LTTE: A response to The Observer’s Oct. 22 editorial on concealed carry at CWRU

Steven Sidik, Former Professor of Statistics

I did not see the Oct. 22, 2021 editorial by the Editorial Board until just today as I happened to DuckDuckGo my name. At the time I was no longer employed by Case Western Reserve University nor getting emails or access. The university—Dean Joy Ward of the College of Arts and Sciences, in particular—decided that after nearly 50 years of teaching multiple statistics courses and years of providing university research teams with statistical consulting support, they would no longer renew the year-to-year contract I had held.

Since another election is upon us and the topic discussed will be a hot one for students to consider this year, I hope you would allow a rather dated reply.

The editorial was “The notion of concealed carry at CWRU.” It described a letter I had written to President Kaler. It was pretty much as I had written to the CWRU Board, President Snyder and other CWRU administrators on the same topic over a period of years—that is, that the constitutional right to self-defense being infringed by CWRU administration by not permitting students and faculty to choose to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense if they wish.  

I am a champion of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, in particular the First and Second Amendments, and regularly included in my courses various references and examples where statistical concepts related to these freedoms; most poignantly, how a trial by jury of our peers is as an example of statistical hypothesis testing. 

I had sent emails to multiple faculty committees, multiple administrators at various levels and multiple presidents over the years asking them sometimes pointed questions about many constitutional issues, primarily related to the First and Second Amendments. One in particular was the request to bring the issue of concealed carry to an open discussion of the Board. It appears that perhaps my letter to President Kaler being made available to The Observer was actually some sort of attempt at that.

A couple of rejoinders to the editorial.  

Regarding inaccurate claims: the issue of campus carry, and concealed carry in general, is a very difficult issue to judge. It is almost impossible to draw meaningful conclusions from data on cause and effect between crime and concealed carry due to very many confounding variables that are almost always uncontrolled and usually erroneously adjusted for. In fact, I had at times posed this issue as an extra credit exercise for students to dig deeply into any article of their choosing and critically examine the statistical and sampling methods used to judge if any clear conclusions could be drawn. One professional study by the Rand Corporation concluded that no conclusive decision on a relationship was possible.

The relationship to constitutional rights is clear.

The issue is not in fostering campus-wide carry, nor in training a militia nor in proving that concealed carry reduces crime. It is rather that infringing on individual choice with respect to one’s self-defense is simply not right. I only advocated that individuals who would prefer to have the right to exercise their self-defense rights not be barred from doing so. I did provide some potential collateral benefits.

The outcome of my letter writing, by the way, was to be railroaded by a kangaroo court of the Equity Office into a trumped up charge of creating a “hostile environment.” I had multiple students confide to me, in confidence, that expressing conservative views on campus was to bring harassment and ostracism upon oneself. When I started teaching at CWRU, it actually was a sort of balanced faculty and student body. But that was 1972. Now? Not so much. A shame for an institution that claims to teach critical thinking.

Steven Sidik

Former Professor of Statistics


For context, The Observer is also publishing Professor Sidik’s original email to President Kaler:

“President Kaler, (assuming this is the correct e-m address),

Your message to students and faculty this morning is a mixed blessing. More resources to promote the prevention of hostile assault on campus are welcome.

However, the last sentence of your message is an abject capitulation to cowardice and violation of our evolutionary pressures to self-preservation and self-protection. Further it is both counter-productive to prevention of further assault and an insult to those of us who have learned how to deal with bullies. Children on the playground faced with bullies tend to learn of one of two responses. One, leading to a submissive and fearful life is to capitulate to the bully. Another, leading to a self-assertive and fearless life is that bullies must be stood up to in order for peace to prevail. Urging one to offer up what a bully demands simply feeds the bully. On the other hand, were students or faculty to be permitted by the university to be trained and armed in self-defense the local bullies would soon begin to realize that assaulting people on campus could result in their death. They would look around for easier pickings.

Now I had already pretty much decided I would no longer return to a dangerous campus which denied me the right to self-defense—even though I had trained and satisfied Ohio laws allowing me to defend myself with a firearm if accosted near the Metro Rapid station—as just happened the other day. But the campus politics of “Equity” sealed the deal and I will no longer be teaching youngsters how to think for themselves. Your office of “Equity” is little more than a kangaroo court instituted to reinforce subjugation to the “woke” You should raise the issue of permitting concealed carry on campus by duly licensed students or faculty and let it be subject to open debate and close scrutiny. I guarantee you will be surprised by the number of students and faculty who will stand up for this move. Many students have, in private, admitted to me they are disgusted with the current politics of censoring and canceling, but are afraid of voicing their beliefs in public due to the bullying of the woke and politically correct mobs. It is unbecoming of a serious University.

Steven M. Sidik”