NKU takes preventative measures with gun policy

Karen Plunkett, Reporter

With all the recent shootings in the media, The Northerner took a look at NKU’s policies relating to guns and other weapons.

“I’m not a big gun person. I carry one, but it’s a tool. It is something they give me to do my job,” Jason Willis, NKU chief of police, said.

NKU’s current policy forbids all firearms on campus, according to Willis.

Kentucky Revised Statutes law says that state universities have the right to adopt a no-firearms policy if they choose, and that is exactly what Northern Kentucky University has chosen.

“Even if it was only the teachers who were allowed to carry firearms, I still wouldn’t feel safe. As soon as I see a gun I would feel unsafe,” Allison Gast, a freshman forensic chemistry major, said.

Willis explained that on a monthly basis he will have a couple requests for an exemption to NKU’s weapon policy to carry a weapon on campus, whether that reason is because the individual feels safer with their gun or whatever the reason may be. His response is always that the campus policy is no firearms and that he cannot make exemptions for certain students. He tells them they have to keep their firearm in their vehicle’s trunk.

“When we talk about shooting incidents a big part of what people are trying to do now is somewhat build a profile of who is or who might become an active shooter,” Willis said.  

Willis is a part of NKU’s Students of Concern Committee (SOCC). The committee identifies students in need and the committee then meets to discuss the best way to help that student of concern.

A big misconception of the team is that they are trying to find all these students who are going to commit a violent act which isn’t what the team is about, Willis said. He added that the team meets about students who are having a lot of different issues, not just those who might be potentially violent.

“Our main goal is to find students who need our help and we want to get them on the right track and ultimately see them graduate,” Willis said. “That is the whole idea of the team.”

Willis said instead of wondering what to do if a tragic incident were to occur on campus, he focuses on what needs to happen now in order to prevent something like that from happening.

Willis’ personal opinion of guns on campus is that guns would be introduced in situations where they usually are not. He believes the campus would see a lot of accidental shootings if the policy were to change.