Is this an appropriate activity for a public campus in Georgia? A gun raffle? On the anniversary of 9/11?
The Twitter announcement of the raffle by the University of North Georgia College Republicans is raising concern on social media.
Among the responses on Twitter:
-This is disturbing on every level.
-Maybe you will celebrate Patriots' Day when the Boston Marathon is run by raffling off pressure cookers and nails?
-My daughter is a UNG grad so we have positive campus memories. This is beyond repulsive, tone deaf & dangerous. What a public black mark against you.
The University of North Georgia said the raffle is allowed, and the College Republicans met the legal requirements to hold it on the Dahlonega campus.
“They are a recognized student organization. While this raffle will happen on campus today, the gun will not be on campus. My understanding is the winner will be given a voucher and be able to redeem the voucher at a gun store where the background check will be done,” said UNG spokeswoman Sylvia Carson.
Carson said the College Republicans met the legal requirements to hold a raffle. “The student organization has done all the paperwork and did what they needed to do in accordance with state law.”
Carson also then sent me the official statement:
The College Republicans at the University of North Georgia’s Dahlonega Campus are conducting a gun raffle to raise funds for their organization. While the drawing will take place this evening on campus, the weapon will not be on campus or handled by anyone on campus. The raffle winner will be provided a credential that they present at the gun shop to redeem their raffle winnings. The gun store will perform any compliance requirements for the transfer of ownership of the weapon, including a background check.
The student group is a recognized student organization at the University of North Georgia. The group was advised and has followed applicable laws related to raffles, guns on campus, and transfer of ownership for legal weapons.
While the group has not violated any University policy or law, we recognize the sensitivity related to this type of weapon and gun violence. As a public university, we believe a dynamic learning environment requires open dialog of factual information, critical thinking skills, and respect for viewpoints different than our own. As educators, this is one of the most valuable lessons we can teach our students.
This situation presents an opportunity for us to initiate conversations with our student affairs leaders and student organizations about future activities to ensure that they are consistent with the educational goals of the institution.