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WVU BOG adopts rule for Campus Carry

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia University Board of Governors has approved the rules that will govern the implementation of the state’s Campus Carry law.

The rules adopted Friday will follow the law, WVU said.

Travis Mollohan

That law, approved by state lawmakers in the 2023 session and signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice, allows a person, with a valid license, to carry a gun concealed on college campuses with some exceptions.

West Virginia becomes one of 10 other states in the country to enact the policy.

The BOG Finance and Administration Rule 5.14 defines deadly weapons and dangerous objects, identifies exception areas where deadly weapons and dangerous objects cannot be carried, provides informational resources, and details penalties for violations of the rule.

WVU Associate Vice President of Government Relations and Collaboration Travis Mollohan said the BOG has used all of the exceptions allowed by the legislation.

“All of the exceptions expressed in the law are part of the rule and part of where we will prohibit weapons on campus,” Mollohan said.

Mollohan estimated the cost to comply with the measure to be as much as $500,000, and that would be funded initially through the sale of university-owned property. In the future, Mollohan said they could be looking into alternate funding sources, including grants.

“Adequate security measures like metal detectors might be used at the stadium, Coliseum, or other venues,” Mollohan said. “And the storage lockers we are putting into dorms so the students can store their weapons there.”

Mollohan said next the communication blitz will begin to inform students, faculty, and the community about what campus carry means. That communication will include several groups across the campus, including student leadership.

“This coming week we will unveil our website, send out some information to our campus, and we’ll be talking to our Faculty Senate, Student Government Association (SGA), and staff counsel,” Mollohan said. “We’ll be spending the next few weeks and months communicating.”

In addition to exceptions, the rule also defines classes of people who are exempt from the rules, like members of law enforcement, military members, and judicial officials.

WVU exceptions to the law include:

–at an organized event in a stadium or arena with a capacity of more than 1,000 spectators

–a daycare facility on the university’s property

–in the secure areas of buildings used by law enforcement agencies

–in areas that have “adequate security measures,” such as metal detectors

–at a formal disciplinary or grievance hearing for a student or employee

–in single-occupancy offices

–at a primary or secondary education school-sponsored function taking place on campus

–at private functions on campus property

–in areas where possession of a firearm is prohibited by federal law

–on any WVU property where possession of a firearm is prohibited by state or federal law

–in areas where patient care or mental health counseling is provided

–in “high-hazard” and animal laboratories

–in on-campus residence halls, except for common areas including lounges, dining areas, and study areas.

Corey Farris

WVU Dean of Students Corey Farris said he’s heard from students on both sides of the issue as the July 1 implementation approaches.

“There are students on both sides,” Farris said. “Some students are pleased with the campus carry legislation and want to support it and there are some on the other side that are uncomfortable with it.”

Farris said the law will be the focus of future campus conversations with the community in the near future. This summer, Farris said they’ll have communication efforts designed to reach first-year students and families to address concerns they may have.

“We probably will have some online modules, we’ll have some campus conversations, we’ll discuss it with students and parents at orientation this summer,” Farris said. ” We’ll add more messaging over the summer and certainly as we get into fall.”

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