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Public university forces students to fund anti-gun protest at state capitol

President says ‘gun lobbies controlling the conversation’

Concord University officially opposes campus carry.

That’s the reasonable conclusion to take away from the West Virginia public university’s actions toward a state bill that would let citizens with a concealed-carry permit carry their concealed weapons in limited parts of campus.

Not only did President Kendra Boggess (below) publicly speak against the bill on her Facebook page, but the taxpayer-funded university confirmed that the student government – funded by mandatory student fees – paid for students to protest at the state capitol.

HB 2519 bans concealed weapons in large venues, individual offices and residence-hall rooms among other areas, and would give college officials authority to declare other areas off-limits due to specific circumstances, such as “if a controversial speaker were making a presentation,” according to state radio host Hoppy Kercheval. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Campus Reform reports that the Student Government Association sent a campuswide email with a misleading subject line intended to provoke panic – “EMERGENCY. GUNS ON CAMPUS” – and begged students to attend a protest it was hosting.

The administration’s Office of Advancement used its megaphone to promote the protest as well. A spokesperson ignored the one-sided language of the SGA email, which explicitly said the capitol visit was intended “to stop this bill,” and told Campus Reform it was a student effort to ensure “their voice would be considered in the decision-making process.”

The student government paid for transportation to the protest for those students who were unwilling to drive the 90 miles themselves, according to the spokesperson. “All students were invited, regardless of where they stood on this issue,” he insisted, despite the Office of Advancement’s email explicitly stating it was a “rally against” the bill.

President Boggess shared an anti-gun activist petition on Facebook and wrote in a comment on her post:

I cannot understand it…party politics, the gun lobbies controlling the conversation…it’s absolutely beyond my ability to comprehend. We have argued, we have pleaded, we have lobbied, we have been told repeatedly…there is no way to stop this and if we make “them” angry, they will take out the few concessions that have been made. Any ideas? I’ll be glad to try anything to keep guns off our campuses, but we haven’t been successful so far. 30 other states have said no to guns on campus, 13 have them, WV will have one of the most permissive laws in the country. SMH [shaking my head]

Boggess also ignored the language of the SGA email and the Office of Advancement’s email, justifying the student fee-funded protest to Campus Reform by saying “students are voters” who simply “organized to have their voices heard.”

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IMAGE: pathdoc/Shutterstock

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