Utah Gov. Olene Walker should immediately request the resignations of the entire Board of Trustees at the University of Utah for their continued defiance of the Utah Legislature, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) said today.
“It is astonishing,” said CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron, “that out of ten people sitting on the Board of Trustees, none of them appears to have any reservations at all about defying state law, by continuing to enforce an anti-personal protection policy on the university campus. Somewhere there must be ten people of sufficient intellect and common sense who could assume the duties of a university trustee, without abandoning the civil rights and safety of their students.”
CCRKBA’s call for the trustee ouster comes in the wake of published reports that the Board unanimously voted to continue its policy of prohibiting students, faculty and staff from being armed on campus, despite state laws that allow it. An assistant attorney general said the issue is whether the university has a constitutional right to enforce a policy that is contrary to state law.
Waldron was blunt: “Universities do not have the right to say their students and employees have no rights. If anybody should know that, it’s former U.S. Senator Jake Garn, who sits on the Board of Trustees. When Garn was in the Senate, he knew what the law was, and he understood the constitution. Perhaps he’s been hanging around a college campus so long that he has forgotten about obeying the law and upholding the civil rights- including the firearms rights-of the citizens who study and work there.
“The university’s strategy is to stall as long as possible,” Waldron noted. “If this was Alabama in the 1960s, you can bet these trustees would be quickly booted if they stood in the door of a university and denied admission to persons of color. In this case, they ought to be prosecuted, because the same basic principle is at stake. You simply can’t defy a law just because you don’t like it. Only the Utah Legislature can set guidelines on firearms, not an appointed board of trustees that wants to satisfy its own anti-gun hysterical whims by means of polite anarchy.
“In the final analysis,” Waldron concluded, “Trustee Chairman James McFarlane, Vice Chair Hope Eccles, Garn and the other trustees cannot ignore a law just because it doesn’t suit their prejudicial whims. But they can be removed, and replaced. We call on Gov. Walker to do just that, and bring an end to this circus, while the Utah Legislature re-examines university funding, to see if there are more deserving priorities for Utah tax dollars.”