The message from a Temple University police detective wasn’t subtle. If I carried a weapon on campus, I would be fired.
When I got the telephone call, I thought perhaps the police were following up on my harassment by a group of teenagers on campus—an incident I wrote about a few weeks ago.
The university sits in North Philadelphia, bordered by some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. So far, more than 300 murders have been committed over the past year, an increase of 8 percent.
Several times each week I receive text alerts about criminal activity in the area, warning me and others to stay away from incidents that usually involve a weapon. Also, a few years ago, Temple was deemed as No. 15 on the list of most dangerous college campuses, according to The Daily Beast. For more information, here are some data about the safety of universities in Philadelphia: https://billypenn.com/2017/08/21/which-philly-area-college-campus-is-the-safest-heres-what-the-numbers-say/
What’s particularly odd about the anti-weapon policy is that many public streets run through the campus, including Broad Street, one of the major avenues in the city.
It would appear that a non-Temple employee could carry a weapon on these streets despite the university prohibition. In fact, the incident I described occurred about 100 feet from a public street.
Moreover, the guns laws in Philadelphia are among the strictest in the country. It took me several weeks to obtain a permit, including an extensive background check.
Twelve states allow guns on college campuses. Twenty-two states, including Pennsylvania, allow guns on campus at the discretion of the university. Temple, for whatever reason, decided to ban weapons. For more information, see https://www.campussafetymagazine.com/university/list-of-states-that-allow-concealed-carry-guns-on-campus/
When I asked the detective who had provided information about my “intent” to carry a weapon, I was told that was confidential.
It’s interesting to me that my colleague, Marc Lamont Hill, is clinging to his job at Temple under the provisions of the First Amendment. Others, however, would lose their job if they claimed protection under the Second Amendment.
Finally, here’s a note to Temple University police: Please don’t contact me again. I don’t intend to carry a weapon on campus. But thanks for making me feel like the guilty party one more time.
Update DTG: Instalanche and a story well worth it. Christopher Harper is likely the most distinguished of our writers and his work deserves a lot more attention as does this disgrace at Temple U and if you think this site and our writers are still worth supporting after 10 years please consider kicking in here:
Or even better subscribing.
Either way it’s most appreciated.