ECU Police: Professor says she won't carry a firearm on campus after all

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) - ECU Police said Wednesday that a ECU professor won't carry a firearm on campus after all.

On Tuesday, October 4, East Carolina University received a statement from Tracy Tuten, regarding her intent to open carry a firearm on East Carolina University's campus which is a violation of North Carolina statute.

After police made contact with her, they confirmed that she won't be following through with her original intention of carrying a firearm on campus, releasing the following statement about the matter:

"The ECU Police Department is aware of the statement made by Dr. Tuten. We have communicated with Dr. Tuten about what the General Statutes of North Carolina allow and do not allow in terms of weapons on educational property and she indicated that she understood these provisions," said Jason Sugg, interim ECU police chief. "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. Based on the most recent information given to us, we are hopeful that Dr. Tuten has reconsidered her intended action."

ECU students, faculty and staff are encouraged to report suspicious behavior to ECU Police at 252-328-6787.

Original Story:

East Carolina University Professor Tracy Tuten said, in response to the university's reaction to band members kneeling during the national anthem, she now plans to open carry her firearm on campus.

Tuten reached out to 9 On Your Side Tuesday after sending an email to Chancellor Cecil Staton on her intentions.

In the letter, entitled "from the heart of Pirate nation", Tuten said:

Since I met you in the stands on Saturday, I have learned that not only did you know about the band members' plan but that you endorsed and supported it. I am probably quite minuscule in the grand scheme of advancement but I made a stand with what I had to offer.

And added:

Since the band members can act on the first amendment without regard to university rules, I too want to act on my second amendment rights to bear arms."

To read her full statement, click here.

9 On Your Side sat down with Dr. Tuten Tuesday night.

"I am planning to carry on campus from here on out," said Tuten, who added that despite the action being a felony, she plans to make a point in protest. "Does the university want me to not protect myself and they're okay with these band members totally disrespecting the university rules but I'm not okay protecting myself? For university rules? Really?"

"This isn't a university rule though," said 9 On Your Side.

"It is a university rule," said Tuten. "I mean, in Texas, for instance, if I were a faculty member in Texas, I could carry on campus."

"It's a North Carolina state law that says you can't have it (on campus)," said 9 On Your Side.

"Okay, well, we need to discuss that," said Tuten, who added her family also withdrew a gift to the university in excess of $1 million in response to the situation. When asked if she was worried about getting fired, she had a simple response.

"Bring it," said Tuten.

As of 11 p.m., Tuten had not heard back from Chancellor Cecil Staton. 9 On Your Side reached out to Staton's office and has not heard back.

ECU Police released a statement Tuesday evening in response to the claim.

"The ECU Police Department's commitment to maintaining a safe campus is our number one priority. Any reported criminal activity or laws that are not upheld will be taken seriously, investigated, and handled in the most appropriate way."

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