If governor signs campus carry law, expect prestige of Georgia Tech and UGA to plummet

Protesters rally in opposition to campus carry at a University of Georgia event last year. TAYLOR.CARPENTER/AJC

Advocates of campus carry probably don’t care that guns on campuses will push top faculty — those in highly sought-after disciplines — to leave. They are likely to say “good riddance,” believing Georgia’s public campuses are better off without opponents of guns on campus.

It would be a mistake for Gov. Nathan Deal to adopt that irresponsible position as he considers whether to veto House Bill 859. The prestige of Georgia Tech has helped Georgia attract and keep tech companies. The school already cannot compete with the salaries of private colleges; the state Legislature and governor ought to listen to the concerns of faculty — folks on the campuses rather than in the gun-free halls of the Gold Dome — about armed students in classrooms.

Without its celebrated computer science, math and engineering professors, Tech will not be able to attract the brilliant students who have made it world-renowned.

To that end, here is a sobering assessment of what campus carry will do to Tech and the University of Georgia by Brian Stone, an associate professor in the City and Regional Planning Program of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he teaches in the areas of urban environmental management, land use, and transportation planning. Stone’s program of research is focused on the spatial drivers of urban environmental phenomena, with an emphasis on climate change and air quality.

By Brian Stone

With the passage of House Bill 859, a law allowing students to bring guns into their public university classrooms, Georgia’s elected leaders are undertaking an unprecedented educational experiment: How quickly can one of the most highly ranked and regarded public universities in the world be knocked out of the top 10? For, while a handful of other states have passed a campus carry law, none can claim a top 10 ranking.

The Georgia Institute of Technology, now ranked 7th among public universities by US News and World Report, is a point of pride for the University System of Georgia and a major economic asset to the state as a whole. Not too far behind is the University of Georgia –ranked 21st in the nation. If you doubt that a decision to allow students to bring loaded guns into the heart of these universities will impact their national standing, you may not appreciate how difficult it is to maintain these high rankings – or their direct economic value to degree holders.

The most actively recruited faculty and students who come to our universities each year have options to go elsewhere.  And, as the vast majority of Georgians believe guns on university campuses make them less safe rather than more (the polling on this question is uniformly devastating for supporters of campus carry, with almost 80 percent of Georgians opposed to the bill), a significant number of families will choose a campus that meets their expectations of safety.

The potential for Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, and other Georgia universities to see their national rankings continue to rise while some percentage of top faculty and students opt to go elsewhere is, at best, improbable.  In the highly competitive world of academic recruiting – and with the vast majority of university faculty vehemently opposed to having guns in their classrooms – the assertion that campus carry will not impact university rankings in Georgia is a dog that just won’t hunt.

So, why should the average Georgian be concerned about a decline in the national rankings of our universities? The most basic reason is simple economics. With the stroke of Gov. Nathan Deal’s pen, the economic value of a degree from Georgia universities will begin to erode as our ability to recruit and maintain top talent is undermined. With campus carry, a degree from Georgia’s most highly ranked universities will soon become a depreciating asset.

More immediate than these economic repercussions will be fundamental changes in the educational experience of students. As is already playing out at the University of Texas at Austin, the only other top 20 university where guns are allowed in classrooms, nationally prominent faculty members are leaving, heavily recruited applicants have cited the law as the reason for going elsewhere, and professors are being advised by administrators to avoid controversial topics in the classroom.

My own informal survey of colleagues at Georgia Tech reveals that many will immediately limit their availability to meet with students outside of class, discontinuing the direct access to professors that is central to advanced education. Others will develop more online course content, in an effort to limit exposure to hostile or accidental gunfire in the classroom (in campus carry states, at least four accidental shootings are already on record). All are polishing their resumes.

As a proud native of Georgia, a graduate of our University System, and a professor at Georgia Tech, my parting advice to friends concerned about the effects of campus carry is dispiriting: If you seek for your children a college degree that will grow in value over time, send them out of state.

Reader Comments 0

350 comments
jerryeads
jerryeads

True enough, Starik. I was raised with rifles - they were tools on the farm, just like a shovel or a wrench. Many years later a "threatening event" convinced me to train for and start carrying pistols. That was thirty years ago. I get to teach at one of the local colleges. If the bill becomes law, I will indeed carry on campus - for a host of reasons, but my guess is that the article accurately predicts some not for the good changes in the college atmosphere, as most of the folks who end up with Ph.D.s wouldn't know which end to point, and are petrified of guns. The thought (for example) of having to confront a less than honest student who hasn't been caught and convicted of a felony but might well not be very stable is NOT a pleasant thought - just one reason I would carry. Another is that not long ago we learned that frequently in Georgia the courts don't bother to vacate the carry license with a conviction, so CONVICTED released felons can wander at will legally with a carry license.

