The University of South Dakota’s Student Government Association is encouraging students to make their voices heard about the prospect of guns on campus.
An open forum for students will be held on Monday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. in the Freedom Forum regarding South Dakota Senate Bill 177, which would limit the authority of certain institutions of higher education to regulate the possession of guns by students on campus.
If passed, the bill, introduced on Jan. 23, would remove gun regulations from “any public postsecondary educational institution under the Board of Regents of any public postsecondary technical institute under the Board of Education,” as detailed in the bill.
USD qualifies as a public university under the Board of Regents.
The open forum will be held in order for SGA to hear students’ opinions about the proposed bill. SGA president Alissa VanMeeteren said she will be testifying regarding the bill on behalf of students, and that she needs to hear student feedback because she will be representing USD’s entire student body and wishes to do so accurately.
SGA senators expressed concerns about the bill.
“I believe it would have some benefits, but I’d hate for someone to be distracted in class because they’re worried about who has a gun and who doesn’t,” senator Josh VanLaecken said.