Student newspaper denied access to University of Kansas campus carry plans

KANSAS—The University of Kansas will implement concealed carry on its campus beginning July 1, but students have yet to receive all of the details regarding this procedural shift.

Kansas passed a law in 2013 that says concealed firearms must be allowed in most public buildings, unless there are security measures in place to ensure no one can bring a gun into the building. Universities, public hospitals and some other buildings have operated under a temporary exemption, but it expires at the end of June.

The University Daily Kansan has repeatedly asked the University for the implementation plans of concealed carry on campus, but reporters were told the information was not ready to be released and were not given a time when it would be available. On June 7, less than a month before the concealed carry is due to take effect, the Kansan filed a formal KORA request, but it was denied.

The University claimed the plans were preliminary – an exemption under KORA. However, students at the Kansan argue that the plans must be released because they were marketed by the university as being final. The Kansan is challenging the denial, though they have yet to receive a response from the university.

“My biggest concern is that that plan has something in it that the University or administration decided not to act on,” said Kansan news editor Chandler Boese. “Or that the administration is not talking publicly about what they’re doing as far as implementation. That’s my biggest concern. It’s not that we can’t cover the implementation at all because of this plan but that there are parts of the implementation we’re missing because we don’t have those plans.”

Though the Kansan still does not have access to the plans, Boese said the staff will continue to write and publish its in-depth stories regarding the concealed carry policy. She does not anticipate hearing a response from the university before concealed carry is implemented Saturday.

Contact from the SPLC to Jen Arbuthnot, who wrote the denial, was not returned.

SPLC staff writer Sophie Gordon can be reached by email or (202) 974-6318

Want more stories like this? The Student Press Law Center is a legal and educational nonprofit defending the rights of student journalists. Sign up for our free weekly newsletter to receive a notification on Fridays about the week’s new articles.

Fill out my online form.