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CU Faculty Chairman Says He’ll Stand in the Schoolhouse Door

The University of Colorado seems to be marching into the brave new world of state supreme court-enforced concealed carry on it Boulder campus with a progressive new separate-but-equal policy, at least where gun-owning students are concerned. What about classrooms, you ask? Plenty of profs would like nothing more than to ban gun toters from the halls of academe. But as reports, “Patrick O’Rourke, chief legal officer for the CU system, said professors cannot stop concealed-carry permit holders from bringing their guns into classrooms or labs.” Some educators , though, are saying, in effect, legal opinion be damned . . .

Chief among them is Boulder faculty assembly chairman and physics professor Jerry Peterson. He’s concerned about what might happen during the rough-and-tumble of academic debate that goes on in his classroom.

…(S)peaking for himself Monday, not the faculty group he leads — said he wants his students to feel safe to engage in classroom discussions that could be controversial.

If you’ve ever caught an episode of The Big Bang Theory, you know just how hot-blooded the topic of theoretical physics can get. And Peterson’s not taking any chances.

“My own personal policy in my classes is if I am aware that there is a firearm in the class — registered or unregistered, concealed or unconcealed — the class session is immediately canceled,” Peterson said. “I want my students to feel unconstrained in their discussions.”

But here’s (yet another) a mystery of the universe that needs unraveling: how will the professor know if a student who’s licensed to carry a concealed weapon (or one who isn’t for that matter) is actually packing heat during one of his illuminating lectures? Perhaps he’s developed a new unified firearm theory that will enable him to detect whether a gun theoretically exists in the spacetime occupied by his classroom. Fortunately CU has its best minds working on the problem.


  1. avatar Peter B says:

    I guess every class I went to would be cancelled, then. Good thing for him I’m not a student there.

  2. avatar Jeremy L. Knauff says:

    I would be sure to register for his class, just to screw his day up.

    1. avatar IdahoPete says:

      +1 – GREAT idea for an “occupy the classroom” protest. See how many classes this schmuck would cancel before the admin informed him he was out of a job.

      1. avatar Sanchanim says:

        Yeah get 20 or 30 students to open carry in to his class everyday. At some point he will just give up and figure out that he won’t be able to keep canceling his class all the time. I think if he cancels class he has to give everyone passing grades too since they showed up and he dismissed them. At least that was the policy in my college.
        A’s for every body!!!

    2. avatar Accur81 says:


      It’s peaceful and legal, and it’s all it would take to shut down an anti – 2A professor. It’s too bad we couldn’t shut down more unconstitutional drivel the same way…

  3. avatar Matt in FL says:

    “Hey, Matt, I’ve got a killer Calc exam tomorrow that I need to study for. Could you do me a favor and just yawn and stretch so your shirt rides up for a sec?”

    {class cancelled}

    “Thanks, man, I owe ya.”

    1. avatar BlinkyPete says:


      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        That was just for the lulz. I wouldn’t actually do that, if that needs to be said.

        Funny to think about, though.

        1. avatar BlinkyPete says:

          For the record, that was a genuine laugh on my part, and I assumed you wouldn’t use a firearm to defend yourself or a friend from math.

  4. avatar BlinkyPete says:

    And here’s why I love concealed carry. I’m not interested in stares, rolled eyes or political debates, and I don’t care much for rules in general. For that matter I don’t think school shooters do either.

    Packing to make a statement is like gay kiss-ins at chick fil-a. It doesn’t do a thing for the cause and makes the opposing side stronger. The students that carry heat should do it on the DL; they can accept this guy’s apologies and thanks when they perforate a school shooter.

    1. avatar Other Derek says:

      That same shrinking-violet fawning approach got us NFA ’34, GCA ’68, the Hughes Amendment, and an ATF that all but ignores the laws passed with FOPA ’86. No thanks, I’ll take direct confrontation and action.

      “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”–Barry Goldwater, one of the last great Republicans

      1. avatar BlinkyPete says:

        Extremism accomplishes exactly nothing. 20% are for us, 20% are against us and 60% are on the fence. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar my friend. Or at least that’s what I’ve heard.

        Also, this approach did not, despite your (popular?) belief, lead to the above legislation. Let’s do a quick run through history, shall we?

