Student says CCAC is trying to thwart gun advocacy group

By May 28, 2009

A Community College of Allegheny County student yesterday publicly accused the school of trying to stop her from organizing a group advocating the right to carry concealed firearms on campus.

Christine “Christa” Brashier, 24, of Squirrel Hill, who is studying to be an elementary school teacher, said she feels unsafe on the school’s Allegheny campus and would like the right to carry a gun while on school property.

Ms. Brashier yesterday said she was trying to organize a CCAC chapter of the national group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus when she was summoned to a meeting April 24 with student development staff.

She said she was told her efforts amounted to “soliciting,” was ordered to destroy fliers she had created and warned she risked sanctions if she pursued the matter further on campus without the administration’s OK.

Ms. Brashier contends that Yvonne Burns, a dean of student development at CCAC, told her during the meeting that, “You may want to discuss this topic but the college does not, and you cannot make us.”

“I think I’m being deprived of a great many things,” Ms. Brashier said in a phone interview. “Clearly my right to free speech is being infringed upon.”

Reached at home last evening, Ms. Burns referred questions on the matter to the college.

David Hoovler, a spokesman for CCAC, declined to respond to Ms. Brashier’s specific allegations, saying the issues raised by the student and the advocacy group representing her — Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education — are under review by the college and the Allegheny County solicitor.

“Pending the full response, two brief points may be mentioned,” the school said in a statement. “First, the student who was advocating creation of the group has never faced any disciplinary action from CCAC and remains in good standing at the college.”

The statement also said the student is welcome to follow appropriate CCAC procedures to seek recognition of the proposed group.

“CCAC does not have any intention to limit the student’s involvement in the group or her ability to discuss her own political viewpoint.”

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Schools: Community College of Allegheny County