- Associated Press - Monday, April 28, 2014

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) - A task force at the University of Idaho is trying to determine exactly what a contentious new law allowing concealed weapons on campus means for students and staffers.

UI President Chuck Staben established the 14-member group last month, around the time Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter signed into law a controversial measure allowing retired law enforcement officers and people with concealed-carry permits to bring firearms onto public college and university campuses.

Matt Dorschel, the executive director for UI Public Safety and Security, told the Lewiston Tribune (http://bit.ly/QUO9CM ) in a story published Monday that the task force is still gathering information and getting questions from students, administrators and local residents. Members are working to create a new campus policy in line with the law.

Some of the questions include whether a faculty member can ask their students to say if they are carrying a concealed weapon, and what will happen in areas like the university’s child care center, Student Health Services and the Counseling and Testing Center.


The law bans guns in dormitories, concert halls and stadiums holding more than 1,000 people. So far, it appears there are about three on-campus facilities that can hold more than 1,000 people, Dorschel said.

“Those are all questions that need to be answered,” said Dorschel, who is the task force chairman. “One of the things we really want to do is look at the best practices of other institutions with conceal-carry permits on their campus.”

Kent Nelson, UI general counsel and a member of the task force, said the group will also have to consider what the law means for university locations across the state. UI has experimental forest land, agriculture and farm land, the Taylor Wilderness Research Station and the McCall Outdoor Science School, in addition to satellite campuses in Boise and elsewhere.

“So we have to make sure that we consider all of that, and to that extent, that will be a good exercise for the university to consider all of that globally,” Nelson said.

Dean of Students Bruce Pitman said he hopes to ensure UI can accurately communicate the university’s policies and commitment to a safe campus to parents and prospective students.

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com