        The NFA of ’34 came on the heels of the repeal of prohibition. Now, we all know that with any sort of prohibition comes a massive rise in crime (we needn’t look any further than Mexico to see that). In an effort to cleanse America of gangsta violence in the wake of the Volstead acts passing, Congress sought to tightly regulate “gangster weapons”. This is a key example of an irrational response (villainizing guns), and one that came after a fairly rational one (ending prohibition). Nowhere in any texts concerning the matter does it say gun advocates hid behind their mothers skirts, it’s just that after so many years of violent, er, confrontation by gangsters Americans were susceptable to the sway of eager politicians.

        Likewise, the ’68 GCA came at a time when violence was on the rise, several high profile assassinations had taken place and support for gun control was near an all time high (if memory serves it was in ’58 or ’59 that i peaked). Again, none of this speaks to our approach at this time, it’s simply an assessment of the social and political environment at the time.

        Finally – as to the Hughes Ammendment – I’m sure we all know that this was sneaked into GOPA at the 11th hour (literally, the secret, unrecorded vote took place at almost midnight) by some unscrupulous individuals. Reagan asked the NRA if they’d like it vetoed and they declined. I guess they figured that broad and positive effect would outweigh the limited negative effect. I myself would love to register quite a few MG’s, but it doesn’t look like that’s in the cards for now.

        This brings us to present day – sales and ownership are at record highs while support for gun control and violent crime are at record lows. With almost 100 years of Federal gun control laws under our holsters, we can make compelling logical arguments for our points of view without, intentionally or not, appearing confrontational. Every time some idiot shows up to an Obama rally open carrying we all look like fringe lunatics. I don’t want to be seen as a fringe lunatic, I want to be seen as a good person who happens to own a gun, and could be in the right place at the wrong time and potentially save some lives from the next would be killer.

        1. avatar Other Derek says:

          Well you do whatever shrinking-violet thing you do, and I will continue to OC because that’s how we roll in Arizona. Sorry your state isn’t as free.

        2. avatar BlinkyPete says:

          Actually I live in NH; if you actually knew what you were talking about you’d be aware that we’ve always been a shall issue state; you guys just jumped on the band wagon in the past 15 or 20 years. If I want to experience unrestricted carry all I need to do is stroll to the left where anyone can “Vermont Carry”.

        3. avatar Other Derek says:

          And I’ve seen plenty of vids with people in NH being harassed by the police for OC. A Right not exercised is a Right lost.

          If I have to worry about harassment by PD for exercising a Right, then obviously it’s not a Right yet in the eyes of the PD.

          It seems the only way to educate the PD is by confronting and suing. The stick is much more effective than the carrot, unfortunately.

  5. avatar Jfoster says:

    Because he knows what’s best.

    What a coward.

  6. avatar surlycmd says:

    Jerry Peterson’s comments reflects his mindset. If a heated discussion doesn’t go your way, resort to violence. He is projecting his view on to his students. IMHO.

    1. avatar Silver says:

      Nail on the head.

    2. avatar Chas says:

      A spot-on assessment.

  7. avatar Sid says:

    Quit joking about this. I was in a Physics class when a discussion of “what Penny’s surname is” turned into a heated argument. Then, Dr. Hofstadter tried to use his laser as a weapon but Dr. Cooper began using mindpowers to explode heads. It got ugly then it got violent. If Egon had not had his proton excelerator, I don’t know if we would have made it out alive.

    Y’all need to quit making light of the true danger of a physics lecture.

  8. avatar Loyd says:

    In Georgia, I wish I had the opportunity to prompt this debate with profs. But alas, no, state law mandates that universities are gun free (but I can still keep one in the car).

  9. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    Seems to remind me of the way back machine…1935 or 1936? Jews? Europe? None of them in or in front of the classrooms?

    As a vaunted Professor of Physics he should spend an afternoon researching the history of his field. MORON….he should be flogged just for being forgetful…SHAME ON HIM. SHAME ON HIM. SHAME ON HIM.

  10. avatar jwm says:

    reminds me of the temper tantrum george wallace threw on the steps of the school when the courts said he had to end segregation in the schools. george and the prof are cut from the same cloth, civil rights deniers both.

  11. avatar Bryan says:

    I thought we figured out back in the 60’s that separate but equal does not work? Since when is it “progressive”?

    1. avatar Silver says:

      Hypocrisy is the hallmark of progressivism. Every political party and every group out there partake in hypocrisy, but progressives have made it an art.

      1. avatar surlycmd says:

        Well said… or written.

