LANSING, Mich. (WLNS/WOOD) — In their first meeting of the academic year, Michigan State University trustees on Friday approved changes to the school’s on-campus gun policy.
The ordinance passed 5-2, with Vice Chair Dan Kelly and Chair Rema Vassar voting against the changes.
In a move “to provide clarity to the university’s prohibition of the possession and use of firearms on property governed by the Board of Trustees,” the trustees updated the ordinance’s language to apply to any person on university property. The updates go into effect immediately.
The amendment to the ordinance clarified that firearms are prohibited on campus, with some exceptions, like for police. The rule also does not apply for concealed pistol license holders who are driving a vehicle on a road owned by the board so long as they remain in the vehicle. Other exceptions include for specific educational or ceremonial purposes or weapons set aside at range facilities.
Teresa Woodruff, MSU’s interim president, spoke briefly after the vote during the meeting.
“Until today, all students and faculty — 14,000 employees and 50,000 students — were not allowed to carry concealed weapons anywhere on campus,” she said. “Today, we close a loophole so that members of the community cannot carry a concealed weapon on our green spaces. Our campus is home to 17,000 residents, swelling to 60,000 during the weekday and over 110,000 on the weekends. We pay close attention to the concerns of our students, employees and our community members.”
The university does not permit firearms to be carried openly on its campus.
The limited hcanges to the policy were disappointing to activists Hailey Kenward and fellow activist Joseph Kesto.
“The School Board needs to make more progress and they need to listen to us as students because we know what’s best for us. We are adults, despite them seeing us as students,” Kenward of Spartans Against Gun Violence told WLNS, WOOD TV8’s sister station in Lansing, Thursday.
Kenward said she was frustrated by the pace of university security policy changes in the aftermath of February’s campus shooting. On top of classes, the public relations major is helping support the group Spartans Against Gun Violence, which she co-founded.
Kesto said demanding policy change should not fall on students and that recent upgrades to campus security like expanding classroom door locks should have come sooner.
“It’s been years since things have happened. I think there were shootings before Columbine, changes should have been made way back then, not right now,” Kesto said.