Type to search

Latest news

Oglethorpe’s Schall and Agnes Scott’s Kiss lead effort by university presidents for greater gun safety

By Maria Saporta

The presidents of two private Georgia universities are rallying their colleagues to take a stand on gun safety legislation.

Lawrence Schall, president of Oglethorpe University; and Elizabeth Kiss, president of Agnes Scott; have just released a letter co-signed by more than 160 college and university presidents from around the country.

Schall began the effort a few days ago, and he was joined shortly thereafter by Kiss.

Lawrence Schall

In a phone interview Wednesday afternoon, Schall said he was inspired to write the letter after watching the memorial service in Newtown, Ct. Sunday evening. He couldn’t sleep, so he got up and began to draft the letter. He sent a copy of it around to a few of his colleagues, and Kiss quickly signed on to help co-lead the effort.

“College presidents back in the day used to be looked at to be voices of rationality on issues of public importance,” Schall said, adding that now presidents tend to shy away from controversial issues fearing it will cost them fundraising or political support. “Collectively, we have become too quiet. On this issue, I felt like being quiet would have been sinful in some way.”

Elizabeth Kiss

Schall said he was amazed by how many presidents have signed the letter in such a short period of time.

But he explained that college presidents “are parents and grandparents first,” but they also are “educators of America’s children” with a stake in the gun safety issue.

“Our country was devastated by the recent events in Connecticut, yet the murder rate by guns in this country has been at an unconscionable level for a very long time,” Schall said. “I just think everyone now realizes it is time to do what we can to try to reverse this tragic trend. We all know the answer is not simple and that no single action will accomplish that goal, but that cannot be a reason for inaction.”

More and more presidents of colleges and universities continue to join the effort — signing their names to the letter that Schall has written. To get the most current list, please visit: www.collegepresidentsforgunsafety.org.

Here is the text of the letter dated Dec 19 as well as the current list of signatures:

On the same day our nation learned in horror that 20 first graders and six educators were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School, young people around the country were learning if they had been accepted to their favored colleges and universities. For many years now, our nation’s leaders have engaged in fevered debates on higher education, yet lawmakers shy away from taking action on one issue that prevents thousands of young people from living lives of promise, let alone realizing their college dreams. That issue is gun safety.

Among the world’s 23 wealthiest countries, 80 percent of all gun deaths occur in the United States and 87 percent of all children killed with guns are killed here (Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery). In 2010, 2,694 young people were killed by gunfire. 1,773 were victims of homicide; 67 were elementary school-age children. If those children and teens were alive today, they would fill 108 classrooms of 25 each. 

We are college and university presidents. We are parents. We are Republicans, Democrats and Independents. We urge both our President and Congress to take action on gun control now. As a group, we do not oppose gun ownership. But, in many of our states, legislation has been introduced or passed that would allow gun possession on college campuses. We oppose such laws. We fully understand that reasonable gun safety legislation will not prevent every future murder. Identification and treatment of the mental health issues that lie beneath so many of the mass murders to which we increasingly bear witness must also be addressed.

As educators and parents, we come together to ask our elected representatives to act collectively on behalf of our children by enacting rational gun safety measures, including:

· Ensuring the safety of our communities by opposing legislation allowing guns on our campuses and in our classrooms

· Ending the gun show loophole, which allows for the purchase of guns from unlicensed sellers without a criminal background check

· Reinstating the ban on military-style semi-automatic assault weapons along with high-capacity ammunition magazines

· Requiring consumer safety standards for all guns, such as safety locks, access prevention laws, and regulations to identify, prevent and correct manufacturing defects
The time has long since passed for silence and inaction on the issue of reasonable and rational gun safety legislation. We hereby request that our nation’s policy leaders take thoughtful and urgent action to ensure that current and future generations may live and learn in a country free from the threat of gun violence.