      2. avatar Don says:

        Absurd statements like this are amusing and illustrative of the degree of control the old boys club has over everyone’s thinking.

        I’m sure people who are progressive according to the dictionary definition in the context of politics didn’t think “hey let me make up a new ideology called “progressivism” and it’s main features will be hypocrisy and taking rich people’s money”. Just like people who are conservative according to the dictionary definition in the context of politics didn’t think “hey let me make up a new ideology called “conservatism” and its main features will be racism and killing poor people.” Totally absurd. There aren’t enough instances of sociopathy to make such generalizations of groups even possible of being remotely accurate.

        Who sits around twiddling their thumbs thinking “I really aspire to be a hypocritical racist who steals from the rich and kills the poor” so I’m going to make up some group defined by these things? No one.

        But people think that exists… why? When some fictional “enemy” is defined for you through the filter of ideological leaders who will tell you anything that will resonate with your baser instincts to get elected or get you to listen to their advertisers, of course everyone looks like some caricature of evil. The utilization of that fictional enemy is to control YOU. I don’t care what political pole you subscribe to, it’s all the same and they all do it, get you riled up when they need you to be, console you when they don’t need you to be, forgive your sins, convince you to do more for/with less, so some other guy pulling strings can do less with/for more, create fictionalizations of the opposition to cement your resolve, and to socially separate you from the opposition so that you won’t ever discover that you’re not actually different, and your biggest common ground is you’re all being had by the same old boys club.

        1. avatar Michael B. says:

          I’m very different from the authoritarian statists, thank you.

        2. avatar Silver says:

          Wow, comprehension fail. Yeah, I was really suggesting that people consciously decided to make hypocrisy part of their value system. (that was sarcasm in case you missed that too)

          I don’t even know what you’re trying to say. That all political parties practice hypocrisy? Yes, I said that. And I assert that progressives are more hypocritical than most, which I still believe. And when I say “progressives” I refer to the mindset and ideology, not any political party.

          Are you suggesting that people are all every bit alike? Sorry, BS. There are decent people and indecent people, moral people and immoral people, murderers and pacifists. You don’t need politics to divide people: it’s a tool to manipulate the divisiveness, not create it.

        3. avatar Don says:

          Nah, I comprehended correctly. You said “hypocrisy is the hallmark of progressivism” which suggests that you believe progressivism (the ideology not the party) is more hypocritical than average. Then I said that is an absurd thing to believe and explained how ideological leaders use fictitious evil caricatures of the opposition to manipulate people, and maybe that’s how you got some unrealistic notion of what progressivism is (according to which progressivism seems hypocritical, hence your original statement).

          Also, no I am not saying everyone is every bit alike. That would be an absolutist statement which would defy the complexity and variation observable in people, and such absolutist statements are trivially proven false by furnishing but one counterexample, and therforehave no meaning.

  12. avatar GS650G says:

    So Jerry Peterson thinks a “heated discussion” in his class would turn deadly if a CCW holder was carrying? Does Jerry realize permit holders are the most law abiding members of society? How heated does a physics class get? Are we talking overt political rants and other off topic conversations?

    Note to anyone paying tuition at CU: It might be time to look for another venue.

  13. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

    “My own personal policy in my classes is if I am aware that there is a firearm in the class — registered or unregistered, concealed or unconcealed — the class session is immediately canceled…”
    In order to make such a threat, Mr. Peterson had better be damned certain that he is prepared not only to cancel every session of every class this coming semester, but to also deal with the personal and professional consequences of such a decision. As I am almost certain that he is not, I suggest calling his bluff. Every class session.

    1. avatar Silver says:

      Like any child-minded anti, he’s just throwing a tantrum because he can’t get his way.

  14. avatar Greg Camp says:

    So will the National Guard have to be called out to escort people legally carrying handguns into classes, or will the local police do that job?

    But I have to wonder why the quoted professor has so little control of his emotions and actions that he fears someone using a gun as a conversational tool. Perhaps we in the English department are just more relaxed.

    1. avatar speedracer5050 says:

      Now Greg you as a teacher should know that he is simply afraid someone would finally figure outta the Magic Kennedy Bullet Theory was bull hockey all along and if they did it in his class he would receive a late night visit from the Secret Stasi Police and b forever lost in the shuffle!!!
      Of course it could happen in the English class too!!! I can see it now: “Romeo oh Romeo, where fore art thou Romeo??? ” Right here Juliet….you cheating two timing wench!!!! Bang Bang!!!
      Thus ends the saga of Romeo and Juliet in Harlem!!!!!

