Christine Brashier's follow-up e-mail to Deans Burns & Snider
April 24, 2009
Dear Deans Burns & Snider,
My name is Christine Brashier. I met with you in the office of Student Development at around 1:30 today and would like to ensure that I have the facts straight.
I received a message and returned a call to Dean Snider, whom I hold in the utmost regard from being an excellent pre-algebra teacher last semester. The content of this call was that the Dean's office would like to speak to me about fliers I had been distributing. I specifically asked if I was in any "trouble" and was told that I wasn't, but that certain rules needed to be officially explained to me.
When I came to the office I waited about 20 minutes before being called, by my nickname (Christa) usually only used by my friends, by Dean Burns into an office where both Dean Burns and Dean Snider spoke to me.
Earlier this semester, in an attempt to find members/officers to complete my application for recognition as a student organization for SCCC, I created a full color tri-fold brochure and matching stickers at my own expense. I handed these out personally to students with whom I had opened discussion about the topic of concealed carry on campus, under the impression that this was not in violation of student conduct.
During today's meeting you alerted me that I have violated student conduct. You both insisted that passing out these pamphlets is solicitation, which is not allowed on campus. I retorted that it was not solicitation due to the fact that I am not attempting to "sell" anything, and you answered that it was solicitation because I was trying to sell people on the idea of this organization. I answered that getting people to register to vote, or sign a petition would not be solicitation and you told me that this would also not be allowed on campus but only out on the street in front of the campus. I argued that army recruiters run rampant throughout the college giving out pamphlets and other material. You said that they have either gotten permission from the administration to do so or else, when discovered, are asked to leave.
You also told me that having the name of your school on anything which the administration has not recognized and endorsed is illegal - that "Community College of Allegheny Campus" must be removed from everything not created by the college; and you specifically insisted that I must destroy every copy of this pamphlet, or other related information, in my possession or anywhere else that I may know of. You asked me how many copies of the pamphlet I had made, and I answered that honestly I did not know. You highlighted the name of the college on the copy of the pamphlet in your possession and placed it in a manilla folder. (I would like to know what that folder was) I was told that literature of any kind passed out to students must be approved by the college administration, and that content of this nature (presumably regarding firearms, but certainly anything bearing the name of the college which was not created by the college) would not be approved.
When asked why I was distributing these pamphlets I answered that I simply wanted an open forum for discussion and debate on this topic (the right to carry a concealed firearm on campus) to which Dean Burns replied "You may want to discuss this topic but the college does not, and you cannot make us." When asked if I knew how serious this was I replied "Very serious, it is one of the most important issues to me."
I was questioned on how I came to learn of this group (Students for Concealed Carry on Campus), what my intent was, and why I had not shown the flier to the administration for approval before handing them out. I explained that I had already known about SCCC for some time and met other Campus Leaders for other colleges in the area and that when I enrolled as a student I went to their website (Dean Burns asked me who and I replied the SCCC website at concealedcampus.org) to join CCAC's SCCC club only to find that there was not one, after which I signed up to be the Campus Leader to try to start one. My intent is to spread information; I specified that I absolutely did not intend to break any campus rules/policies or laws of any kind. I had not shown the flier to administration because I did not believe it was necessary to do so unless I was trying to have it placed on a bulletin board or in a public area. I also informed you that I had shown the flier to SCCC's state coordinator/the University of Pittsburgh's Campus Leader (Sam Gupta) who not only approved it but requested a copy, with my information removed and his in place of it, so that he could distribute it as well.
Dean Burns pointed to a picture in the flyer of a student holding a gun and asked me who it was. I answered that it was a picture found on the internet of a University of Utah student with her firearm in her dorm room, since they have recently changed the laws in Utah to allow concealed carry on campus - I thought this was a positive example of a University following state law which allows concealed carry on state property.
I was then questioned as to whether or not I own a licensed firearm, to which I responded that I do and that I have a CCW issued by the state of Pennsylvania. When asked if I had ever brought it (the gun) to school, I replied that of course I had not as that was against state law and school policy. I was then asked if I carry concealed when not at college, I said that I sometimes do. The seriousness of the consequences should I ever carry it onto school property was stressed and reiterated. I told you, again, that I am not trying to break rules, I am trying to open discussion to think about changing the rules. You asked me if I disagreed with school policy, I said that I did; at least to the point where I wanted to be able to discuss these things freely with other students, faculty, parents, etc. In response to which I was told to stop doing so without the permission of the administration.
Dean Burns said "We have over 4,000 students, it would be a disaster to allow them to have guns, do you understand how serious this is?" and asked "Have you ever considered alternate means of self defense?" to which I replied that I had taken years of martial arts which could not protect me against an armed assailant.
I was told to cease all activities related to this (my involvement with SCCC on CCAC campus) because of the gravity of the situation, that "academic misconduct" of this nature would not be tolerated, and that as long as I had an understanding of that I could leave - which was the end of the meeting. I hope you will not take this e-mail confirmation as evidence of further misconduct, I am simply trying to get the facts straight.
Do I have this correct? If not, please feel free to reply with any corrections you may have. If I receive no reply within 3 days I will assume that my account of this meeting is accurate and that you do not disagree or have further input on the matter.