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UA president: Guns will do nothing to make our campus safer

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UA president: Guns will do nothing to make our campus safer

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Last year, the University of Arizona was opposed to the proposed guns on campus legislation, and we are opposed to SB 1474.

For more than 125 years, the UA has been a hub for academic and cultural activities for the state's citizens. UA facilities are used for academics, athletics, the arts, children's camps, public lectures and countless other purposes. On any given day, the campus hosts more than 50,000 students and staff, but also thousands of visitors of all ages.

In addition, we host nearly 20,000 visitors – many of whom are young children – each year for campus tours.

Last year, the law enforcement community was united and spoke vigorously in their opposition to the gun legislation. Bringing guns on campus creates enormous problems for law enforcement responsible for protecting the campus, which is why all the university police chiefs and most city police chiefs in Arizona will again this year speak out against this bad idea.

What's more, the UA would be required to spend thousands of dollars to install gun lockers in our buildings. Considering the fact that our state budget has been cut by approximately $180 million, a legislative mandate to spend academic dollars for gun lockers is misguided.

I have been a gun owner for all my adult life, and am fully supportive of the right to own a gun. However, having faculty, staff or students bringing weapons into classrooms and other campus activities will do nothing to make our campus safer.

Universities provide a unique atmosphere that is dependent on open and vigorous debate. Introducing guns into classrooms would dramatically and negatively impact the ability to engage in constructive dialogue.

Eugene G. Sander is president of the University of Arizona.

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