    2. avatar Will says:

      Perhaps he’s afraid that he may be found out. That is perhaps he is one of those professors that will ignore any and all evidence that his favorite theory is nothing more than just a theory, and not the fact he preaches. Perhaps he’s afraid that is personal bias on fact in the classroom will be found out. Perhaps he’s afraid that his staunch policy of an F for everything that doesn’t match what he teaches, the way he teaches it will draw ire from someone unstable.

      ANY of these reasons could be why this guy is so afraid of a gun in his classroom. Then again, it could be some other reason, such as he has a fear, if not deep paranoia, of guns and those who possess them. As long as he doesn’t tell, we can only speculate.

  15. avatar Ralph says:

    Professors are above the law and have been endowed by their tenure with certain unalienable rights, that among these are running their classes with the heavy hand of a Russian autocrat, to pat down the student body when they enter the classroom and to act at all times as if they have a bad case of the cramps.

    1. avatar great unknown says:

      Of course, the Sovereign State of Colorado may decide to drastically reduce their support for the University.

      Step b. The University sues, claiming that under its constitution, the State is required to fund a State University.

      Step c. Colorado does not even reply to the suit, instead opening and funding a new State University, with stricter rules on who would be allowed to teach at said University, a strict bill of rights for students, and with the ability of the Legislature to override tenure and fire any administrator by majority vote.

      Why is it that only lefties know how to use the legal system like a bludgeon?

  16. avatar Levi B says:

    Sounds like an easy A!

  17. avatar Mr. Lion says:

    What? A blowhard professor in academia who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else? Unpossible!

  18. avatar Silver says:

    Another anti emanating massive projection. Just because he’s so emotionally and mentally insecure that he subconsciously believes he would shoot someone in a heated argument doesn’t mean everyone’s as dysfunctional as him. Further proof that antis are, deep down if push comes to shove, far more violent and dangerous than everyday gun owners.

    I would feel “safe and secure” in a classroom if I was carrying, and if others were carrying. Why is my safety and security any less important than that of the sheep who would get the vapors at the sight of an inanimate object?

    Oh, right, I forgot…to progressives, anyone who disagrees with them is a second class citizen.

    Here’s to hoping he gets plenty of carriers in his class.

    1. avatar Don says:

      “Another anti emanating massive projection. Just because he’s so emotionally and mentally insecure that he subconsciously believes he would shoot someone in a heated argument doesn’t mean everyone’s as dysfunctional as him. Further proof that antis are, deep down if push comes to shove, far more violent and dangerous than everyday gun owners.”

      This is likely truth. I wish someone would study it.

  19. avatar Elliotte says:

    “But here’s (yet another) a mystery of the universe that needs unraveling: how will the professor know if a student who’s licensed to carry a concealed weapon (or one who isn’t) is actually packing heat during one of his illuminating lectures? Perhaps he’s developed a new unified firearm theory that will enable him to detect whether a gun theoretically exists in the spacetime occupied by his classroom. Fortunately CU has its best mind working on the problem.”

    You’ve heard of “gaydar” right? Well this prof seems to have discovered or invented “gundar” to ferret out those evil firearms.

  20. avatar Sam C says:

    If I was able to do so, I’d sign up for his class and open carry every time I walk in.

  21. avatar Aharon says:

    Academia, like government, behaves as if it above the law or a special class community. Like so many others that I won’t mention academia wants others to obey the law yet does not want those same rules applied to itself.

    If a prof will dismiss his class if students are carrying then that prof must not be paid and ideally fired. “CU Faculty Chairman Says He’ll Stand in the Schoolhouse Door”. That image recalled to mind a southern governor who decades ago stood in the doorway to bar black students from entering a predominately white high school. In both cases we are talking a violation of ethics and the rights of American citizens.

  22. avatar racer88 says:

    Concealed means concealed. Case closed.

  23. avatar tomrkba says:

    “My own personal policy in my classes is if I am aware that there is a firearm in the class — registered or unregistered, concealed or unconcealed — the class session is immediately canceled,” Peterson said. “I want my students to feel unconstrained in their discussions.”

    This is a civil rights violation that would lead to discrimination against those engaging in their right to bear arms.

  24. avatar tomrkba says:

    Peterson is a state employee. He has no power whatsoever to violate state law and a state supreme court decision.

