University of Toledo Student Government rejects endorsing concealed carry on college campuses
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 04:02
After weeks of campus-wide deliberation and a heated debate, Student Government voted down a resolution that endorsed changing state law to allow concealed carry on college campuses.
After senators tallied the votes cast by secret ballot, the final count was 9-18 with a majority opposing the resolution.
Senator Clayton Notestine, the legislation’s sponsor, said he wanted to give students the opportunity to voice their opinions. Despite that, he said SG should be focusing on other issues.
“I think Student Government could better use its time helping the student body doing non-partisan things,” Notestine said. “I feel as though national politics should take a backseat to . . . campus politics.”
At the meeting, Justice Eman Al-Hassan spoke on behalf of SG’s Student Judicial Council, advising Senate to vote against the resolution because it was “unconstitutional.”
Patrick Richardson, a member of UT’s College Republicans, asked Al-Hassan to point out what section of SG’s constitution the resolution would violate. Al-Hassan said SJC decided ahead of time not to debate their reasoning in the meeting, but they would address inquiries from individuals.
Tate Stricklin, chief justice of Student Judicial Council, was unable to attend the meeting because of work, but was available to speak over the phone after. He did not disclose the section of the constitution in question, and said SJC had only planned on discussing their findings if the resolution passed.
“The reason we will not discuss that is because the vote had not taken place, and had the vote taken place and had it passed, whatever we would have disclosed with our findings, provided that it was unconstitutional, would have very clearly been the basis of a case that would be presented by any senator who would have contacted us regarding the constitutionality of it,” Stricklin said.
Stricklin said he thought the resolution impacted “a pretty small portion of the student body.”
“Do I think it’s a good idea to arm students, especially around the age where they are legally allowed to consume alcohol? I think it’s not a good idea.”
After the meeting, College Republican President Scott Mazzola said he thinks SJC was “trying to scare people away from the resolution.”
A survey was available to students last week through their MyUT portal, and drew just over 5,100 opinions. Of the students that voted, about 49 percent supported the resolution, about 45 percent opposed and about 6 percent were neutral.
A large number of people, including two faculty members, spoke at the meeting.
Paul Brandt, a junior majoring in construction engineering technology, said SG should focus on issues that are more relevant to UT students.
“It’s a state issue; we’re a state university. You can’t change it, period,” he said. “You’re wasting your time here at the university with students who have more important things to do.”
SG President Paulette Bongratz said she supported the resolution and felt the vote was important.
“I don’t think it was a waste of time at all,” Bongratz said. “Five thousand students did answer the poll, which is a sign that this is something on the mind of students, at least a quarter of the students at the University of Toledo. That’s more than how many came out to the polls for Student Government elections.”
Mazzola said regardless of the resolution’s outcome, College Republicans will use the survey results to advance the issue to the state level.
“The survey compared to the senate vote, there’s a discrepancy,” Mazzola said. “We’re not stopping; this won’t be the last you hear from us.”