Safety First: Our Focus in the Time of Concealed Carry
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Students, staff, and faculty:
Last week Chancellor Gray-Little shared a powerful message: “Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our University of Kansas community,” in her preview of KU’s draft policy for concealed carry of handguns that awaits Kansas Board of Regents approval for implementation in July 2017.
I echo the chancellor’s sentiment – the safety of our people is our top priority. Your safety, individually and collectively, is first. It will require that we work together and do all we can to ensure every community member, visitor, and guest understands the law and the policy as well as how the policy is implemented.
What we have been doing
A large work group of faculty, staff, and students, led by Professor of Journalism Mike Williams and Chief of KU Police Chris Keary, was charged by the chancellor to address implementation plans for the Lawrence and Edwards campuses. The group has worked diligently on this task since the end of March, and has provided detailed and thoughtful recommendations on aspects ranging from communication, to training, to responses, and resources. Our community owes these individuals our sincere gratitude. Our action plans building on their recommendations will be shared on weaponspolicy.ku.edu after the regents approve our policy but well before the July 2017 implementation date. This will include information and clarification about what the law allows and doesn’t allow, and what you should do when you have a concern. Active-shooter response training – something many have requested – is already available for faculty and staff on the Human Resource Management Talent Development website. KU Public Safety Office is also ready to help through location-specific workshops designed to assist offices in responding quickly and appropriately in the event of an emergency.
What lies ahead
We are all in this together, and I again need to hear from you. What are your questions and concerns about the law and how our campus will address it? What advice do you have? Your voice will help create a FAQ database and shape how our campus prepares and transitions smoothly. This office will work to put the risks in context and do our very best to help individuals feel more in command of their safety and security.
No one can thrive under a shadow of fear. My goal is to ensure you feel confident and secure as you interact on our campuses to learn, teach, discover, and serve. You deserve nothing less than the opportunity to achieve your goals.
News and Notes
Congratulations to Professor of Physics and Astronomy Barbara Anthony-Twarog, KU’s 2016 Chancellors Club Teaching Award recipient. She was recognized for her ability to support, encourage and enable students, young faculty, and staff, and engage the public.
The long wait is over and one of KU’s most treasured gems has emerged with new luster. The Spencer Museum of Art is again open to the public with renovated spaces that enhance the museum’s collections. Reward yourself with a visit this semester.
The KU Food Drive is underway this month. Look for the KU Food Drive barrels across campus and leave a donation if you are able. Items will supply the pantry of Just Food. Visit hunger.ku.edu to find a map of drop-off sites, items most in need or a link to make a monetary donation.
Interested in knowing more about the tax policies of the Republican and Democrat presidential candidates? The School of Law’s Business and Tax Law Society will host the Presidential Tax Platform Forum at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, in 107 Green Hall.
The School of Journalism will host “Media Politics and Diversity” from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 18, in the Clarkson Gallery of Stauffer-Flint Hall. The panel discussion features editors from USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
The Center for Undergraduate Research is accepting applications for $1,000 spring semester awards. Students can take part in an information session at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21 in the Malott Room of the Kansas Union, as well as proposal workshops on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Applications are due by Nov. 3.
The Dole Institute of Politics will host New York Times Bestselling author Andrew Maraniss at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 26. During the presentation “Strong Inside,” Maraniss will discuss his biography of Perry Wallace, the first African-American basketball player in the SEC. The Dole Institute has a number of fascinating programs still to come this fall.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Tunnel of Oppression will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 26-28 at the Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center. Through interactive experience, this powerful exhibit calls participants to comprehend various expressions of oppression, structures of power and privilege and more. All are welcome, with trips through the tunnel beginning every half hour for individuals and small groups. OMA staff encourage large groups and classes to schedule a tour.
The School of Music has dozens of student recitals and performances scheduled for the weeks ahead, including the annual KU Symphonic Orchestra Halloween Concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 28, in the Lied Center. There is a fee, although, children in costume get in free.
The Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture Series, presented by the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity, continues on Tuesday, Oct. 25, with a presentation by Connie Burk, executive director of the Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse. Burk’s talk “Queering Engagement: A Kansas Activist Comes Home,” begins at 7 p.m. in Woodruff Auditorium of the Kansas Union.
Graduate students, faculty and staff are invited to the Disability Studies Seminar at the Hall Center for the Humanities, which features performer, author, and activist Leroy Moore. The seminar-performance “From the Streets to Inside the Walls of Academia: Blues, Hip-Hop, Activism, Police Brutality and The Creation of Black Disability Studies” will be from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, in the Hall Center Auditorium.
A critical phase of the KU Climate Study has come to a close. The university-wide survey period ended on Friday. Thank you to all who set aside time to complete the survey. And although the work isn’t done yet, thank you to all the Climate Study Steering Committee members and KU administrators and communicators who encouraged participation.