Michigan State University's board of trustees voted Friday to allow community members with concealed weapons permits to carry weapons on campus grounds, the State News reports. Weapons are still not allowed inside campus buildings, but those with permits will no longer be in danger of a citation for having weapons with them on campus.
The rule, which previously banned weapons from campus altogether, now adheres to state and county law, Michigan State spokesman Kent Cassella said.
The vote was not unanimous. One trustee voted against the measure because she feared the university was losing its independence from the state. She noted that campus police were torn between enforcing state law and the campus ordinance that banned weapons altogether. The prosecutor who handles crime at Michigan State does not prosecute people who violate the school's ordinance, instead following state law, which prompted the board's vote to change policy, the trustee told the newspaper.
Concealed-weapon permits have cropped up during campus safety debates since the shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 and Northern Illinois University in 2008.
The State News reported that reactions to the change at Michigan State were mixed.
"I don't really feel too great about guns in general, but I feel like people have a right to defend themselves, especially women, so whatever makes them feel safe is OK," one student said.