Guns On College Campuses Tamper With Students' Learning Experience

Guns On College Campuses Tamper With Students' Learning Experience

Would you feel safe if your university allowed students to carry guns on campus?
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Would you feel safe if your university allowed students to carry guns on campus? Last year for my composition class, I researched whether allowing guns on college campuses affects students' learning experience in depth all semester long. That being said, this is a subject over which I have developed a strong opinion. I currently attend Tulsa Community College, and I'm looking to transfer to a university to further my education next fall. And personally, I know that if a university allowed students to carry firearms, it would affect my decision on whether or not I would attend. I know that enforcing gun regulations is a sensitive topic of discussion that is surrounded by much controversy, and I'm fully aware that not everyone will agree with my perspective. However, as a current college student, I feel it's necessary to shed some light on this topic and place emphasis on the consequences that could follow.


Discussing whether or not allowing students to carry guns on campus inhibits students’ and professors’ freedom of speech is a controversial topic. Many people believe that students should be allowed to carry guns on campus because the right is given to them under the Second Amendment. However, others argue that guns limit students’ First Amendment rights and all-around learning experience. According to this view, concealed weapons can cause professors to censor their material and students to feel they cannot express their feelings about controversial issues. Allowing guns on college campuses is tampering with students’ all around learning experience and limiting their First Amendment rights.

Students should not be afraid to express their thoughts and opinions on controversial issues in the classroom. College is the ultimate learning experience. But Jennifer Sinor, author of “Guns on Campus Have Already Curtailed Free Speech”, is right when she states that students who attend universities that allow concealed weapons on campus “could easily be receiving a less challenging, less provocative, and less varied experience” (2). If students attend a college that allows guns on campus, they might fear challenging another person’s viewpoint on a subject in the classroom. The classroom is a safe place to learn from and listen to others perspectives on issues. Bringing guns into an academic setting makes it feel unsafe, and students may find it more intimidating to express their thoughts and opinions, especially if their view differs from the majority. You never know what is going to set someone off; and if that person has a gun in his or her pocket, or backpack, it could result in a deadly situation.

Allowing concealed weapons on campus also causes professors to feel unsafe teaching controversial course material. Sinor states in her article that administrators tend to “censor themselves” in “less visible” ways (2). Professors who teach at universities that allow students to carry guns on campus tend to omit course material that they feel could offend or upset any student. This omission of course material lessens the variation of topics that professors feel comfortable teaching students, and as a result hinders students’ learning experience. Class discussions over controversial issues are excellent learning experiences for students. Debating over controversial issues can help students learn to form their own opinions on these topics, and can help them take away new knowledge from perspectives of their peers. These experiences also prepare students for real world situations by helping them learn to become better listeners, even when they don't agree with the perspectives of their peers, and teach them how to react accordingly.

A major struggle colleges are facing is how to keep their campuses safe without infringing on students’ rights. According to the article “Could It Happen Here?” written by Jaclyn Schildkraut, after Columbine, many people were pushing for stronger safety regulations in schools (96). If campuses are going to continue allowing students to carry concealed weapons on campus, many advocate that the schools need to expand safety measures to protect students in worst-case scenario situations. For example, many argue that armed security should be present on college campuses to expand student safety. Although this may be true, I believe a better solution to keeping universities across the United States safe is by forbidding students to carry guns on campus grounds.

Though I concede that people have the right to bear arms, I still maintain that guns could be an enormous safety hazard on college campuses. Although some might object that school shootings could occur whether a rule against guns on campus existed or not, I would reply that a good start to preventing these occurrences in the future is to implement a rule forbidding the carry of concealed weapons on college campuses. Students should never fear for their life while they are in an academic setting. School shootings have almost become a common occurrence in today’s society, and I wholeheartedly believe that if stronger gun regulations were in place that the chances of these events happening would be significantly lower. School shootings are not covered in the media as much as they should be, and America needs to see this is a “national concern” (Sinor 2). This is a point that needs emphasizing since so many people seem to believe that allowing students to carry guns on campus is a good idea. Ultimately, what is at stake here is the safety of college students all across the United States.

In my own view, the possible consequences of allowing concealed weapons on college campuses outweigh any benefits. Allowing students to carry guns on campus gives them the power to control anything they do not agree with by making a single threat. At first glance, people might say that students have the right under the Second Amendment to carry concealed weapons. But on closer inspection I believe that they would realize guns would cause more harm than good in an academic setting. Guns cause students to feel unsafe sharing their thoughts and opinions over disputable issues, and cause professors to feel unsafe teaching controversial course material. Allowing students to carry concealed weapons on campus and in classrooms hinders the all around learning experience that college provides students with. While it is true that legally students do have the right to bear arms, it does not necessarily follow that guns are safe and acceptable to carry on college campuses.


Outside sources:

Schildkraut, Jaclyn, H. Jaymi Elsass, and Mark C. Stafford. "Could It Happen Here? Moral Panic, School Shootings, and Fear of Crime among College Students." Crime, Law and Social Change: An Interdisciplinary Journal 63.1-2 (2015): 91-110. Print.

Sinor, Jennifer. “Guns on Campus Have Already Curtailed Free Speech.” Chronicle of Higher Education 61.10 (2014): 2. Academic Search Premier. Web. 22 July 2015.

Cover Image Credit: boisestatepublicradio.org

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

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We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

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So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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I'm Not Feelin' 22, But I'll Make The Most Of It

The reality of becoming another year older and the stress that it may bring.

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Birthdays are all about being the center of attention, - birthday wishes from friends and family, and celebrating another milestone in your life. People go out of their way to buy party favors, set up parties, and buy gifts just to make someone feel special on their birthday. However, some people dread their special day because of anxiety and depression. This past weekend was my 22ndbirthday, and although I'm usually excited for my birthday, this was the birthday I had been dreading.

Birthdays are inevitable. Once you reach past the age of 21, everything seems to go downhill, or at least I think so. Once I realized I was going to be 22 last Sunday, I realized the new responsibilities and norms that come with turning this age. I am a Junior at the University of Arizona, should be a senior, and most of my friends are younger than me. With most of my friends graduating this year at the age of 22, I can't help but feel bad that I will be graduating at the age of 23. After being at a large university for three years, I have felt "behind" because of my age and academic standing. Being the oldest of my friends brings a sense of anxiety out in me and pressure that I should be graduated by now.

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Although birthdays bring some sense of negativity to me, I think that they should be celebrated in a positive light. My best friend, Colleen, knew I was feeling down about my birthday and wanted to help me feel better about turning the big 2-2. She bought balloons, silly string, and letter banners just to decorate our apartment to make me feel excited about the day. She bought me the most unique presents that only a best friend would know I would have wanted. At the end of the day, we went to my favorite restaurant and with the help of Colleen, my day had turned around.

While you may catch the birthday blues at some point in your lifetime, there are ways to change your attitude on the day. You may hear from someone from the past wishing you a happy birthday that can make you smile, or receive a gift from a family or friend that you had your eye on in the store and they knew you had to have it. Don't compare yourself to others when it comes to birthday plans, live the day how you would like and spend it with the people that matter most to you.

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