Guns on campus

Staff Writer

Howard College officials presented a draft plan to trustees during their monthly meeting to prepare for the implementation of a new law which allows concealed gun carry on the campus grounds.
The change comes from state law passed in 2015 which allows licensed concealed gun owners the ability to bring handguns into campus grounds and buildings.
College and universities were tasked with creating rules and regulations to fit their particular campus, but still complying with the law to allow concealed carry on campus. Four-year universities were required to comply by August 2016. Community colleges have until August 2017.
According to Howard College President Dr. Cheryl Sparks, a committee made up of administrators, faculty, and staff created the draft plan and are currently seeking input from the college faculty, staff, students, and the community as a whole.
“We have it on the website,” she said. “We are having informational meetings for employees and also for students so that those groups can share their opinions of that policy. We are doing this on all our sites.”
In other business, the college has received six to seven applicants for the Dean of Library position, according to Dr. Amy Burchett, vice president of academic and student affairs.
In January, the college and Howard County which supports a public library program, entered an agreement to share the head librarian salary since neither had much luck in filling the position with the salary they offered.
Once hired, the new librarian will over see the college district’s three academic library sites and the county public library. Also the new person will research into the possibility of merging both the county and the college library services.
Sparks stressed that the college and county have not made any agreements to combine the library services other than sharing a head librarian. Any decision will be further down the line after much research and public discussion on the issue, Sparks added.
“It is a difficult process because everyone wants the answer, but we’ve got to be methodical to work through the process because we’ve got to make sure its going to be good for all those concerns," she said.