Top Reasons #SAPros Should be Tracking Broad Gun-Related Legislation
Whether or not firearms are allowed on college campuses, students, staff, and faculty across the country are increasingly likely to be asked to consider or plan for gun-related violence. Gun-related violence in the United States is not, despite some claims, at the highest it has ever been, but it has been increasing over the last decade. Data from the Pew Research Center shows that 42% of Americans live in a household with a gun and that, whether someone personally owns a gun or not, US residents have broad exposure to them. At the state level, where most decisions about guns on campus are made, the gun lobby is noted for its tenacity, returning year after year to remove restrictions on when and where individuals may carry concealed weapons. Whether due to this concerted effort by the pro-gun lobby to systematically weaken state gun laws or not, a 2018 analysis conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds there is a positive correlation between more permissive gun regulation and violent crime. Therefore, whether you support concealed carry on college campuses or not, changes in our broader gun laws will continue to impact students and student affairs professionals. This post by NASPA director of policy research and advocacy, Teri Lyn Hinds, describes key considerations for student affairs professionals and provides an overview of federal and state action related to guns that may impact college campuses.
Reflections on the Importance of CLDE
The annual Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Conference (CLDE) is built around the four pillars of the CLDE Theory of Change: Purpose, Learning Outcomes, Pedagogy, and Strategy. When I volunteered to write this blog for CLDE 2019, I started to assess the plethora of work that is CLDE within the context of those four pillars. In the midst of that assessment, I repeatedly asked myself why I am committed to CLDE and, more specifically, the work of AASCU’s American Democracy Project (ADP). What is it in my own belief system that has me so committed, and how does it relate to the CLDE Theory of Change? I hope that you, too, will reflect on why CLDE is important to you, your community, and our democracy.
Campus Free Speech: What #SAPros Need to Know About the Executive Order, State Legislation
Free speech on college campuses is once again taking center stage in national headlines following President Trump’s Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities, signed Thursday, March 21, 2019. Most, if not all, colleges and universities are already complying with their responsibilities to protect students’ expressive rights, utilizing appropriate content-neutral time, place, and manner guidelines. However, the threat of as-yet-unknown action by federal agencies that award significant research grant funds to institutions may result in a restriction, rather than an expansion, of intellectual diversity on college campuses. So far in 2019, NASPA's policy and advocacy team are tracking 37 pieces of state legislation related to free speech, of which 26 bills in 15 states would require institutions to designate all outside areas of campus as traditional public forums or otherwise prohibit the designation of free speech zones. Some include additional restrictions related to institutions’ ability to disinvite speakers, assess fees for anticipated security related to possible protest activity, or prohibit campus leaders from speaking on “public policy controversies of the day”. Student affairs professionals are encouraged to reach out to legislators to express their concerns with legislation under consideration that would limit the time or ability of institutions to ensure campus safety.
Ignite the Conversation
As the start of the fall 2018 semester approached, we decided that the best day to roll out this new initiative would be the first day of classes. Although risky, we decided to add an element of surprise in the middle of our campus’ quad and watched the reactions unfold organically. Our risk was a success! The process of constructing the ball-pit was enough to stir attention. However, once assembled, the interest grew stronger and the conversations did not stop.
State Investment in Higher Ed: Free College and Promise Programs in 2019
State budgets represent the foundation of how our government invests in creating an informed and educated citizenry and workforce. Tuition prices in many states are often set by the state legislature and decisions about institutional funding allocations can work either to exacerbate or alleviate state-level educational opportunity gaps. As our national economy continues to recover, albeit slowly, from the 2008 recession, state budgets are shifting toward a greater investment in education. According to recent analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts, at least 15 states now cover college tuition for at least some students. The “free college” conversation continues, with 81 pieces of legislation across 29 states currently included on the Education Commission of the States’ State Policy Watchlist. The policies vary and almost none are truly open to all students for all institutions, but states are actively taking up the charge to address college costs and, in some cases, increase access for low-income and historically underrepresented groups. This post by NASPA director of policy research and advocacy, Teri Lyn Hinds, reviews some key terms and considerations of the policies for student affairs professionals as well as provides a brief overview of equity considerations in free college proposals. Student affairs professionals in states considering free college programs can reach out to their legislators to advocate for proposals that will better serve all students by offering concrete suggestions for improving the policies or even by providing examples of how the proposals would impact students they work with.
Creating Civic Action with Students Facing Food Insecurity
According to the CLDE Theory of Change, Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) efforts should be cultivating change on campuses. Through the framework, we transform through civic action by working in a pluralistic society and world, to improve the quality of people’s lives and take risks to achieve a greater public good. Our food pantry is a great example of changing its vision to meet the future of CLDE work on college campuses.