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, he said, reiterating his stand against any laws that would allow non-police officers to carry weapons.
“No one can guarantee absolute safety,” Steward said. He 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,” Steward said.
Another issue he 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,” Steward said.
He 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.”
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 that 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 and it is very important to me,” Steward said.