Dean of Students Discusses Recent Campus Gun Violations

There have been two armed robberies and the accidental discharge of a weapon on UMKC’s campus within the past several months.

Dr. Eric Grospitch, Dean of Students and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs had this to say about the incidents:
“It’s matching where society is. We are a city on campus of 16,000. To believe that it’s some white ivory tower of a situation is unrealistic,” said Grospitch. “So it’s important for us as a university and students to be aware of their surroundings and pay attention to what’s going on around you.”

On Oct. 22n, 2015, there was an accidental discharge of a firearm inside the Oak Place Apartments on Volker Campus. On Dec. 16, 2015, an armed robbery occurred in Herman and Dorothy H. Johnson Hall on UMKC’s Volker Campus. On Jan. 22 , 2016 another armed robbery occurred on 54th and Holmes, just a block from campus.

Grospitch assured that once the university becomes aware of situations such as these, it responds quickly. He recommended that students should maintain vigilance. If they see or know of something that makes them uncomfortable they should not hesitate to contact campus police.

“I can’t make somebody feel safe or unsafe. But we’re [UMKC] not in a position to put metal detectors on every door and search and seizure at every location. We’re an open campus,” said Grospitch.

UMKC student Benjamin Harrison is concerned, a though he admits that living off-campus, the incidents have not had a direct impact on him.

“It’s a little disturbing. I don’t know if it’s always been here and people are just noticing it more now, or if crime is encroaching closer,” Harrison said.

UMKC’s official policy in regards to weapons on campus is a prohibition against firearms and weapons, excluding law enforcement officials. There has been a national trend as of late concerning both conceal and carry and open carry firearm policies on campuses. Grospitch noted that conversations on this subject have been taking place in Jefferson City, Missouri, recently.

“There’s a trend around right now that people across the country are looking at that. Personally I’m on the fence. I think that there are some situations and some students that I would probably feel very comfortable if they had [weapons]. And faculty and staff for that matter,” Grospitch said. “And there are some students and faculty and staff that I wouldn’t. So for me that’s the struggle. How to determine who could have access and who shouldn’t have access.”

According to Grospitch, if students desire the policy to change or be reevaluated, they should work with the Student Government Association.

“Any of these conversations are open conversations,” Grospitch said. “We’re happy to have these conversations if students want to have them.”

Besides contacting campus police when students feel uncomfortable, Grospitch also recommended that students be aware of the services available to them. He cited our victim services adjudication advisor, Michelle Kroner, as a retroactive resource. He also suggested students visit UMKC counseling health services in addition to self-defense classes available from the university as well as UMKC Police.

UMKC Police can be reached at 816-235-1515. The UMKC Counseling Center is located at 4825 Troost

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