New University of Idaho President Chuck Staben may be the head honcho at the state's first land grant university, but he may never escape that perennial student terror, the due date. In his case, that date's Tuesday, July 1, the Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports.
That's when the so-called Guns on Campus law, which was passed by the Idaho Legislature and signed into law by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter earlier this year, goes into effect. Staben has already convened a working group led by public safety and communications faculty to implement the law. He said he expects to see the group's recommendations in a few weeks.
"We want ... faculty, staff, students, parents and our prospective students to understand what this law means and what it doesn't mean," he said.
But the task ahead for Staben and the UI working group is daunting: The university has facilities in 42 of 44 Idaho counties, as well as prominent campus extensions in Boise, Twin Falls, Coeur d'Alene and Idaho Falls. Add to that Staben's goal of boosting its student population by 50 percent in the next few years, from 10,000 students to 15,000.
The Guns on Campus law became a source of friction between Second Amendment advocates and the legislature on the one hand, and Idaho university students, faculty and staff, on the other. The law allows enhanced concealed carry permit holders and retired law enforcement officials to carry weapons in certain areas of Idaho's public college and university campuses.
The law's advocates said current proscriptions against guns on campuses were a source of discontinuity of Second Amendment rights and would make campuses safer, while the law's detractors said it would decrease campus safety, lead to expensive expansions of campus security measures and contribute to a hostile learning environment.