I think it's quite likely that many of the best and brightest faculty at the Tier I schools will not only change some practices - for worse - while still here but will also choose to go elsewhere. Many parents who can afford the Tier 1 schools will be more than happy for their kids to follow the good faculty. As with many organizations in decline, the best leave first. Because they can.

Starik
Starik

There's no rational discussion of these issues. Some people are obsessed and extreme, like the NRA and Ralph.  The rest of us are divided into people are unfamiliar with guns and afraid of them and those who were raised with guns and are comfortable with them.  This is a thug problem.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Ralph-25 -- I'm calling BS on your "statistics".

Ralph-25 Jun 4, 2014

Gun owners are statistically, significantly more likely to commit murder, twice as likely to be murdered and 3 times as likely to commit suicide (Univ Penn LDI Issue Brief 2003;8(8), 1-4; Ann Int Med, Jan, 2014).

Ralph-25 4 hours ago

"Registered gun owners are statistically, significantly more likely to commit murder, twice as likely to be murdered and 3 times as likely to commit suicide (Univ Penn LDI Issue Brief 2003;8(8), 1-4; Ann Int Med, Jan, 2014). "

It's beyond me how anyone could ever believe that law-abiding "registered gun owners" who have submitted to an FBI criminal background check could ever, ever be "statistically, significantly more likely to commit murder" than criminals who freely roam the streets of our cities using guns obtained by illegal means to routinely commit murder and other violent acts of crime.

Here's what your source (Univ Penn LDI Issue Brief 2003;8(8)) had to say about their "review":

"These findings suggest that a gun in the home is a risk factor for gun-related homicide and suicide, as well as for unintentional shooting death. While a cause-and-effect relationship cannot be drawn conclusively from these studies, the results bolster the evidence provided by earlier studies."

Do you understand what those who did this review mean when they say, "these findings SUGGEST" and "a cause-and-effect relationship CANNOT be drawn conclusively from these studies"?

Show me where they claim the things you've been posting here for 2 years.  I don't see it.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Ralph-25  Now you're wanting me to read an OPINION piece in the NY Times?  I don't think so....I'm interested in truth and facts, not opinions.

Since you avoided my direct challenge -- I called BS on the statistics you've repeatedly posted here for years -- I guess that means you're admitting you've been making stuff up and posting it.  Otherwise, here's one more chance to show where your Univ Penn LDI source stated in their Issue Brief that:

"Registered gun owners are statistically, significantly more likely to commit murder, twice as likely to be murdered and 3 times as likely to commit suicide."

I'll wait.....

Richard Lindsay
Richard Lindsay

The only thing I know about carrying a gun is that if you have one you have to be ready to kill with it.

USMC2841
USMC2841

May I ask how many other situations are you in favor of institutions having control over civil rights? Would labor unions be able to withhold a woman's right to vote?

ronaldtallon
ronaldtallon

boloney. . The Press has a liberal agenda. Whenever a state takes an action with a conservative stance the press immediately starts screaming that it's going to have serious consequences because of what people elsewhere think. I personally do not give a damn what people outside of Georgia think of our laws. If they don't like them then they don't need to come here. We have to make our own laws based on how we feel without regard for how other people feel who never even come here. Missouri for example can pass a law that everyone needs to ride around on a giraffe. If that's what they want to do it is none of my business here

AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

My concern at Georgia Tech it suicide, not crime prevention.  If the governor signs this legislation, after the first stressed-out Tech student blows his brains out over a perceived failure, the governor will have blood on his hands.  For nothing.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@AlreadySheared The proposed law is for OFF CAMPUS students who commute to/from campus....Not students who live on campus.


No law ever stopped a "stressed-out Tech student" from taking a header off the top of the Student Center while I was there....A gun is not the only way to kill oneself.  Jumping in front of a Marta train or bus works just as well.

