UT Martin Chancellor, SGA President Speak on Conceal Carry Resolution
The president of the University of Tennessee at Martin Student Government Association said their resolution to support conceal carry on campus is a message to state officials to take up the issue.
Tennessee law does not permit students to carry guns on public college campuses. The SGA signed the resolution despite the majority of the student body not supporting it according to a referendum. SGA president Jordan Long said the referendum does not bind their vote.
“It [the resolution] is a recommendation to the state legislature that this is something students feel strongly about,” Long said. “And so they’re using this to say that there are hundreds of students on at least one campus in the state that feels as if they have a right to this.”
Long said there have been protests over the issue, including a sit-in last week and a protest Tuesday that he said was hostile and had “yelling, screaming and cursing.” He said though there have been calls to reform the SGA, they will continue to function as normal.
UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver said he will not sign the resolution but supports the right to express opinion. Carver said having more guns on UT Martin’s campus would not be in line with the university’s focus on safety and student success. He called discourse and dissent over the measure “democracy on display.” The chancellor encourages all members of the university community to respect the rights and opinions of others.
A professor was reprimanded for a letter he wrote satirizing the resolution.