President talks campus business with student leaders

December 4, 2015 Latest, News Print Print
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TLC guns on campus resolution 2015

The Leadership Council, OCCC’s student council, passed a resolution Nov. 19 opposing legislation that would allow guns to be carried on campus by anyone other than campus police.TLC has passed the same resolution for five years in a row. President Jerry Steward also is against guns on campus. “It’s a recipe for disaster,” he said.

Student leaders heard college President Jerry Steward warn about the potential danger of guns on campus during The Leadership Council meeting Oct. 30.

Three weeks later TLC passed a resolution opposing legislation that would allow guns to be carried by anyone other than campus police.

TLC has passed the same resolution for five years in a row.

Steward noted that in the past year there have been 23 shootings on school campuses.

He alerted TLC members to the likelihood that legislation will be introduced once again to permit the carrying of weapons on college campuses in Oklahoma.

Letting people carry guns on campus would not make students safe, Steward said, reiterating his stand against any laws that would allow non-police officers to carry weapons.

“No one can guarantee absolute safety,” he said.

Steward also explained that next year, in Texas, legislation is going to allow people to carry guns on campus. The result, he argued, is that students will be “fundamentally less safe.”

“It’s a recipe for disaster,” he said.

Another issue Steward talked about is school funding. He said it is likely state funds to OCCC will be reduced.

“If we do have these cuts, we should discuss what we should keep and what we should get rid of, and doing so will be a challenge,” he said.

Steward said he wants the students to feel safe and welcome at the school.

The president told his own life story, saying he faced many of the same struggles OCCC students are going through.

He was born and raised in poverty and became a father at just 18 years old.

After he graduated from high school, he went to the University of Central Oklahoma and received his bachelor’s degree. Later he earned a law degree from the University of Oklahoma.

“Education was a ticket out of poverty,” Steward said. “It saved me.”

Steward said he began his career as a public school teacher before getting his law degree.

Before coming to OCCC full time, he was the senior partner in a law firm he established.

Later, while serving as the college’s attorney, Steward was a part of the political science faculty, teaching American Federal Government.

“The best part of my job is to work with the students. It is very important to me.”

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