Roughly 94 percent of faculty members did not favor anyone carrying concealed handguns on college campuses, according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Community Health that questioned nearly 800 faculty members in a random sample of 15 state universities. The majority of these faculty members (98 percent) felt that handguns created more risk for students and staff.Competition for academic jobs is at an all-time high, as the academy has produced far more Ph.D.s than it is prepared to consume as new professors. Liberal faculties are disinclined to hire conservatives. As concealed and open carry on campus flourishes, however, it may be that more conservative states will see their academy's faculty shifting to the right. I would not have any problems teaching legally armed students.
In fact, at UT Austin, more than 400 faculty members have signed a petition to “refuse guns in their classrooms.”
“If people feel there might be a gun in the classroom, students have said that it makes them feel like they would be much more hesitant to raise controversial issues,” UT history professor and petition organizer Joan Neuberger told Daily Kos. “The classroom is a very special place, and it needs to be a safe place, and that means safe from guns.”
Dr. Chad Kautzer, assistant professor in the philosophy department at University of Colorado at Denver, knows this feeling all too well.
Kautzer, along with other faculty members, led the petition against the university in 2012 to ban concealed weapons from being allowed on state campuses. Despite having support from “a vast majority of faculty” and being unanimously endorsed by the university’s School of Medicine, the petition was unsuccessful in the state House.
This would be good for the health of the academy, as well as the health of society. Though I am not a professor or teacher, I did recently cover a class for an Orthodox Jewish friend who needed to observe one of the very many Jewish holidays this time of year. I was teaching book three of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, which is the book that treats the virtue of courage. It's a text that is completely relevant to the questions of carrying arms in defense of a common society, which is the reason you might be lawfully carrying arms on campus: because you've thought through the threat of active shooters on campus, and have decided to be one of the ones who is prepared to do something about it. This book will help them in their thinking.
First Aristotle prepares you for the discussion of the particular virtues by laying out a general issue about what the ends of action are.
That wish is for the end has already been stated; some think it is for the good, others for the apparent good. Now those who say that the good is the object of wish must admit in consequence that that which the man who does not choose aright wishes for is not an object of wish (for if it is to be so, it must also be good; but it was, if it so happened, bad); while those who say the apparent good is the object of wish must admit that there is no natural object of wish, but only what seems good to each man. Now different things appear good to different people, and, if it so happens, even contrary things.With that setup, how surprising that the first virtue to be considered is courage, which Aristotle formally associates with the fear of death in war.
If these consequences are unpleasing, are we to say that absolutely and in truth the good is the object of wish, but for each person the apparent good; that that which is in truth an object of wish is an object of wish to the good man, while any chance thing may be so the bad man, as in the case of bodies also the things that are in truth wholesome are wholesome for bodies which are in good condition, while for those that are diseased other things are wholesome- or bitter or sweet or hot or heavy, and so on; since the good man judges each class of things rightly, and in each the truth appears to him? For each state of character has its own ideas of the noble and the pleasant, and perhaps the good man differs from others most by seeing the truth in each class of things, being as it were the norm and measure of them. In most things the error seems to be due to pleasure; for it appears a good when it is not. We therefore choose the pleasant as a good, and avoid pain as an evil.
With what sort of terrible things, then, is the brave man concerned? Surely with the greatest; for no one is more likely than he to stand his ground against what is awe-inspiring. Now death is the most terrible of all things; for it is the end, and nothing is thought to be any longer either good or bad for the dead. But the brave man would not seem to be concerned even with death in all circumstances, e.g. at sea or in disease. In what circumstances, then? Surely in the noblest. Now such deaths are those in battle; for these take place in the greatest and noblest danger. And these are correspondingly honoured in city-states and at the courts of monarchs. Properly, then, he will be called brave who is fearless in face of a noble death, and of all emergencies that involve death; and the emergencies of war are in the highest degree of this kind....So the good man pursues the true end, not just the apparent end, and it is characteristic of the good man that he gets it right. This end will be the truth of pleasure and avoiding pain. And what the good man will choose, in the face of the terrors of war, is to do nobly in the face of death.
What is terrible is not the same for all men; but we say there are things terrible even beyond human strength. These, then, are terrible to every one- at least to every sensible man; but the terrible things that are not beyond human strength differ in magnitude and degree, and so too do the things that inspire confidence. Now the brave man is as dauntless as man may be. Therefore, while he will fear even the things that are not beyond human strength, he will face them as he ought and as the rule directs, for honour's sake; for this is the end of virtue.
That seems surprising, does it not? After all, if one avoids death in war, one can pursue all of one's true ends -- and all of one's apparent goods -- in a way that dying at war will foreclose. Why, then, is courage in the face of death such a great virtue that Aristotle mentions it first of all, thereby making it the standard by which all other virtues will be measured?
It is because doing nobly in war in the face of death is an absolute necessity for a free life, not only for you but for your fellow citizens. All the goods that can only be realized in a free society will be lost if that society lacks defenders. The good you are pursuing by being brave in the face of terrible death is the true good for yourself and for all your fellow citizens, because it is the only way by which you can realize freedom and a civilization that protects it. The life of virtuous activity, the life of contemplation, these things are unavailable to slaves. This is the first virtue for everyone who would be free, and it must be practiced if any of the other goods are to be realized at all.
This is the education that befits a free man. It is just the education these students should receive. Ninety-four percent of professors are apparently blind to it. They don't see, somehow, that the soft virtues must coexist with the hard ones -- not only in the same society, but in the very same heart.