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February 18, 2013

Drugovich joins gun debate

Drugovich signs letters supporting legislation

Hartwick College’s president has joined hundreds of other college and university chiefs to urge Congress to pass gun-control legislation.

President Margaret L. Drugovich signed an open letter by College Presidents for Gun Safety written in the days after the shooting deaths of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. 

The Dec. 14 massacre has fueled discussions across the nation about gun control, mental health care and safety at schools. In January, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed firearms legislation that has intensified the debate politically in the area. 

Drugovich said she doesn’t align with a political party when it comes to gun control issues but with educators striving for safe schools. The discussion about gun control will go on for months if not years, she said, and for college presidents to come together in a such a letter-writing initiative is rare. 

“It speaks strongly to the issue of gun safety,’’ Drugovich said. “As educators we have a responsibility to speak our minds on issues we feel this passionately about.’’

Drugovich said she supports measures and related issues outlined in the letter, including background checks; concerns about semi-automatic weapons; safety standards for storage and keeping guns inaccessible to children; and mental health care.

Hartwick, a private liberal arts and sciences college, enrolls about 1,500 students. Two political science majors at the college approved of Drugovich signing the letter.

Bobby Noto, 19, a sophomore from Amsterdam, applauded Drugovich’s initiative to take a position on a national issue and register the college among bigger institutions.

Colin Blydenburgh, 20, a junior from Ilion, said it was reassuring to see Drugovich stand up for students no matter what the public opinion or personal issues about gun control.

“She has the best interests of students at heart,’’ Blydenburgh said.

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