Ralph-25
Ralph-25

@DrTruth @AlreadySheared The Professors apparently know the data better than the gun nuts who are mostly pawns of the gun manufacturers seeking a new monetary base.  Flush that collection of greedy killers.  Registered gun owners are statistically, significantly more likely to commit murder, twice as likely to be murdered and 3 times as likely to commit suicide (Univ Penn LDI Issue Brief 2003;8(8), 1-4; Ann Int Med, Jan, 2014).  Those who are shot and survive are 21 times more likely to be shot again and 5 times more likely to die than those wounded by some weapon other than a gun or injured in an accident (Ann Int Med, April, 2015).  States with high gun ownership (Montana, Arkansas, Alabama and Idaho) kill law enforcement officers 3 times more often than states with low gun ownership (Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey) (American Journal of Public Health, 2015). 

DrTruth
DrTruth

@AlreadySheared Tech students have always been a resourceful group, as are college students in general.  If any of them ever made the decision to put a bullet in their own brain, I honestly doubt they would have a great deal of trouble locating a weapon that could provide a means to that end, regardless of any gun laws on the books.

Remembering those days, we all thought we would live forever.  The last thing on our minds was taking our own lives.  I don't remember ever hearing or reading that a Tech student committed suicide on campus by blowing their brains out.  But there was a guy that did a swan dive off the roof of the Stud Ctr while I was a student there....It was published in the Technique.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Ralph-25  You keep quoting some obscure "Issue Brief" that I can't find anywhere online.  All I see is your posts over and over without a link to "Univ Penn LDI Issue Brief 2003;8(8), 1-4; Ann Int Med, Jan, 2014"

Please provide this link.  Just because you post in all BOLD doesn't mean everything you post is true.  Prove it with a link....

ronaldtallon
ronaldtallon

I also am a Georgia Tech graduate. I had plenty of times that I was down as well as many other of my fellow students. What most of them did who got to the end of their rope was they transferred to another school that wasn't so difficult. Remember lots of people get killed in automobile accidents many because they are foolish Kama careless and perhaps impaired. No one is suggesting Banning automobiles

bk1971
bk1971

Total nonsense-- this 'flight of quality' will not occur, and no one will even remember it once the law is passed.  A CCW permit holder can carry a gun all over Atlanta, even on Marta, so why not Ga Tech?  It's not like the campus is walled off as an enclave-- it's just part of the city.  I remember living on east campus in the 90's, with Techwood Homes, and many miscreants wandering over the 'magical line' separating campus from non-campus.  If 21+ CCW GT students cannot be trusted as adults to carry a gun, then who can?  The infantilization of students need to stop.

DrTruth
DrTruth

Meanwhile, the federal "assault" weapons ban expired in 2004 and numerous states greatly expanded their provisions for conceal carry. The homicide rate has steadily declined over this period. Not surprisingly, a 2003 CDC report on gun violence concludes

The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes.

And that was before the continued declines in homicides that occurred during the decade following 2003. 

Ralph-25
Ralph-25

@DrTruth

Mass shootings (Sandy Hook, Oak Creek, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Columbine) have resulted in 95 dead people.  Now we add 9 more (Charleston) (104 dead Americans).  On average guns killed 88 Americans and injured 202 each day during 2011.  When available, it is estimated that firearm homicides and suicides in 2012 will exceed motor vehicle fatalities.  With less than 5 percent of the world’s population, we now own 40 percent of all firearms in civilian hands. (N Engl J Med 2013:368:397-399) Are they WELL REGULATED as prescribed by the Second Amendment?  Obviously not.

Ralph-25
Ralph-25

@DrTruth @Ralph-25 That's why the weak gun laws in small areas are ineffective and they need to be applied nationally.  The gun nuts should begin to look for an island that they can patrol (in their sheets) carrying bazookas and hand grenades.  Have a blast.

ronaldtallon
ronaldtallon

Your points are correct and extremely obvious.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Ralph-25  All of the examples you cite have one thing in common.  Care to guess what that is?

They are ALL GUN-FREE ZONES!

"Out of all the movie theaters within 20 minutes of his apartment showing the new Batman movie that night, it was the only one where guns were banned. In Colorado, individuals with permits can carry concealed handgun in most malls, stores, movie theaters, and restaurants. But private businesses can determine whether permit holders can carry guns on their private property.  Most movie theaters allow permit holders carrying guns. But the Cinemark movie theater was the only one with a sign posted at the theater’s entrance.  So why would a mass shooter pick a place that bans guns? The answer should be obvious, though it apparently is not clear to the media – disarming law-abiding citizens leaves them as sitting ducks."

The concept that you seem unable to grasp is that CRIMINALS who are intent on harming others with guns don't care one bit about what the gun laws have to say.  WHY is that so hard to understand?

