The following email was sent out to the bargaining unit on March 28, 2015. It concerns another UFF-UCF resolution about the “Guns on Campus” bill (SB 176/HB 4005) currently being considered by our state Legislature.
(UPDATE! March 29th: Yet another local media outlet has run a story about the resolution!)
We have news for you regarding the “guns-on-campus” bill. Read on for the scoop.
As you may already know, the state Legislature is currently considering SB 176 (and its companion HB 4005), a bill that concerns “deleting a provision [in state statutes] prohibiting concealed carry licensees from openly carrying a handgun or carrying a concealed weapon or firearm into a college or university facility….”
This is the “guns-on-campus” bill, and SB 176/HB 4005 has met a unified opposition from United Faculty of Florida, The League of Women Voters, The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, and Florida’s State University System—which includes 12 universities, their police chiefs, and the Board of Governors. Parent groups such as MomsRising, Moms Demand Action, and Keep Guns Off Campus have likewise spoken up against the bill.
Despite opposition, the bill has made its way through two committees and is making its way through the Judiciary Committee now.
On February 19, our UFF-UCF chapter Council approved a resolution against SB 176 and HB 4005. On March 26, the Council unanimously passed a resolution advocating the inclusion of “Right to Vacate” provisions in the bills. The text of that resolution is as follows:
HB 4005 and SB 176 must include provisions allowing students, faculty, and other employees to choose to leave any environment where firearms may be present without question or penalty. Because firearms are inherently dangerous and constitute a threat to life, the right to vacate must be enshrined as a legitimate form of self-preservation and necessary form of self-defense. Therefore, we require that the following provisions be added to HB 4005 and SB 176:
- Students can leave any class without disciplinary action or penalty if they feel at risk in the presence of possibly armed persons.
- Workers, including faculty, can leave their workplaces without disciplinary action or penalty if they suspect that an armed person has entered their classroom or workspace.
With this resolution, UFF-UCF’s Council has affirmed its position on how all members of the UCF community can keep themselves safe, and word of UFF-UCF’s positions has gotten out to the local media.
We encourage you all to contact your legislators – preferably by telephone, which is more effective than email (just not from your office phone!) – and let them know your opinion on the impact SB 176 would have on our campus, and on your ability to do your job and provide the best possible learning environment for students.
Your UFF-UCF Chapter Council