Cowley College likely will vote soon on its new firearms policy.

Cowley College logoBecause of recent changes to Kansas statutes where firearms are concerned, concealed carry without licensing is now legal in the state.

Part of those changes also dictate that public buildings no longer can ban legal carrying within their walls, unless they provided metal detectors and guards to secure the entire premises.

Colleges fall within under this change. While they have been able to keep their campuses gun-free for the last four years, the exemption that allowed such bans is coming to an end this month.

As a result, Cowley College and similar institutions have had to create new policies concerning firearms.

The Cowley College Board of Trustees heard the first reading of such a policy at its meeting June 19.

“Cowley College will abide by state of Kansas statute for higher education institutions regarding firearms on campus,” Cowley College President Dennis Rittle read from the proposed policy.

“If there should be an illegal discharge of a firearm, Cowley College reserves the right to terminate, expel and/or prosecute the individual, as deemed necessary, to the full extent of the law.”

“It’s very straightforward, per recommendations,” Rittle added.

There still are some areas that will have to be examined in more depth. There also will be specific policies for each department, depending upon their needs.

For example, should it be deemed to risky to have a firearm in a chemistry lab, there might need to be rules to ensure the safety of all students.

“If it is unsafe to have a firearm, they will have to leave it at home or not participate,” Rittle said.

Per current Arkansas City Municipal Code and the Standard Uniform Public Offense Code for Kansas Cities (2016 Edition), it is illegal to discharge firearms within the city limits, except that air guns, air rifles, BB guns and paintball guns may be fired within the confines of a building or other structure, such as a shooting range, or on any contiguous tract or tracts of land of 30 acres or more, from which the projectiles cannot and do not escape.

There is likely to be more discussion of the proposed policy at next month’s Board of Trustees meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. July 17 at the Mulvane campus.

Board attorney David Andreas was absent from the June 19 meeting.

However, trustee hopeful Gary Wilson was in attendance for the majority of the meeting, which lasted for more than two hours.

In other business, the board:

  • unanimously approved the May meeting minutes, financial reports, and bills and claims.
  • heard a college and legislative updates from Rittle.
  • recognized local businessman Bill Docking for speaking at the 2017 commencement ceremony.
  • unanimously approved the authorization to ratify and confirm the previous execution of the Interlocal Cooperation Agreement between Sumner County and Cowley College.
  • unanimously approved names for four roads that will be part of the Sumner County campus — “Lucas,” “Davis-White,” “Shurtz-Juden” and “Hansel.”
  • unanimously authorized board chair Bob Juden to sign documents pertaining to the transfer of real estate from the Bowman estate as a donated gift to the college.
  • unanimously approved the delay of board restructuring until Jan. 7, 2018, due to the upcoming elections.
  • unanimously approved the relocation of the July 17 board meeting from the president’s dining room at the Arkansas City campus to the Mulvane campus.
  • unanimously authorized the updating of policies 145.00, 428.00, 452.00 and 182.00, and the creation of a financial stability policy.
  • unanimously approved the proposed budget for the 2017-18 school year.
  • unanimously approved several potential end-of-year projects, depending upon final end-of-year balances.
  • unanimously selected a new accounting firm for financial audits.
  • unanimously authorized a surveillance camera project that will address non-functioning cameras on campus.
  • unanimously approved the hiring of Conco Construction as construction manager at risk for Sumner County campus construction.
  • unanimously authorized an heating, ventilation and air-conditioning replacement for the Brown Center, which currently is without functioning air conditioning.
  • heard reports from all administrative department heads.
  • unanimously approved personnel transactions as presented.
  • held a 30-minute executive session to discuss matters of non-elected personnel and real estate acquisition.

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