I am writing because I represent 544 (of 965) United Academics (UNAC) faculty members on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. You have already received a note from our UNAC president, professor Abel Bult-Ito, in this context.
SB176 and HB335, which would devoid the power of the UA Board of Regents to ensure a secured educational environment for all students, staff and faculty members of the university and allow “guns on campus” has been quite alarming and disconcerting to all faculty, staff and students on the UAF campus that I have met and spoken with over the past week or so. The introduction of the bills and the lack of adequate time for scrutiny or discussion has captured the attention of the faculty and has become a very controversial issue. I would like to put forth, very strongly, that the Board of Regents of UA, who are the authorities to provide a secured and free environment for its employees and students, need not be stripped of such authority through the language of SB176 and HB335. If passed, this legislation will have greatly increased a potential threat to the learning and working environment of the university.
Hence, as the elected representative of UNAC on UAF campus, I stand in full support of the opposition to the two bills. We hope that people will vote and campaign against the bills.
Our campus represents a place of learning. Having guns on campus may satisfy a few Second Amendment advocates. However, for the vast number of the university faculty, students and staff, the very idea of this legislation has put a sobering chill on the academic community.
Debasmita Misra, Ph.D.
University of Alaska Fairbanks