The University of Wyoming has been served by 23 presidents across its 126-year history.
Sidebar Site Navigation
1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82071
UW President Tom Buchanan
Tom Buchanan's career in higher education has spanned more than 35 years, as a student, teacher, and administrator. At the University of Wyoming, he began service as an assistant professor in the Department of Geography rising through the faculty ranks to full professor. Buchanan has held various administrative positions including department head, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and vice president for academic affairs. On July 1, 2005, he was appointed the 23rd president of the University of Wyoming. Read more.
President Buchanan's Letter to the Wyoming House of Representatives
January 31, 2013
To the Members of the Wyoming House of Representatives:
As the president of the University of Wyoming, as an educator, and as a parent, I wish to convey my concerns about HB 105, which would allow guns on our campus, in our classrooms and residence halls, and at our sporting events.
Although advocates for the bill argue that allowing firearms could enhance individual and collective security on campus and deter violence, in fact, weapons on campus will pose increased risks for students and faculty, will not deter future attacks, and will lead to confusion during emergency situations:
- The dynamics of college life, including stress, social obstacles, alcohol use, and other reckless behavior, when overlapped with weapons, can have potentially lethal consequences for all people in the campus community. As part of their jobs, UW faculty challenge student thinking and sometimes deliver unwelcome news. Firearms in the classroom will have a chilling effect and unacceptable impact on education.
- UW facilities include those used for pre-school childcare, an elementary school, and a junior high school. We are concerned for the safety of those young people, who like our college students, have lives of promise ahead of them.
- Athletic events usually arouse strong reactions from fans. Permitting spectators to carry firearms at University events will attract the attention of the NCAA, will likely discourage teams from playing in Laramie, and will enable the worst possible fan behavior.
- UW has a carefully developed and well-practiced emergency response plan that is designed to save and protect lives. Students or university staff in possession of weapons are not trained or integrated into our campus security plan. Even with the best of intentions, armed students or employees could escalate an already explosive situation , accidentally cause harm, or use a gun in a situation that is not warranted. Law enforcement officers could mistake an armed student, employee, or guest for the attacker during a situation in which quick judgments are required.
Ensuring the safety of our students, employees, and guests is my top priority. This legislation deprives the institution of the ability to reduce risks and increase safety by setting reasonable restriction on firearms.
I therefore respectfully ask lawmakers to consider carefully all consequences, both intended and unintended, of allowing firearms on our university campus. Thank you for your consideration.