More than 350 presidents have signed the Dec. 19 letter initiated by Lawrence M. Schall, president of Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. On Feb. 4, at a media conference on Capitol Hill, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced his endorsement of the letter, which also has the backing of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the executive committee of the American Association of Universities, the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and the United States Student Association.
Drugovich, who said she was in Washington, D.C., for a scheduled meeting of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, joined about two dozen college chiefs and Duncan.
“As a group, we do not oppose gun ownership,’’ the letter by Schall said. “But, in many of our states, legislation has been introduced or passed that would allow gun possession on college campuses. We oppose such laws.
“We fully understand that reasonable gun safety legislation will not prevent every future murder. Identification and treatment of the mental health issues that lie beneath so many of the mass murders to which we increasingly bear witness must also be addressed.’’
As Drugovich has been stepping onto a national platform regarding gun control, Cuomo has initiated the state’s SAFE Act, described as most comprehensive gun law in the nation.
The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 will keep guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous mental health patients and ban high capacity magazines and assault weapons. Under the law, the criminal charge for possession of a firearm on school grounds or a school bus increases from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Though state law prohibits guns on campus, safety at Hartwick remains a concern that is addressed regularly in exercises in emergency scenarios, campus safety Director Thomas P. Kelly said. The college also offers sessions for any staff member and students based on the video “Run — Hide — Fight — Surviving an Active Shooter Event,’’ a program funded through a Department of Homeland Security grant.