Skittish Professor No Longer Has Office Hours Due To Hoplophobia

Col. Jeff Cooper coined the term “hoplophobia” to mean “an irrational fear of weapons.” Back in his day, just as in ours, some people were terrified of the idea of firearms being in the hands of the law-abiding.

Col. Cooper may well have been thinking of a particular professor at the University of Kansas who is so afraid of guns that he won’t have office hours in his office anymore.

My jaw dropped recently as I read the nine-page syllabus for an online history class I enrolled in for the fall semester at the University of Kansas. Two full pages of the document include arguments against the Second Amendment and chides students who support the university’s concealed carry policy or take advantage of it.

To be clear, this class is on the history of the Japanese Samurai and has nothing to do with U.S. history or the Second Amendment.

What’s more, Professor Eric Rath of the History and East Asian Studies departments also informs students in the syllabus: “With guns allowed on campus, I no longer feel safe having visitors in my office; so instead of in person office hours, I am available for consultation via email or Skype on the hours indicated above and by appointment. Should you wish to meet in person, the appointment will be at a secure or public location of my choosing, but not my office. Please read the statement about concealed weapons at the end of the syllabus.”

The two-page statement includes data that aims to paint the use of guns in a negative light, details provisos of the policy at KU that allows students and faculty to carry concealed weapons on campus, and states “I request that you not bring firearms to class or wherever I am present.”

“Although you may be entitled by law to carry a gun, I urge you not to do so. … I do not want to worry about whether you might react by pulling a gun on me, or whether you might have an improperly secured weapon in your belt or bag,” the syllabus states. “… I have seen students become uncontrollably angry because of something that has happened in the course—a disappointing grade, an allegation of academic misconduct, an uncomfortable topic, a controversial statement. If you do not carry a weapon, you cannot be tempted to use it in a moment of frustration.”

Right, because concealed carriers are notorious for pulling guns on professors.

Frankly, I doubt he’s seen students become “uncontrollably angry” before. He’s seen them furious, perhaps, but there was almost always some level of control there. Otherwise, they’d have probably tried to strangle the man.

You’d think that someone teaching a class on samurai–a group of warriors who were armed at all times–would have at least some appreciation for those who prefer to fight for themselves rather than waiting for help to arrive far too late to do any good, but you’d be wrong.

The writer notes, “I am not interested in taking a class on the Samurai, Japan’s most prevalent warring class, from a professor who does not value citizens’ rights to protect themselves.” I don’t blame her in the least. I wouldn’t either.

What we see here someone who has studied a group of warriors probably out of a sense of envy. He is likely too much of a coward to be prepared to defend himself or anyone he cares about, so he studies those who did.

The professor’s policy is wrongheaded and, frankly, warrants disciplinary action from the school. Part of his job is to have office hours, a time when students can stop by for help, not require them to connect digitally long distance because of his irrational fears.

If he can’t do that, maybe he needs to find another job.