The Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University voted to adopt a university-wide concealed carry policy that continues NIU’s practice of prohibiting guns on campus as a weapons free zone. The policy was presented during the university’s Legislation and External Affairs Committee meeting in the morning before receiving unanimous approval by the full board at a special afternoon meeting.
“The policy reflects the university’s longstanding commitment to providing a safe and secure environment where teaching, learning and research can thrive while complying with Illinois’ concealed carry law,” explained board chair John Butler.
Under the comprehensive policy, possession and carrying of weapons remains illegal and prohibited on all property owned or controlled by NIU, including, but not limited to, places outside of the DeKalb campus where university classes, programs and activities are held.
Violations of the prohibition will subject persons to arrest and referral for criminal prosecution, as well as appropriate discipline up to and including expulsion from the university and/or termination from employment.
“NIU’s policy provides a basis for the implementation of the new Illinois statute,” added NIU President Doug Baker. “We will continue to refine our policies and procedures as further clarification becomes available from the Illinois State Police and any future legislative amendments.”
Northern Illinois administrators are now working to update NIU’s violence prevention policy, the university’s conduct and accountability guide, student code of conduct, and the assault and sexual violence policy to be consistent with the new state statute and NIU policy. University resources, including websites and other materials such as leases and employment guidelines, will also be updated to reflect the policy.
The 2013 Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act provides specific language designating NIU and other universities as weapons free zones. Section 65(15) states:
Any building, classroom, laboratory, medical clinic, hospital, artistic venue, athletic venue, entertainment venue, officially recognized university-related organization property, whether owned or leased, and any real property, including parking areas, sidewalks, and common areas under the control of a public or private community college, college, or university.
“I thank the members of the General Assembly who recognized the unique role and circumstances of higher education and provided this exemption which allows us to maintain a safe and secure campus environment,” stated Jerry Blakemore, vice president and general counsel.
Regulations and a system for granting concealed carry licenses are forthcoming from the Illinois State Police, the agency charged with implementation of a framework for granting these licenses. The legislation provides a January 2014 deadline by which ISP must promulgate rules. Additional information about Illinois concealed carry legislation may be found on the Illinois State Police website.