UT Prepares for Campus Carry
UT president announces a working group
UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves issued a memo to the school's faculty, staff, and students last Thursday, Aug. 20, detailing the preliminary steps he'll take in determining rules, regulations, and provisions for the university's handling of the new campus carry law, which will allow owners of concealed handgun licenses to carry handguns on public universities throughout Texas beginning Aug. 1, 2016. ("Reasonable" rules may be implemented by each school so long as the school's governing board approves each particular amendment.) Fenves said he's establishing a campuswide working group to recommend various policies pertaining to the law, and that UT Law Professor Steven Goode will serve as that group's chair. The 19-member group also includes three students, three staffers, five faculty members, and Lynn Crismon, the dean of the university's College of Pharmacy, in addition to a sprinkling of other stakeholders. Fenves said the working group will begin meeting shortly, and is expected to poll the community for feedback sometime this semester.
Fenves has walked a careful line since Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 11 into law, offering little more than a statement on June 1 that said he "strive[s] to create policies that conform with the new law, protect the rights of citizens – and ensure the safety and security of our entire campus community." He returned to that last point in his Aug. 20 memo, saying "the safety of our community is of the utmost importance." The relatively uncontroversial stance is a far cry from that voiced by UT System Chancellor William McRaven, who was one of the most vocal opponents of the legislation throughout the spring.