MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University is making preparations for the implementation of the Campus Self Defense Act that goes into effect on July 1.

Corey Farris

The law, created by state lawmakers last year, will allow people to carry concealed deadly weapons, with an exception, as long as the person has a valid permit to carry them.

The process started last with the formation of a committee led by WVU Dean of students Corey Farris and Sharon Martin, vice president of university relations and enrollment management. From there, a steering committee and four subcommittees have worked to develop the policy.

“The committee has been diligently working through the details of the legislation as well as connecting with other campuses around the country where similar legislation has been implemented to learn about their best practices,” Farris told members of WVU’s Board of Governors Friday.

The Campus Self-Defense Act allows institutions to establish exceptions to the law. The BOG approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for BOG Finance and Administration Rule 5.14—Deadly Weapons, Dangerous Objects, and W.Va. Campus Self-Defense Act. The 30-day comment period on the new rule begins Monday.

“The rule includes a list of areas in which deadly weapons are prohibited on campus even by those with a valid license to carry a concealed deadly weapon as permitted by the statute,” WVU Associate General Counsel Kylie Barnhart said.

Kylie Barnhart

The new web page has been launched for people looking for more information about the law. The web presence and FAQs will accompany an outreach effort in the coming months for both students and families that want more information.

“In addition to personal communication, we’ll be active on social media, and we’ll host a campus conversation this spring,” Martin said. “We’ll also include information in the new student orientation, in both the online module and the on-campus programming.”

Internally, the university is making sure staff members understand the law and the exceptions established by the university and are prepared to answer questions.

“Training will be key for all of our professionals on the front lines working with students and their families, and we’ll provide them with the materials they need to deal with questions and concerns,” Martin said.

The search for the next president of the university is moving forward. BOG member Dr. Patrice Harris leads the Ad Hoc Governance Committee, which will present a draft rule during a special meeting in March about the process.

“The committee is finalizing the details of a proposed board rule regarding the presidential search,” Harris said. “So, at a special board meeting in March, we plan to present that proposed rule regarding the process.”