- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 9, 2017

An associate professor at the University of Kansas has publicly resigned in protest of the school’s new weapons policy allowing students to carry concealed guns on campus.

Jacob Dorman, an associate professor of history and American studies at the university for the past 10 years, had his resignation letter published Friday by the The Topeka Capital-Journal.

“Kansas can have great universities, or it can have concealed carry in classrooms, but it cannot have both,” he wrote. “Let us not let the NRA destroy the future of the state of Kansas with a specious argument about the Second Amendment.”

Kansas became a constitutional carry state in 2015, which means citizens can carry guns openly or concealed without a government-issued permit. A 2013 law allowing state universities and colleges to prohibit concealed handguns on campus will expire on June 30. The University of Kansas has updated its weapons policy in accordance with the law in order to allow for the carrying of concealed handguns beginning July 1.

Mr. Dorman argued that campus carry is a “failure” in quelling or deterring violence, and that it puts the University of Kansas at a disadvantage in trying to recruit professors “from coastal areas and progressive college towns where most people do not believe that randomly arming untrained students is a proper exercise of the Second Amendment’s protection of a well-regulated militia.”

He also argued that campus carry threatens free speech, because students might be too afraid to speak their minds if they think there’s a gun in the classroom.

“[W]e discuss sensitive and highly charged topics in my classroom, concerning anti-religious bias, racism, sexism, classism and many other indexes of oppression and discrimination,” Mr. Dorman wrote. “Students need to be able to express themselves respectfully and freely, and they cannot do so about heated topics if they know that fellow students are armed and that an argument could easily be lethal. Guns in the classroom will have a chilling effect on free speech and hinder the university’s mission to facilitate dialogue across lines of division. That stifling of dialogue will hurt all students, including the ones with guns in their pockets.”

Mr. Dorman wrote that he has accepted a new job “in a state that bans concealed carry in classrooms.” He later told Inside Higher Ed in an interview that he will be teaching at the University of Nevada at Reno.

“Kansas faces a very clear choice: does it want excellent universities with world class faculty, or does it want to create an exodus of faculty like myself who have options to teach in states that ban weapons in classrooms?” he wrote in his resignation letter. “Does Kansas want to reinvent itself as a center of innovation and prosperity, and attract the minds that will create the jobs that the state needs to be prosperous for the 21st century, or does it want third-rate universities that will not find the cures, patent the drugs, train the engineers, start the companies, or innovate the laws and social programs that will bring the state lasting prosperity and health?”

Mr. Dorman’s letter had been shared from The Capital-Journal’s website more than 7,000 times as of Tuesday afternoon.

Former Republican state Sen. Forrest Knox called the letter “ridiculous” in a statement provided to a local Fox affiliate.

“He is welcome to go back home to his ‘coastal areas and progressive college towns’ where apparently, the professors bury their heads in the sand and believe that there are no guns on campus because of the signs prominently posted — Gun Free Zones — where, coincidentally, the mass shootings occur,” Mr. Knox said. “I’m sticking with the rational, fact-based, Constitutional view that, in the lack of real campus provided security, we can trust law-abiding citizens, even if they attend KU, to defend themselves and their peers in the event of life threatening criminal violence. I offer Mr. Dorman a hardy, Kansas ‘So long!’”

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