    He should be disciplined by the administration. If he continues to discriminate against law abiding gun owners, then he should be fired.

    Let’s use “PC” against them!

  25. avatar Kendahl says:

    As a physicist, I used to belong to the American Physical Society which is the professional organization for physicists. I quit after they refused to speak out against the Russian government’s persecution of physicist Andrei Sakharov but did speak out against Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative.

    As far as Boulder and its university are concerned, it is what you would get if you moved Berkeley, California and its university 1,000 miles east.

    Although there are exceptions, universities like to pretend they are an oasis of peace and reason in a violent, irrational world. When this turns out not to be the case, they cover it up to maintain appearances. Penn State is just the most recent example.

  26. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    I suggest Jerry and counsel of his choosing familiarize themselves intimately with Section II(D)(1)(e)(2) of the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate of University of Colorado entitled “Dismisal for Cause”:

  27. avatar TD says:

    First off, physics sucks, can’t remember actually staying awake through a physics lecture…. Second, I agree that concealed means concealed, but I’d happily wear a T-shirt to class every day that says in big bold letters “I’m carrying a concealed weapon” whether I happened to be carrying or not. Wear a hoodie over it all day, walk to the front, take the hoodie off, sit down… good times!

    1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

      “First off, physics sucks”
      Huh?! Physical laws are the reason your gun works the way it does.

      1. avatar TD says:

        I’m cool with the concepts of physics and enjoyed lab a lot, but have you ever taken a college level physics course? Some of the worst lectures I’ve ever had….

        1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

          I’m a mechanical engineer. I ate, slept and breathed physics for four years 😉

        2. avatar racer88 says:

          My favorite classes in college. Aced both semesters. 🙂

      2. avatar Sid says:

        If they vote to repeal the Physical Laws will my handgun still work?

        1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

          Since the universe gives not one fvck what people think, yes. The physical laws are not subject to a vote.

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          Hans Bethe debated a post-modern literature professor at Cornell. The Prof made the statement that the laws of physics are merely social constructs. Bethe then suggested he test out the proposition by standing in the middle of the street to see if two objects really could occupy the same space at the same time.

  28. avatar tdiinva says:

    I hope there are more like him at CU. I am retiring in 37 days and would love to go to Colorado and rent myself out as the “hired gun.” I figure that since most CU students and staff would rather toke up then go to class I could make a lot of money.

  29. avatar TD says:

    That didn’t take long, good for the Chancellor for having more sense than his employees on this!

  30. avatar Mark says:

    “I want my students to feel unconstrained in their discussions.”
    Only a liberal idiot would think that non-criminals don’t have the sense to keep their safety equipment holstered in the absence of an immediate, life-threatening emergency. The professor is projecting his own feelings of inadequacy to control himself and that makes me question his fitness as an employee of an institution which primarily serves impressionable young people.

  31. avatar Greg Camp says:

    There appears to be some confusion here as to what academic freedom means. As far as I understand the subject, it means that I can express my opinions within the context of the subject that I’m teaching without fear of being fired for doing so. It does not mean that I get to harrass students. It does not mean that I can decide to cancel class on a whim. I would not have the authority to fail a student who wore a headscarf. On the same line of reasoning, under Colorado’s ruling, I’d have to accept a student who was carrying a handgun–concealed would make more sense, but we’ll see how that turns out. In my case, I’d be carrying one too, so there’d be no problem with that.

  32. avatar Sanchanim says:

    This could very easily turn into a class action lawsuit against the professor and also the school.
    Reality is if the school gets sued they will promptly fire the professor and allow students to carry under the law. It will be much cheaper than trying to go to trial.

  33. avatar Ceefour says:

    He can stop honest American citizens because they are honest,law abiding citizens. He won’t,however, stop the monsters out there who just don’t care. I remember the comment by that school official at Virginia Tech who said that we all can feel safe now that firearms will not be allowed on campus. And then…disaster. If that weasel had any honor he have committed seppuku.

  34. avatar Scott says:

    I am a professor, and I think the fear that someone will get so irate during a debate they will go on a shooting spree is preposterous. Is there any documented case of a fight breaking out over a class debate? Am I missing something?

    1. avatar Other Derek says:

      You are possibly missing a crippling case of hoplophobia coupled with a heaping helping of immaturity.

      1. avatar Scott says:

        That must be it… guess taking my vitamins payed off.

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