Lawrence M. Schall, Oglethorpe University (GA)

Elizabeth Kiss, Agnes Scott College (GA)

James Gozzo, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (NY)

Jeff Abernathy, Alma College (MI)

Tom Flynn, Alvernia University (PA)

Mary Meehan, Alverno College (WI)

David Seyle, Andrew College (GA)

Jack P. Calareso, Anna Maria College (MA)

Steven Bahls, Augustana College (IL)

Rebecca Sherrick, Aurora University (IL)

Marjorie Hass, Austin College (TX)

Debora Spar, Barnard College (NY)

Clayton Spencer, Bates College (ME)

Elizabeth Coleman, Bennington College (VT)

Scott D. Miller, Bethany College (WV)

Charles Krulak, Birmingham Southern College (AL)

Richard A. Levao, Bloomfield College (NJ)

Barry Mills, Bowdoin College (ME)

Ed Schrader, Brenau University (GA)

Kristin King, Bryn Athyn College (PA)

John Bravman, Bucknell University (PA)

Nancy H. Blattner, Caldwell College (NJ)

Daniel Lowery, Calumet College of St. Joseph (IN)

Deborah C. Jackson, Cambridge College (MA)

James P. Loftus, Cardinal Stritch University (WI)

J. Randall O’Brien, Carson-Newman College (TN)

John Roush, Centre College (KY)

Esther L. Barazzone, Chatham University (PA)

John Smarrelli Jr., Christian Brothers University (TN)

Pamela Brooks Gann, Claremont McKenna College (CA)

Carlton E. Brown, Clark Atlanta University (GA)

James Phifer, Coe College (IA)

Robert Wyatt, Coker College (SC)

William D. Adams, Colby College (ME)

MaryAnn Baenninger, College of Saint Benedict (MN)

Francis Raftery, College of Saint Elizabeth (NJ)

Maryanne Stevens, College of Saint Mary (NE)

Maryanne Stevens, College of Saint Mary (NE)

Jill Tiefenthaler, Colorado College (CO)

Steve Hayner, Columbia Theological Seminary (GA)

Charles Schlimpert, Concordia University (OR)

Leo I. Higdon, Jr., Connecticut College (CT)

Jonathan Brand, Cornell College (IA)

Dale T. Knobel, Denison University (OH)

Brian Casey, DePauw University (IN)

William G. Durden, Dickinson College (PA)

Walter M. Kimbrough, Dillard University (LA)

Vivian A. Bull, Drew University (NJ)

Loren Swartzendruber, Eastern Mennonite University (VA)

Donald Eastman, Eckerd College (FL)

Lee Pelton, Emerson College (MA)

Rosalind Reichard, Emory & Henry College (VA)

J. David Arnold, Eureka College (IL)

Jennifer L. Braaten, Ferrum College (VA)

William T Abare, Flagler College (FL)

Keith Taylor, Gannon University (PA)

Janet Morgan Riggs, Gettysburg College (PA)

Barbara Vacarr, Goddard College (VT)

Sanford J. Ungar, Goucher College (MD)

John Sellars, Graceland University (IA)

Paul J. Fonteyn, Green Mountain College (VT)

Joan Hinde Stewart, Hamilton College (NY)

Mark D. Gearan, Hobart and William Smith Colleges (NY)

Nancy Oliver Gray, Hollins University (VA)

Richard F. Wilson, Illinois Wesleyan University (IL)

S. Georgia Nugent, Kenyon College (OH)

Teresa L. Amott, Knox College (IL)

Candace Introcaso, La Roche College (PA)

Daniel H. Weiss, Lafayette College (PA)

Michael T. Victor, Lake Erie College (OH)

Stephen D. Schutt, Lake Forest College (IL)

Brian F. Linnane, Loyola University Maryland (MD)

Richard L. Torgerson, Luther College (IA)

Brian Rosenberg, Macalester College (MN)

Jo Young Switzer, Manchester University (IN)

Brennan O’Donnell, Manhattan College (NY)

Judson R. Shaver, Marymount Manhattan College (NY)

James M. Dennis, McKendree University (IL)

Tom Gamble, Mercyhurst University (PA)

Jo Allen, Meredith College (NC)

Ronald D. Liebowitz, Middlebury College (VT)

Alecia A. DeCoudreaux, Mills College (CA)

Rob Pearigen, Millsaps College (MS)

Michael Macdowell, Misericordia University (PA)

Mary Ellen Jukoski, Mitchell College (CT)

Stephen D. Immerman, Montserrat College of Art (MA)

Cecilia Fitzgibbon, Moore College of Art and Design (PA)

Robert Franklin, Morehouse College (GA)

David Wilson, Morgan State University (MD)

John Reynders, Morningside College (IA)

Lynn Pasquerella, Mount Holyoke College (MA)

Joseph N. Benoit, Mount Marty College (SD)

Ann McElaney-Johnson, Mount St. Mary’s College (CA)

