Unregulated, untrained, unsafe: campus carry at K-State (in the K-State Collegian)

In addition to increasing the risk of suicide and fatal accident, armed students make other students uncomfortable and squelch debate. A university should be a safe place where students can discuss important but uncomfortable subjects, where they can engage in vigorous exchanges of ideas. Campus carry changes this dynamic: when every student is a student…

Armed and Unsafe: Why Kansas Universities Must Reject and Not Adapt to Weaponized Campuses

As of July 1, 2017, the Kansas legislature is forcing all state universities to admit guns onto their campuses — classrooms, offices, laboratories, libraries, student unions, dormitories, counseling services. Everywhere. The Weapons Advisory Work Group has drafted a “University Weapons Policy,” and we have been invited to comment. If you’re employed by or attending Kansas State…

For Mom

My mother was my first best friend. My mother is the reason I have succeeded in life. My mother is the reason I managed to live through adolescence. There have been many other important influences. Let’s not forget my sister, stepfather, friends, teachers, neighbors, and the many patient people who have managed to put up…

Just a Shot Away (in Inside Higher Ed)

When the state legislature decides to weaponize our classrooms, how do we respond? What should we do when the phrase “killing higher education” ceases being a metaphor and becomes state policy? I tackle these questions in “Just a Shot Away,” published today in Inside Higher Ed.  Here’s the opening:         Shortly after the Virginia Tech massacre, a mentally disturbed…

Why Campus Carry Threatens Higher Education

Today, I’m joining other members of K-SAFE (K-Staters Against Fatal Encounters) and the KCGFC (Kansas Coalition for a Gun-Free Campus) at the statehouse, in Topeka.  There, we’ll hand out flyers that — we hope — will show our legislators the grave danger the “Kansas Personal and Family Protection Act.” Yes, this is really the name of the…

Guns vs. Schools

The National Rifle Association is working to force guns into lecture halls, libraries, offices, dormitories, and stadiums. Their efforts to weaponize college campuses are succeeding. At the time of the Virginia Tech massacre (32 people killed, 2007), only one state university system (Utah) required colleges and universities to allow guns on campus.  Following the mass slaughter at Virginia…

When will I be shot dead?

As we read the news of yet another shooting at a school (the 17th on a college campus this year, the 45th school shooting shooting this year*), I cannot help but wonder: when will I be among those murdered?  Earlier this year, a roving gunman had the campus of Kansas State University (where I teach) on lockdown. Fortunately,…

On Reading the Expurgated Huck Finn; or, Why We Should Teach Offensive Novels

As you may recall, three years ago NewSouth Books published an edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Adventures of Tom Sawyer in which editor Alan Gribben replaced the n-word with “slave,” and the in-word (“Injun”) with “Indian.” Many (including yours truly) criticized Gribben’s decision, and most critics focused on Huckleberry Finn. But…

Ferguson: Response & Resources

This post has two parts: my response and some resources for teaching about Ferguson. Feel free to skip ahead to the resources section. My Response For two weeks now, I have been wanting to write something about the state-sponsored terrorism in Ferguson — and all that it represents (structural racism, police brutality, militarized cops, etc.). But it makes…

Kansas State University’s NEW Academic Freedom Statement

In response to the Kansas Board of Regents’ draconian, unconstitutional social media policy, a group of concerned faculty and students from Kansas State University drafted an Academic Freedom statement, during this past summer. I was not a member of this group, but I fully endorse their statement, which can be found as no. 3 on Kansas…