By Cliff Foster
The MSU Denver Board of Trustees last Thursday endorsed the concept of a concealed-weapons ban on state college and university campuses in light of legislation proposed by state Rep. Claire Levy of Boulder.
Levy’s bill was not available for review at the time of the board meeting, so trustees held off on endorsing the specific measure. However, they clearly favor the idea, along with the Faculty Senate, which voted last week to support any legislation that would ban concealed weapons on campus.
State law says a person with the proper permit can carry a concealed handgun "in all areas of the state," except in K-12 schools, buildings with electronic security checkpoints and other places where it is prohibited by federal law. It also says a "local government" can’t adopt a law or ordinance that conflicts with the state law.
President Stephen Jordan noted that the Colorado Supreme Court struck down the University of Colorado's gun ban, basically ruling that if state lawmakers had meant to prohibit a permit-holder from carrying a concealed handgun on campuses they would have included such language in the bill that became law.
Levy’s measure would ban permit holders from possessing a concealed firearm in any building or structure and at events held at public institutions of higher education.
The trustees also were briefed by OWOW director Tom Cech on the progress of the One World, One Water Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship. He told the board about successful efforts to launch a pilot water studies minor, from faculty members and the water resources and engineering communities, and upcoming events.
The board also learned about new online tools that will allow trustees to track a range of data, including retention and graduation rates and other information related to the performance contract with the Colorado Commission on Higher Education as well as the Time of Transformation, 2012-17 strategic plan.
Reacting to the upcoming resignation of Natalie Lutes, vice president of administration, finance and facilities, members praised her contributions to the University. Vice Chair Michelle Lucero called her a phenomenal leader” and trustee Ellen Robinson described Lutes as a “consummate professional.”
In a lighter but heartfelt remark, Trustee Bill Hanzlik called Lutes “the rubber band lady because you can stretch like no other in so many different areas and yet never snap that rubber band.”
“It’s a big loss,” he said of her decision to leave the University in May. “But I’m so happy you get to leave on your terms and what you want to do.”
Jordan said a University committee, assisted by an outside search firm, will seek her replacement and he hopes to have finalists on campus before the end of the semester.
In other action, the trustees approved tenure for Mark Potter, associate vice president for academic and civic collaboration and former director of the Center for Faculty Development.
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