Petition for a Weapons-Free Simpson

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To: Jay Simmons, President, Simpson College

Sunni Richer, Chair, Board of Trustees

Members of the Board of Trustees

We are alumni, supporters and friends of Simpson College. We have grave concern for the establishment of a Shooting Program with a full time Shooting Coach at Simpson.

Following staff layoffs and recent shootings and deaths in educational settings, the decision for a Shooting Program seems out of touch for a school that seeks to foster a close relationship with its founding entity, the United Methodist Church.

We find it disturbing that Simpson has accepted a $10,000 grant from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a lobbying entity to support manufacturers of weapons and ammunition. Simpson is the only United Methodist related institution on their list of grantees. Activities of these groups include NRA appreciation events. This action on Simpson’s part is anything but neutral. The liability that Simpson would incur in the sanctioning of a Shooting Program is monumentally significant for our reputation and funding. Just one incident could be devastating.

Students should pursue this sort of activity on their own at an area shooting range. However, the housing of weapons on campus and Simpson’s money going to this endeavor is insulting to many of us who paid or are paying tuition and give our money to the Simpson Fund. Assurances of the security of the weapons does not help with our belief that weapons of any sort do not belong on the campus of Simpson College.

Furthermore, we believe that the hiring of a full time shooting coach in these difficult financial times for Simpson, does in no way positively influence students to come to Simpson. There are many nationally awarded academic programs for prospective students to consider. We believe that sanctioned gun related activities have no place in our curriculum and call for the monies designated for them be applied to our college’s academic programs.

We believe that this action is in opposition to Simpson’s Mission Statement:

Drawing upon our relationship with the United Methodist Church and our religious traditions that guide us on issues of personal integrity, moral responsibility, social justice and global citizenship.

Likewise, as Simpson identifies with the United Methodist Church, the following from the Book of Resolutions should be taken into account:

4. Develop advocacy groups within local congregations to advocate for the eventual reduction of the availability of guns in society with a particular emphasis upon handguns, handgun ammunition, assault weapons, automatic weapons,automatic weapon conversion kits, and guns that cannot be detected by traditionally used metal detection devices. These groups can be linked to community-based, state, and national organizations working on gun and violence issues;

6. call upon all governments of the world in which there is a United Methodist presence to establish national bans on ownership by the general public of handguns, assault weapons, automatic weapon conversion kits, and weapons that cannot be detected by traditionally used metal-detection devices;

We, the undersigned, hereby call for immediate dissolution of the proposed Shooting Program and coach. We ask that Simpson use these funds for our established and respected academic programs.

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