Colo. profs told to allow concealed guns in class

University of Colorado Boulder AP GraphicsBank

Updated at 3:46 p.m. ET

(CBS News) The chancellor of Colorado's flagship university has threatened disciplinary action against teachers who cancel classes if their students bring legally concealed weapons.

Philip DiStefano, chancellor of the University of Colorado's Boulder campus, sent the warning to the school's faculty members in an email Tuesday, according to a copy the university provided to CBSNews.com. DiStefano sent the warning after the school's faculty chairman, Jerry Peterson, told Boulder newspaper The Daily Camera Monday that he would cancel class if he found out students with concealed-carry permits brought their weapons to class.

"I have the utmost respect for Professor Peterson, who is an old friend and valued colleague, but I want to make clear that if the student carrying the weapon has a concealed carry permit, the position implied by Professor Peterson's comments directly violates Colorado law and the operating principles of the campus," DiStefano says in the e-mail. "Faculty do not have the right to shut down a class or to refuse to teach merely because a student in that class is carrying a handgun under a concealed carry permit."

DiStefano's email was first reported by the Camera.

The Boulder campus is about 30 miles away from Aurora, Colo., the Denver suburb where last month a gunman opened fire on a crowded movie theater, killing 12 and injuring 58. James Holmes awaits trial on multiple murder charges after being arrested outside the theater wearing assault gear. All of the weapons seized from the site of the massacre were obtained legally.

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DiStefano's warning comes as the university adjusts its campus gun policies after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that concealed-carry permit holders could bring handguns on college campuses, so long as the weapons remain concealed. Only law enforcement officers are allowed to openly display their weapons on campuses as long as they also display their badges.

Last week, the school announced that concealed-carry permit holders living in undergraduate residence halls could not keep their weapons there.

The university says its gun policies affect a small percentage of its faculty, staff and students. The school conducted an analysis and found that only 0.6 percent of them have concealed-carry permits. The school said 96 percent of its undergraduate students are younger than the minimum legal age of 21 to apply, and about half of the remaining 4 percent work as resident advisers in the dormitories.

  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for CBSNews.com

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