The board voted to prohibit “anyone who has signed a contract with the university from carrying a gun on campus,” after the previous ban was overturned for usurping the legislature’s authority.
Now, we haven’t gotten to amending contracts in class yet (later this semester!), but I don’t see how the board can unilaterally declare that everyone who has signed a contract with the university (students, professors, staff, vendors, sports ticket buyers, etc.) is prohibited from carrying on campus. That seems to be a pretty substantial term, and without anything in the contract indicating such, I don’t think it would be binding.
It also seems to be a pretty blatant end run around last fall’s ruling. This de facto ban usurp’s the Oregon legislature’s authority just as much as the previous ban did, but in a more roundabout way.
Board Spokeswoman Diane Saunders had this to say:
We wanted to get as close back to where we were with the old rule, which has been in force since 1978. We’ve been lucky in Oregon. We have not had the kind of (gun attack) that Virginia Tech has seen. We believe it is because we have been able to regulate firearms on campus.
She comes right out and says that they’re trying to ignore the court’s ruling. She also draws a false comparison between Oregon and Virginia Tech; at the time of the VA Tech massacre, guns were just as prohibited on campus there as the Oregon Board is trying to keep them in that state. In fact, the year before the massacre, legislators killed a bill that would have allowed lawful concealed carry on VA Tech’s campus, and a spokesman for VA Tech said, after that bill’s defeat:
I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.
That was in January of 2006, 15 months before VA Tech learned that “feeling safe” doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot.
The Oregon Higher Education Board is going to drag its heels as much as Chicago and DC have, but eventually they’re going to end up on the wrong side of an expensive judgement, and instead of being held personally responsible for their continued violation of civil rights, they’ll just pass the cost on to the taxpayers.