"Yet, checking bags or metal detectors at the front of the theater that night wouldn’t have prevented the attack. The killer brought his guns in through an emergency backdoor."

Please respond and say that you understand that criminals don't check the laws first before they go out and commit crimes....Help me out a little here.

FiftycalTEX
FiftycalTEX

@Ralph-25 @DrTruth I carry everywhere I go and I don't go into "victim disarmament zones".  And Georgia has about 800,000 with licenses to carry.  So unless the lefty profs never leave their ivory towers, they are "in contact" with gunz.  EVERY TIME gun rights advance, lefty anti-gunners trot out the old "blood in the streets" meme and it NEVER HAPPENS!  Campus carry will not be the end of the world as we know it.  But it will ruin some criminals day.

DrTruth
DrTruth

Since 2007, the number of concealed handgun permits has soared from 4.6 million to over 12.8 million, and murder rates have fallen from 5.6 killings per 100,000 people to just 4.2, about a 25 percent drop, according to the report from the Crime Prevention Research Center.

But according to the latest report, concealed carriers are among the most law-abiding citizens in the country, even more so than police officers.  In Florida and Texas permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors or felonies at one-sixth the rate that police officers are convicted, according to the report.

Data on gun sales and recent opinion polls indicate that more people are warming up to the idea of gun ownership. A 2000 Gallup Poll found that 35 percent of Americans thought that owning a gun made their home safer. By 2014 that number soared to 63 percent.

A Dec. 2014 Pew Research poll found, for the first time in more than two decades, there was more support for gun rights than gun control, with 52 percent of respondents saying it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns, while 46 percent said it was more important to control gun ownership.

“The public increasingly understands that gun control is a failed social experiment, and it doesn’t work,” Mr. Keene said. “All gun control ever does is infringe upon the rights of the law-abiding citizens and does nothing to stop criminals from illegally acquiring firearms, and it doesn’t stop them from misusing them in crime.”

The report found that women and minority populations are getting more permits than white men, the most commonly stereotyped gun owners.  Since 2007 permits for women have increased by 270 percent and for men by 156 percent.  Black females were the fastest-growing concealed handgun permit group, increasing 3.44 times faster than white females.

“The stereotype of the gun owner being a middle-aged male white guy from the South is simply not correct anymore,” Mr. Keene said.

Gun rights advocates say that the uptick can be attributed to more minority populations and women in urban areas seeking to protect themselves from violent criminals.

Source:  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/14/murder-rates-drop-as-concealed-carry-permits-soar-/?page=all

Ralph-25
Ralph-25

According to a recent Gallup report, Americans age 18 to 29 are the least likely to own guns, with just 20 percent claiming that they do.  With less than 5 percent of the world’s population, U.S. citizens now own 40 percent of all firearms in civilian hands. On average guns killed 88 Americans and injured 202 each day during 2011 (N Engl J Med 2013:368:397-399).  U.S. firearm homicides are 20 times higher and firearm suicides are 6 times higher than in other developed countries.  Gun owners are statistically, significantly, more likely to commit murder and to eventually commit suicide (Univ Penn LDI Issue Brief 2003;8(8), 1-4).  These college level young adults know that trying to pull a gun on an armed robber is the best way to get killed.  They also know that depression and various forms of rejection can lead this age group to suicidal ideation.  Conclusion:  only a really stupid person would even suggest that arming college students will improve their safety or well-being.  Most likely, the students will be smarter than those elected Republican representatives attempting to promote the South’s gun culture.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Ralph-25 "Conclusion:  only a really stupid person would even suggest that arming college students will improve their safety or well-being."

Last time I checked, this law would not FORCE college students who commute to/from campuses to arm themselves.  And since "Americans age 18 to 29 are the least likely to own guns" and "These college level young adults know that trying to pull a gun on an armed robber is the best way to get killed", it looks like you just proved that all the outrage over this proposed law is much ado about nothing.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Ralph-25  First of all, I'm not your son, nor will I ever be.  Second, if there are going to be dead college students who are not permitted to carry guns for self-defense on college campuses because this proposed law is not signed by Gov Deal, then those dead college students will probably be the ones who are not holding the guns that killed them.

It's so sad that you have no idea how a criminal thinks when they set out to commit a crime....son.

