ECU POLICE: Professor says she will not bring gun on campus

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GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) - ECU police say a professor says she will not carry a gun on campus, despite telling WITN Monday night that she would.

Dr. Tracy Tuten told WITN she would be exercising her Second Amendment rights, after she said some ECU band members were allowed to use their First Amendment rights during last Saturday's football game.

Tuten said she was violently threatened and stalked by a student several years ago. "I am so scared every day that I walk onto that campus and do not have my gun with me", the professor told us Monday night. "If you have not been stalked before, you do not understand what it feels like, but it is really intimidating. It is so scary."

In a statement today, ECU police say they are monitoring the situation and say at this time, Tuten told them she will not carry a firearm on campus.

Police say they have told the professor what state law allows and doesn't allow on educational property.

"While I can appreciate Dr. Tuten's intent to bring attention to constitutional discussions, carrying a handgun on campus property in the manner in which she described is currently prohibited by state law," said interim police chief Jason Sugg. "Based on the most recent information given to us, we are hopeful that Dr. Tuten has reconsidered her intended action."

On Saturday, 19 members of the university's marching band knelt during the national anthem, protesting recent police violence across the country.


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An East Carolina University professor says she plans to carry her firearm on campus after ECU's Chancellor supported the band members acting on their First Amendment right by kneeling during the National Anthem during Saturday's football game, despite university rules.

Now, Marketing Professor Dr. Tracy Tuten believes acting on her Second Amendment rights should be acceptable too.

Tuten says after being threatened by a student on campus a couple years ago, she felt the need to get a concealed weapon permit and the proper training to protect herself, but she has been following the university rules by not bringing the gun to campus.

Tuten says after Chancellor Cecil Staton supported the band members kneeling during the National Anthem, she believes she should be allowed to carry on campus.

Some ECU band members kneeled to protest racism and police brutality.

But Tuten says university policy is if you are representing the school, you must stand.

So when she saw Chancellor Staton's statement supporting the band's right to free speech, she says he should respect all rights... including the right to bear arms.

A news release from top administrators with ECU's music department says additional protests by the university's marching band "will not be tolerated".

Tuten says since she was violently threatened and stalked by a student several years ago, she has wanted carry on campus, but has respected the university policy.

Tuten says, "I am so scared every day that I walk onto that campus and do not have my gun with me. If you have not been stalked before, you do not understand what it feels like, but it is really intimidating. It is so scary."

Tuten says she filed a restraining order against that student but she does not feel like the university or the police have taken the threats seriously. She says she sent a letter to Chancellor Staton asking him to comply with her stance on Second Amendment rights on campus.

Lt. Chris Sutton of the ECU Police Department released a statement saying, "NC General Statute is very clear on when and where you are able to carry firearms on educational property to include universities or college campuses. We take all criminal activity and laws that are not upheld seriously and we will investigate and handle them in the most appropriate way possible."

Tuten says she has not heard back from Chancellor Staton but she does plan to begin carrying her gun on campus.

ECU Police said they were taking this matter very seriously and Lt. Sutton tweeted his email address for students or faculty members who may have questions.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states now have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public post-secondary campuses.