This idea has been raised before. The newest version comes from state Sen. Jack Harper, whose bill would allow any faculty member at a public college or university with a concealed-weapons permit to carry a gun on campus.
Hmmm, let’s think about this one.
The Arizona Republic just published an editorial saying it’s a bad idea. It also talks about law enforcement opposition to the bill. They have some thoughtful reasons why such a bill should not be passed.
That’s all well and good, but here’s a concern I haven’t heard voiced in any of the news coverage:
Does anybody actually remember college? Haven’t we all come across a professor or two who was, shall we say, on edge? How about bitter? Or how about some who were underpaid and unappreciated? Or tired and overworked? Or under remarkable pressure to publish and make tenure?
And has nobody watched the NBC show Community? Hello! A concealed firearm may not be the best addition to the zany script that we call our collegiate system.
Well, that’s what I believed anyway. Until I got to thinking about it. And then I decided that this could really work. In fact, this bill could kill two birds with one stone (apologies to the ornithology faculty—please don’t be angry).
What this proposed law could do would be to level a seriously unbalanced playing field. And that field is the battlefield Web site called Rate My Professors.
Stop by at http://ratemyprofessors.com
You may have heard of this site. Students nationwide can go there, find their school on a drop-down menu, find their professors, and skewer them—I mean, assess their skills in a serious and contemplative way. The company claims it contains reviews of more than 1 million professors at more than 6,000 schools.
Like lawyers and their distaste for rating sites like avvo.com, professors are not in love with RMP. But the First Amendment being what it is, there’s not much they can do about it.
(Full disclosure: My wife is a professor at a university, but she hasn’t said much about the site one way or another. On the sly, I looked her up—who wouldn’t? She’s rated well, but I hope she doesn’t get a swelled head about it.)
Professors do have one outlet on the Web site. They can enter a response or explanation in their own defense. At the top right of the page, students then can “See what your professors think of your ratings. Click here.” Yeah, right. Only foolhardy professors would post responses. And I’m sure if any students actually click through, they simply mock the meager defenses mounted.
As a professor’s retort, it’s pretty weak sauce.
But you know what’s the opposite of weak sauce? A concealed weapon.
Understand, few professors would even have to carry a weapon. But the possibility of a Ruger in Religious Studies or a Glock in Geography? Well, that could have a civilizing effect on students. Who knows? It could be revolutionary. The possibility that professors are packing heat could lead students to abandon sites like Rate My Professor, TMZ and Youtube. Before long, they’ll be reading more Shakespeare, joining chess clubs and helping the elderly across streets.
“You, there, in the back row: Are you surfing the Web during class?”
A loaded question, eh?
Who knew a bill could be such a weapon for change?
Read the Republic’s editorial here.
Read a news story about the bill here.