University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves has?announced a choice to allow handguns into campus classrooms.
As of August 1,?guns will allowed inside the classrooms?at the school, in addition to various offices and common areas within the dormitories. ?However, the weapons won\’t be allowed to be taken within individual college dorms. ?The University said it was decided due to the?high?risk related to students living in close quarters, which could increase the chance that the roommate will steal, lose, or misuse a gun.
“I\’ve thoroughly reviewed the insurance policy recommendations from the Campus Carry Working Group and chose to adopt them,” Fenves said. “Underneath the law, I am unable to adopt an insurance policy that has the overall effect of excluding licensed concealed handguns from campus.”
The Texas Legislature?voted?in 2015 to allow guns in buildings on college campuses within the state.
SB-11, or the campus carry bill, necessitates the approval of a college president before it can be implemented. ?Students continue to be unable to openly carry a weapon on campus.
Although guns are not allowed in dorm rooms, the policy does suggest that they will be allowed in University Apartments, that are located off of the main campus, reports?Sophia Beausoleil for KXAN.
There are a number of exceptions to these rules. ?Guns will be allowed in common areas including lounges, dining halls, and study areas. ?Visiting members of the family can carry a low profile weapon into individual college dorms. ?In addition, University housing employees, for example resident assistants, is going to be allowed to have a concealed weapon as?long because they have a license to do so.
During his announcement, President Fenves said his personal beliefs claim that?guns should not be allowed on campus, leading some to argue that?he is not doing enough to aid the bill.
\”I don\’t believe handguns belong inside a university establishing the campus environment dedicated to education and research but nevertheless as president of a public university I am responsible for implementing campus carry law,\” said Fenves.
He went on to say he has notified the campus and chancellor regarding?the policies and he is trying to create a?campus-wide task force?that will oversee the process, reports?Bridget Spencer for Fox7.
While some students said the move worried them, citing the mental stability of other classmates as an issue that may make allowing guns result in feelings to be unsafe during campus, others argue that allowing the weapons can even make them feel safer. ?In the event of a mass shooting or robbery, their classmates could offer protection before police arrived.
A number of professors have signed?a petition against the decision, which describes?the new legislation a “direct assault on our freedom of expression rights.” ?Over 280 professors have signed the petition so far.
University officials said that the majority of students at the school are under the age of 21, which is the legal age to acquire a gun license. ?According to their estimations, under 1% of students in the school can obtain a license to hold a concealed weapon while on campus.