Nelson Goss Turner
Nelson Goss Turner

Most will not take advantage of the right. What would worry me more is the high crime crud next door to Ga. Tech......and in some areas around UGA....Clean that crap up and students will feel and actually be safer......

Don Emory
Don Emory

Oh bs it is the hoods around campus running off all the students and teachers campus carry will give young woman protection from rapist

iwd
iwd

There is strong statistical evidence that right-to-carry laws increase crime. The earlier more-guns-less-crime research (by one now discredited researcher) has been totally debunked. 


For the latest see, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2443681


Of course, evidence will NOT convince most right-to-carry advocates. Their claims are faith-based, not evidence-based. 


One final point. I have worked at Tech for over 10 years. I know no one who carries a gun, or feels the need to. I know many who fear their classmates or students being allowed to do so.

And this law would certainly make recruiting top faculty more difficult. If folks don't care about the quality of faculty, that is their business - and they should be happy to send their kids to colleges that don't care about it either; but please don't inflict your irrationality on people who value Tech, UGA and other good schools.


DrTruth
DrTruth

@iwd "I know no one who carries a gun, or feels the need to. I know many who fear their classmates or students being allowed to do so."

Then should be a non-issue for you.  If nobody feels the need to carry a gun, then nobody will carry a gun and the "many" you know are all suffering from irrational fear.

"And this law would certainly make recruiting top faculty more difficult."

Georgia Tech is now the Smartest Public College in America (http://www.businessinsider.com/the-105-smartest-public-colleges-in-america-2015-9).  The "best" faculty want to be where the best students are.  This is another non-issue.

@eidsonb
@eidsonb

Does UGA have an academic reputation to impact? 

Phil Dreer
Phil Dreer

That's their goal. The dumber the better. The world is watching us and shaking their heads.

JasonLago
JasonLago

If Tech kids are allowed to carry guns the only thing that will plummet (using this liberal authors word) is the crime rate around that slum area called Georgia Tech. Thugs know these kids have money and "things" so they rob, assault, or rape them. First time a thug gets a 38 bullet in his/her head after attacking a student the word will get out that the Victim might just be armed too.

Georgia Tech just needs to bite the bullet and move out of that ghetto.

whudsonga
whudsonga

Has anyone noticed our Politicians have banned guns in their own worker places...Georgia State Capitol, court houses, governors mansion and airports were they frequently travel etc....So if the politicians refuses to work around guns why are our kids forced to learn around guns.

Starik
Starik

@whudsonga All the places you cite are packed with law enforcement officers with guns.

Ralph-25
Ralph-25

The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council report that U.S. firearm homicides are 20 times higher and firearm suicides are 6 times higher than in other developed countries. Since 1970 1.4 million American civilians have died by guns (as opposed to 1.2 million killed in all U.S. wars.)  What regulations do Canada, Japan, Australia, France, Germany, and Spain have that makes them so much safer and provide their males, specifically, with significantly longer survivals? Stanford investigators in Sweden (20 percent of the homicide rate of the U.S.) report that those murdered are likely to have a mental illness (5 times the rate of those without mental illness).  This risk of being murdered in Sweden is highest in those with substance use disorders (9 times) as well as 3 times the rate for those with personality disorders and depression (2.5 times) (Br Med J, 2013).  Maybe we can learn something. Many Americans are educable and want a safer society free of gun violence.

Sam_Silverman
Sam_Silverman

Some polls show the exact opposite. If students and faculty members who are trained and licensed to carry are permitted to do so, the safety in the area will improve, not decrease. A person with a gun is a citizen, one without a gun is a subject.

rtpiv
rtpiv

I am not in favor of the campus carry law, BUT, the writer citing the reasons for U. of Texas professors wanting to leave innocuously dropped in this snippet that says academic freedom is also a big issue:  "and professors are being advised by administrators to avoid controversial topics in the classroom."

Jackalope
Jackalope

Nobody disputes that Georgia needs high quality faculty are essential to the continuation of top standards, but I'm astonished that this article provides absolutely zero hard data to make the point.  Even the example at the University of Texas at Austin have NO numbers at all.  The entire article was nothing but a writer's opinion.  I find it incredible that so many members of faculty, particularly at Georgia Tech where muggings are common, wouldn't be supportive of safety.  

Dave the Mellow
Dave the Mellow

What the author hopes will happen....not what will actually happen. But now that we know the author doesn't carry, can we get get a thug to hunt him down?

Seymour Lenz
Seymour Lenz

As as Tech Alumni, I support open carry. Better safe than sorry.