Campuses host an extensive proportion of the American society. They are composed of individuals from different backgrounds, cultures and thus campus students tend to exhibit varying behavioral attributes. Apart from being learning institutions, campuses present dynamic living environments. With the increasing incidents of illegal gun posses in campuses and the effects of student to student violence, there is a dire need to address the emerging problem. This is because, not only do armed students endanger their fellow students, they also endanger the safety of the public. This paper seeks to argue that: Gun related violence has escalated in campus necessitating the need to come up with policies and ascertaining proper dissemination of information between the stakeholders.
In the recent past, gun related violence in Campus has escalated. According to Dickerson the recent tragedy in Virginia Tech in 2007 indicated the unsafe Campus environments. Such tragic incidents point out that learning institutions have seized being immune from violence (4). Dickerson reports that more than 3 percent of the campus population owns an illegal firearm. Despite the fact that a majority of Colleges and Universities have adapted stringent rules that ban gun possession within their premises Dickerson points out that a good number of guns are smuggled by students into their rooms (1-9). In the wake of gun related campus mitigation strategies, various stakeholders have varying opinions on whether to legalize or ban gun possession in campuses. However, both sides of this debate agree that gun possession in campus environs is problematic and it needs to be addressed.
In the quest of dealing with gun possession and related threats in campus, it is vital to embark on developing a campus gun policy. Philpott and Serluco argue that it is paramount for institutions of higher learning to take a stance on the issue of gun possession. They also assert that the only way to tackle this issue effectively, is to come up with an institution policy that explains the stance of the school and the implications of the same incase such policies are not adhered to (2-9). Further. Philpott and Serluco argue that in preparation for the unexpected, it is important for institutions to adapt a disaster management strategy. They insist that such as a strategy should include “proactive involvement and corporation” (2).
In view of the incidents that occurred in Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, it is apparent that one of the major contributors to campus violence is mental illness. This is supported by Schmidt, Shelley, Bardes and Ford who report that the two incidents were “plagued by mental illness” (270). In order to ensure that campuses become safe environments for students, Schmidt et al. argue that it is important to keep track of information regarding the mental wellbeing of students who are suspected to pose a danger to themselves and the entire fraternity. This can be achieved through collaboration between stakeholders such as hospitals, schools and the law enforcement agencies (270-271).
In conclusion, gun related violence in campuses has been on the rise thus compromising on the safety of learning environments and the public at large. This emerging trend has triggered diverging views on whether to legalize or ban gun possession in campuses. For purposes of maintaining safe environments for students, it is vital that campuses adapt a gun possession policy and a disaster management policy. The two policies will help the institutions to come up with rules and regulations on gun possession and prepare for uncertainties. Further, since recent gun violence in campuses has been attributed to mental illness, proper dissemination of information among all stakeholders will be vital in order to avert incidents caused by mentally ill students.