BOISE — Sitting around a table in a dimly-lit coffee area, light reflecting off the orange walls and sinking into the royal blue booth-style seating, three women exchanged pieces of paper, sliding them across the table in one of Boise State University’s more secluded dining areas.
It was a meeting of the three student lobbyists working in Boise on behalf of their student bodies. ASUI Lobbyist Ashley Morehouse, BSU’s Cassie Sullivan and Idaho State University’s Kate Christiaens met to discuss their respective student bodies’ positions on Senate Bill 1254 — the much-discussed legislation that would allow concealed gun carry on college campuses throughout the state.
Morehouse said ASUI will hold a public forum Thursday to gauge student opinions on the legislation.
“We’ll also hopefully be doing an official poll of the actual student body,” Morehouse said. “Three years ago when we did this poll, (to gauge reactions on similar legislation) the students were against it, so we have a feeling it will be the same outcome.”
ASBSU President Bryan Vlok sent out an official statement Friday urging legislators to reject the bill. BSU President Bob Kustra also spoke at the State Board of Education’s press conference Feb. 3 in favor of rejecting the bill.
“Students have expressed that they prefer dealing with campus weapon policies at the university level and place our trust in university administrators,” Vlok said. “The right to determine campus weapon policies should rest with each university’s governing body.”
Sullivan said students find the process of discussing campus concerns with their university’s administration much easier than trying to relay the problem to the state legislature. She said for that reason, the vast majority of BSU students want the gun legislation to be left in the hands of individual campuses.
Christiaens said ISU hasn’t yet crafted an official statement, but students are in support of the bill — the opposite position of the university’s administrators. ISU’s administration sided with the Idaho State Board of Education — which voted last week to oppose the bill — and other state university presidents in disapproval of the bill.
Sullivan said ASBSU put together a public forum with representatives of each BSU college, but whether they will poll students in a more individual manner has yet to be decided.
The piece of legislation is up for public hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee Wednesday.
Sullivan said she will be at the hearing to represent BSU, or the university would send a pair of ASBSU representatives. Morehouse and ASUI President Max Cowan will represent ASUI and UI students at the hearing.
More information will be available following the hearing.
Chloe Rambo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CRchloerambo