According to a September 2015 Association of American Universities study, one in four females who spend four years at a college have been sexually assaulted.
When will Pennsylvania allow its young women to protect themselves on campus?
It’s not as if the Pennsylvania higher education system isn’t aware of the problem.
During freshman orientation at any of the Pennsylvania state System of Higher Education universities, students are immediately inundated with information about the realities of sexual assault on college campuses.
As my time at my state university continued, I saw even more attention being given to sexual assault.
There were posters being hung around the buildings telling students where to call if they had been assaulted and more support groups forming to help mend those who had been taken advantage of.
But one important point was always missing from these official discussions on ending campus assaults.
With such a prevalent issue effecting campuses across the nation including Pennsylvania, why doesn’t the state System of Higher Education have a uniform policy on whether students are allowed to legally carry a concealed weapon for self-defense?
Right now, weapons policies vary from campus to campus. System officials began debating a unified weapons policy in 2014, but never adopted one. And there are no plans to revive the debate, a spokesman confirmed this week.
Let students carry a concealed firearm for defense at state-funded universities.
The arguments on both sides of the gun debate have been discussed, laid out, and mulled over countless times.
But my constitutional right to defend myself while attending a sexual assault breeding ground does not turn null because of these arguments.
With the threat of sexual assault, it can be frightening to be on a college campus, but one must face the reality of these situations.
Especially as a young female who is unable to physically defend herself against someone larger or stronger, carrying a concealed firearm gives students the peace-of-mind they deserve to know that they are safe.
Pennsylvanians can legally carry a concealed firearm most places in our state, which makes the ban on a college campus even more scary.
Perpetrators know that college campuses are unarmed, therefore the students become the defenseless victims.
When students, especially women, are able to defend themselves and are trained and knowledgeable, they are creating a freer environment on college campuses.
The freedom to explore one’s campus, regardless of time of day, and to know it is safe because of the ability to defend one’s self against any perpetrator is empowering.
When a victim can’t scream loud enough for someone to hear or fight back against a perpetrator twice their size, brandishing and, God-forbid, firing a concealed firearm may be the only way to save themselves from this horrific encounter.
Pennsylvania should take a cue from Utah: Let students carry a concealed firearm for defense at state-funded universities.