SGA: Poll skewed
Senators debate concealed carry on campus
Marcus Clem | copy editor
The Student Government Association on Wednesday night passed a resolution against conceal-and-carry despite its own online poll showing that 53 percent of polled students supported it.
The reason behind the discrepancy between senators’ vote and the poll prompted as heated of a debate as the issue of conceal-and-carry itself.
Senators debated the issue and the broader topic of campus safety for about an hour and a-half.
“I have never felt unsafe here,” said Christian Cruz, SGA legislative affairs director. “Pitt State is not an unsafe campus.”
Cruz listed several low violent crime rates for the campus from recent years.
“One argument that you will hear from the concealed carry people is that it will drop crime rates. I do not think they could drop here,” he said.
Sen. Ed Stremel led Gorillas for Concealed Carry to present the opposing viewpoint.
“Crime might be low here, but things happen,” Stremel said. “At Virginia Tech, they all felt safe until the shootings happened. We don’t carry because we are looking for trouble, or want to be heroes.”
The resolution declares SGA’s “strong opposition” to any proposal, such as one currently under consideration at the Kansas State Assembly, to amend the Kansas Family and Personal Protection Act (the state’s founding conceal-and-carry law) and legalize conceal-and-carry at Kansas’ public universities.
The survey’s turnout of 918 students, or 13 percent of the student body, represents an unusually high response for such a poll. SGA directors say they estimate that between 14 and 15 percent of the student body turned out to vote in last year’s student government election.
Lara Ismert, SGA president, says her opposition to conceal-and-carry is justified despite the survey. She says that members of the Gorillas for Concealed Carry on Campus Club (GCCC) illegitimately interfered in the survey process.
It was improper for members of the concealed-carry club, Ismert says, to promote their message at the same time they were, in their role as senators, encouraging students to respond to the poll. This inadvertently skewed the survey’s results, she says.
“I don’t want to say that the survey should not be considered, as obviously, a lot of people responded to it,” she said. “However, I do have a huge issue with how certain members of SGA went about conducting the survey.”
“This survey was meant to get the average student’s opinion and not have any personal agenda placed with that.”
Tyler Edwards, SGA campus affairs director, challenged the accusations against GCCC. Airing an unusual open disagreement among SGA directors, Edwards praised the club’s efforts to encourage student turnout. Edwards himself remained neutral on the issue on concealed carry.
“I don’t think it is fair for some