David Schleich, National College of Natural Medicine (OR)

Frederik Ohles, Nebraska Wesleyan University (NE)

Noreen M. Carrocci, Newman University (KS)

Michael A. Miller, Northland College (WI)

Andrew P. Roth, Notre Dame College (OH)

Jonathan Veitch, Occidental College (CA)

Kathy A. Krendl, Otterbein University (OH)

Sandra Harper, Our Lady of the Lake College (LA)

Thomas Manley, Pacific Northwest College of Art (OR)

Ezat Parnia, Pacific Oaks College & Children’s School (CA)

James Mellichamp, Piedmont College (GA)

Paul Hennigan, Point Park University (PA)

David Oxtoby, Pomona College (SC)

Claude C. Lilly, Presbyterian College (SC)

Robert A. Gervasi, Quincy University (IL)

Thomas Isherwood, Reinhardt University (GA)

William Troutt, Rhodes College (TN)

Jim Dlugos, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine (ME)

Carol Ann Mooney, Saint Mary’s College (IN)

Dottie King, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (IN)

Eugene J. Cornacchia, Saint Peter’s University (NJ)

Karen Lawrence, Sarah Lawrence College (NY)

Tim Summerlin, Schreiner University (TX)

Lori Bettison-Varga, Scripps College (CA)

Daniel J. Martin, Seattle Pacific University (WA)

John McCardell, Sewanee: The University of the South (TN)

George Arnold, Silver Lake College of the Holy Family (WI)

Philip A. Glotzbach, Skidmore College (NY)

Carol Christ, Smith College (MA)

Paul Mittman, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Science (AZ)

W. Richard Merriman, Jr., Southwestern College (KS)

Colleen Perry Keith, Spartanburg Methodist College (SC)

Beverly Daniel Tatum, Spelman College (GA)

Richard P. Salmi, Spring Hill College (AL)

Richard B. Flynn, Springfield College (MA)

Andrea Lee , St. Catherine University (MN)

Michael Peters, St. John’s College (NM)

William L. Fox, St. Lawrence University (NY)

Joseph Urgo, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (MD)

Martha K. Shouldis, St. Vincent’s College (CT)

Kevin J. Manning, Stevenson University (MD)

Mark Cregan, Stonehill College (MA)

Jo Ellen Parker, Sweet Briar College (VA)

Judith Huntington, The College of New Rochelle (NY)

Grant H. Cornwell, The College of Wooster (OH)

Susan Scrimshaw, The Sage Colleges (NY)

R. Owen Williams, Transylvania University (KY)

James Jones, Trinity College (CT)

Dennis A. Ahlburg, Trinity University (TX)

Pat McGuire, Trinity Washington University (DC)

Stephen C. Ainlay, Union College (NY)

Neil Albert Salonen, University of Bridgeport (CT)

Ed Welch, University of Charleston (WV)

Thomas A. Kazee, University of Evansville (IN)

Walter Harrison, University of Hartford (CT)

Steven H. Kaplan, University of New Haven (CT)

E. William Beauchamp, University of Portland (OR)

Ronald R. Thomas, University of Puget Sound (WA)

Pamela Trotman Reid, University of Saint Joseph (CT)

Gary A. Dill, University of the Southwest (NM)

Bobby Fong, Ursinus College (PA)

Patrick E. White, Wabash College (IN)

Nathan O. Hatch, Wake Forest University (NC)

Tori Haring-Smith, Washington & Jefferson College (PA)

Weymouth Spence, Washington Adventist University (MD)

Kenneth P. Ruscio, Washington and Lee University (VA)

Michael Roth, Wesleyan University (CT)

Richard H. Dorman, Westminster College (PA)

Ronald A. Crutcher, Wheaton College (MA)

George Bridges, Whitman College (WA)

Sharon Herzberger, Whittier College (CA)

David Sallee, William Jewell College (MO)

Barbara Mistick, Wilson College (PA)

Benjamin Dunlap, Wofford College (SC)

Luís María R. Calingo, Woodbury University (CA)

Norman C. Francis, Xavier University of Louisiana (LA)

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.



  1. John Ingersoll December 21, 2012 8:56 am

    No Emory.Report

  2. Davis Clem December 23, 2012 12:56 pm

    Kudos, Dr. Schall. This is just one more reason that I am so proud to be a student, and soon an Alumna, of this institution.Report


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.