law that will allow concealed handguns in campus facilities beginning July 1, 2017. Today I’d like to update you on our efforts.

In January, the Kansas Board of Regents approved a new weapons policy that applies to all Regents universities but allows each institution to develop its own policy consistent with the Regents policy. The Regents have asked KU to submit our policy by October 2016.

To lead this effort, I have assembled a university-wide Weapons Policy Advisory Committee. This five-member committee will be chaired by Jim Pottorff, our university general counsel, and includes our police chiefs from Lawrence and KU Medical Center, as well as two Governance representatives: Mike Williams from Lawrence, and Patricia Kluding from the medical center.

Additionally, we are assembling two campus implementation committees — one for Lawrence, Edwards and our Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in Yoder, and one for the medical center’s three campuses — to develop campus-specific implementation plans.

Over the coming months, the Weapons Policy Advisory Committee will oversee the formulation and implementation of the Regents policy at KU, provide guidance to the two campus implementation committees and ultimately review the two campus-specific plans. The Weapons Policy Advisory Committee will then present me with a final university plan by September 1 to review in advance of the Regents’ October deadline.

As I’ve told the advisory committee members, the goal of this process is to create a university-wide plan that emphasizes the safety of our campuses, creates a setting conducive to learning, teaching and research, and is consistent with state law. This will require a good deal of work by the committees, given the complexity of our university and the different needs of our campuses. But with your support, I am confident we can do this.

We have created a website where you can learn more about weapons laws and policies impacting Kansas and KU. Additionally, you are welcome to share your thoughts with committee members during this process at weaponspolicy@ku.edu.

As I said in my December message, once our plan is approved by the Regents, we will provide you with information to prepare for the change as we approach July 2017. This is an important and complicated topic, and we will work to ensure you are properly informed.

Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our KU community. Thank you for helping to ensure the University of Kansas continues to be a welcoming space for all.