WVU BOG approves rule to implement Campus Carry, effective July 1

MORGANTOWN – Campus Carry will take effect at WVU on July 1, and on Friday the Board of Governors approved – unanimously without discussion – the rule implementing 2023’s Campus Self Defense Act.

Associate General Counsel Kylie Barnhart reminded the BOG and the audience that the act spells out various exceptions to where concealed weapons may be carried on campus but it didn’t expressly authorize the exceptions. The BOG had to adopt the exceptions through Rule 5.14.

The Campus Self Defense Act sets the parameters for people with concealed handgun permits to carry on public college and university campuses and includes directives for weapons storage in dorms and other buildings, and exceptions where the schools may still prohibit weapons, such as at events at the football stadium and the Coliseum.

The finalized rule applies to WVU, WVU Institute of Technology and WVU Potomac State College, and covers all university campuses, including HSC Charleston, HSC Martinsburg, School of Nursing Bridgeport Campus, and areas of the campus and buildings under the university’s custodial possession but does not include areas rented, leased, or under an exclusive agreement for the full-time occupancy and use of a private entity.

The rule, in conformity with the law, spells out 12 exceptions where “deadly weapons and dangerous objects” will remain prohibited. They include Puskar Stadium and the Coliseum, WVU daycares, areas used by WVU Police or other law enforcement, and in on-campus residence halls (except common areas such as lounges, dining areas and study areas), among others.

It was amended from its original form, Barnhart said, to make some adjustments based on 16 public comments. We previously reported at length on those comments and the adjustments made.

BOG chair Taunja Willis-Miller reiterated Barnhart’s point about implementation of the act, and said, “That implementation does not come without cost.”

She pointed out an item on the consent agenda authorizing WVU to sell a piece of property to WVU Hospitals to help cover that cost.

The meeting materials explain that the property is 4.75 acres associated with the University Police Department Building and adjacent parking areas. The sale price is not specified but will be not less than the average of two independent appraisals.

WVU said it will host a virtual Campus Conversation next week to supplement scheduled in-person meetings focused on campus with faculty, staff, students and other university stakeholders.

After the meeting, Travis Mollohan, associate vice president for government relations and collaboration and chair of the Campus Carry Sub-Group of the Campus Safety Steering Group, said, “We have people on our campus who are opposed to the law, and we have folks who are supportive of the changes. Our job is to implement this law properly, protect our campus and our community, and respect law-abiding citizens who choose to carry starting on July 1.”

WVU’s Campus Carry website – https://safety.wvu.edu/campus-carry – explains the law and the rule at length and contains a FAQ page with answers to 40 questions.

Among them, it says open carry will not be permitted. “Only people who are licensed to carry a concealed pistol or revolver will be permitted to have the weapons in areas where they are allowed, and the weapons must not be visible. WVU will still prohibit other firearms, deadly weapons and dangerous objects.”

It also answers a question about why bother to get permit since most people can carry without one. It says, “Although West Virginia is a constitutional carry state, a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon may provide that person with some additional rights to carry a weapon in places where it might otherwise be prohibited, including other states or in specific areas on college campuses in West Virginia.”

And it clarifies about carrying at athletic events at Puskar Stadium, the Coliseum, the newly named Kendrick Family Ballpark, the Monongalia County Baseball Complex and Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium, and at events with more than 1,000 spectators at the Creative Arts Center.

It says, “The concealed carry exception only applies when the organized event is taking place – when the gates or doors to the event or game are opened. At all other times, the area is treated like the rest of campus.”

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