FAIRMONT, W.Va. – In Fairmont, the Fairmont State Campus Carry Committee, a panel of 14 members, is developing recommendations for implementation of the Campus Self-Defense Act that takes effect statewide on July 1, 2024. The new law will allow residents with a valid concealed carry license to carry a pistol on college campuses and in buildings when it takes effect.

On WAJR’s “Talk of the Town,” Chief of Staff Brian Selmeski said the committee includes two students, staff, faculty, and other campus stakeholders that will deliver recommendations to President Michael Davis, who will make a final recommendation to the Board of Governors.

“The committee will take those to the president, and the president will seek additional input and put his final recommendations to the Fairmont State University Board of Governors,” Selmeski said. “At that point, we will begin moving toward implementation.”

The committee has conducted meetings to get as much input as possible and will tailor the recommendations to those responses as much as possible as the July date approaches.

“Their mandate is to ensure compliance while also meeting some other considerations about transparency, about campus culture, and about making sure that we bring everyone along in this process,” Selmeski said.

Selmeski stressed that the committee is working in an opinion-free zone with a charge to keep the campus community informed as the recommendations that will ultimately become policy are developed. There is no effort to cater to one group over another.

“We are not trying to convince anybody that this is a good thing to have campus carry or a bad thing,” Selmeski said. “We’re trying to ensure compliance, safety, security, and transparency.”

The law dictates 12 exceptions where institutions can elect to ban concealed carry. Included in those exceptions are an organized event at a stadium or arena with a capacity of more than 1,000 spectators, at a childcare facility on a campus, K–12 school-sponsored events on campus, patient-care areas, and residence halls, except in common areas.

According to Selmeski, the Higher Education Policy Commission has informed institutions there will not be financial help from state lawmakers this year to cover costs associated with implementation.

“How we choose to use those exceptions will determine things like what security measures are employed, what storage facilities are provided, and some of those other answers that would generate cost,” Selmeski said.

Selmeski said the goal of this several-step process is to retain the current campus feel and prevent people from feeling like they’re at an airport security gate as a result of the recommendations.

“You’ll see most of these areas identified with signage, and you’ll see fewer of them identified with signage and an adequate security measure,” Selmeski said.