Fairmont State approves policy to allow concealed firearms on campus

FAIRMONT — During their June meeting, Fairmont State University’s Board of Governors approved Policy #GA-08, “Policy regarding West Virginia Campus Self-defense Act.” This policy provides implementation guidelines for the Campus Self-defense Act (sometimes called the “Campus Carry Bill”). The law was passed by the West Virginia Legislature in 2023 and will go into effect on July 1, 2024.

“Fairmont State takes this law and the possession of concealed handguns on campus very seriously,” said President Mike Davis. “In consultation with campus leadership, I established the Campus Carry Committee (CCC) in Fall 2023 to study and recommend relevant actions. The committee thoroughly researched and vigorously discussed the issues, resulting in an outstanding list of suggestions. The Board of Governors’ approval of Policy #GA-08 formalizes Fairmont State’s approach.”

From the beginning, the University has understood the complexity of this law and the importance of providing thoughtful and thorough communications — both written and in person.

“During our student forum, held near the end of the spring semester, we heard from both a student who owns firearms and another who had been affected by gun violence,” said Davis. “Both students had an opportunity to respectfully express their perspectives in an ideologically neutral setting. I’m proud of them, of the Student Government Association for hosting that forum, and of all campus constituencies for the respectful way they’ve approached campus carry.”

BOG Policy #GA-08 outlines where individuals who possess a current and valid concealed handgun license may carry their pistol or revolver on campus. It also outlines a list of exceptions including prohibiting weapons in residence hall rooms, at events of 1,000 people or more, at disciplinary hearings, and in areas where patient care or mental health counseling is provided.

The University will be fully compliant with the law by July 1. This includes placing signage on the doors of all spaces where concealed carry is prohibited and providing expanded FAQs on the Campus Carry website.

During July and August, additional signage will be posted, new infographics will be developed, and a robust communication plan will be implemented. Fairmont State’s fall semester begins August 26, with new students set to move in on August 22.

“My goal is that the Campus Self-defense Act will be a non-issue when the fall semester kicks off,” said Davis. “Furthermore, the committee will closely monitor implementation efforts and recommend updates to our procedures. In the end, I am confident that as a university community, we will do everything possible to both keep all Falcons safe and make sure they feel safe.”

For more information on BOG Policy #GA-08 and Campus Carry information, please visit www.fairmontstate.edu/campus-carry.

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