Texas lawmakers passed a bill this spring allowing anyone over the age of 21 and licensed to carry a concealed weapon to do so on college campuses, for both public and private institutions.
The law states that universities can set “reasonable rules” about where handguns can be carried.
The TCU Faculty Senate is starting the conversation about Campus Carry and looking for feedback on whether concealed weapons should be allowed on campus.
In addition to the discussion at the Sept. 3 Faculty Senate meeting, members of the TCU Forensics team are scheduled to debate the matter Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Brown-Lupton University Union Ballroom.
The Faculty Senate expects to make a recommendation next month on its position, said Dr. Stathis Michaelides, the chair of the Faculty Senate executive committee.
Michaelides said the recommendation will be submitted to the chancellor and the executive committee will send emails to all faculty for feedback.
“We will open the discussion to all faculty by asking them to send their opinions, in writing, to their senators,” Michaelides said. “All opinions will be forwarded to our information officer who will post them anonymously on the Senate website.”
Faculty’s reactions at Thursday’s meeting were mixed.
“Absolutely not,” said Dr. David Bedford, who is an instructor in the department of Spanish and Hispanic Studies and is a representative of the AddRan College of Liberal Arts. “We should not allow guns on campus under any circumstances.”
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Kathy Cavins-Tull said the university can create gun-free zones.
“They say in the legislation that you can define gun free zones but they can’t be too restrictive,” Cavins-Tull said.
Assistant professor of history and another AddRan representative, Max Krochmal, said it’s a no-brainer that guns should not be allowed on college campuses.
“I’m a supporter of gun rights and a fan of guns myself, but I think it’s a terrible idea to have guns on college campus,” Krochmal said.
History professor Steven Woodworth said, “every public mass shooting in modern U.S. history happened in a gun-free zone.”
Dr. Gregory Stephens, an associate professor in the Neeley School of Business, said the conversation should be broadened to consider overall campus safety.
“Should we have the panic button?” Stephens said. “Should we have the ability to lock down the classrooms?”
Assistant professor in the College of Education, Jo Beth Jimerson said, “We should not make a huge decision out of fear.”
Jimerson said she worried that students or faculty members, who may have suicidal thoughts or are dealing with something troubling, could have easy access to a weapon.
Students, faculty and staff can learn more about the issue by joining the Campus Carry debate or voice their opinions by sending comments to [email protected]