According to USA Today,
Universities in Georgia and Arkansas are in the process of a potential major change to their education systems. Georgia lawmakers have passed controversial legislation again to allow licensed gun owners to carry weapons on public college and university campuses over 21 years of age. The bill also includes allowing licensed gun owners the ability to carry their weapons in residential housing, fraternity and sorority housing, sporting events, and offices. Last year this bill was vetoed.
This is a very intense and serious topic that college students specifically are not afraid to voice their opinions to. Georgia governor, Nathan Deal, explained that colleges have been treated as a sanctuary place for learning and firearms should not be allowed. However, the regional director for students of campus carry, Robert Eagar, supports the new bill to come to Georgia campuses. Eagar believes that campus carry is needed in the future and can help college campuses become safer.
Although Eagar believed to have the right intentions, faculty and staff members, students, and family proclaimed their opinions as loud as they could. Social media reached the high end of the spectrum when the student body and surrounding supporters voiced their opinions online. Many of the main themes that the public was able to see online from students were “Students Don’t Want Guns”, “Governor Deal, Save the Veto”, and “HB280”.
A university professor posted an image of herself onto social media holding a sign that said, “I’m a professor and I adore my students, suicide risks go up 500% when firearms are present. Gov. Deal please SAVE THE VETO! Keep guns out of your classrooms and keep our students safe.” The professor also attached a number that one can text VETO to in order to join this movement.
Many people are concerned for the education system not only in Georgia, but also the possibility of anywhere else. A fellow Georgia student explained, “I’m worried about students walking around with guns that are sleep deprived and stressed. People don’t think well like that”. From a public relations perspective, it is obvious that this current event is extremely important and can be life altering. The students, faculty and staff, and surrounding community members did a great job
- using the advantage of the power of social media
- using the advantage of power in numbers.
Professors and students were voicing their opinions, protesting, and engaging their audience with an emotional appeal and personal testimony. They took on a huge public relations opportunity and are succeeding raising awareness and reaching a bigger audience. This is still an ongoing battle that the people of Georgia and Arkansas are battling, but this community will continue fight until the universities can be at peace.