For colleges that must implement a new campus carry law, [Agnes Scott College President Elizabeth] Kiss, also a member of the Duke University board of trustees, said trustees can play a significant role, especially when it comes to understanding, preparing for, and mitigating risk. Trustees, she said, can help leverage discussions about campus carry to address broader safety issues related to gun violence, such as access to student mental health and suicide prevention services.
“Trustees have a critical role in risk management and in helping institutions be strategic about the risks they may face, whether it be health and safety, financial, or reputational,” she said. “All the risks that campuses need to be savvy about—[trustees] can help [officials] take a proactive and strategic approach.”
Calculating any additional safety risk that comes with campus carry is not cut and dried. Campus carry laws are still relatively young and their impact is not fully explored. On campus gun violence in general, a 2016 report from the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City found that college gun violence nationwide grew from 12 incidents during the 2010–11 school year to almost 30 during the 2015–16 school year. The report reviewed 190 incidents at 142 colleges in which at least one person was intentionally shot, excluding the shooter, on the campus of a two- or four-year college, as well as incidents happening within two miles of campus. The increase was “most profound,” the report stated, in states that expanded gun access.