Opinion: ASB: Focus on realistic change

Posted on Feb 2 2018 - 7:55am by Will Hall

Last week, an ASB meeting mostly spent discussing street lamps and sidewalks took an abrupt turn to the controversial when Sen. Coco McDonnell introduced a policy objective that would allow for students to carry firearms on campus.

In the week following, McDonnell’s proposal has managed to generate enough havoc to garner published responses from members of both the terrified left and the paranoid right while simultaneously elevating the topic of campus carry to the center of on-campus discourse.

Though discussion of this measure is currently bound to the realm of fantasy, I would ask both supporters and opponents of this measure to join me in a journey of imagination into the land of compromise.

Not so long ago, members of the University System of Georgia had their own conversation regarding the rights of gun owners on campus, which left the solidly red state in a brief moment of turmoil. Despite the fear-mongering and the havoc that found itself the centerpiece of debate, the Georgia Legislature managed to generate what is, in my mind, the ideal compromise for an issue of this nature.

Public universities in Georgia would allow for licensed students above the age of 21 to possess their firearms on campus with the condition that they would not be brought into protected places, such as student housing facilities, fraternity and sorority houses, athletic venues, academic offices and classrooms that were involved in dual enrollment or childcare.

Proponents of campus carry left the negotiating table with a measure that, if consistent with their rhetoric, would make students safer while gun control activists could return to their constituents and claim partial victory as large portions of college campuses would see no changes with the introduction of this policy.

Though I find it entertaining to dream of the day when I could purchase a Scantron from the Lamar POD with a six shooter on my waist, I have no delusions regarding this policy ever going into effect at the university. However, I applaud McDonnell for using her position to be an advocate for the changes she believes in.

When this controversy no longer finds itself fashionable soon and all those who advocated for change can discard of their medals of participation, I would encourage the Associated Student Body to continue in its pursuit to illuminate the Whirlpool Trails and construct a sidewalk behind the new parking garage.

Though these pursuits may not have the appeal of legendary heroism, I firmly believe that these measures are the sort of changes the Ole Miss family truly needs right now.

Will Hall is a junior journalism major from Atlanta.