The president of the University of Texas at Austin is authorizing rules allowing concealed handguns in classrooms and elsewhere on campus — despite his opposition and "great anxiety about the impact."
"I do not believe handguns belong on a university campus, so this decision has been the greatest challenge of my presidency to date," Gregory Fenves writes in an open letter
announcing the policy Wednesday.
"I empathize with the many faculty members, staffers, students and parents of students who signed petitions, sent emails and letters, and organized to ban guns from campus and especially classrooms. As a professor, I understand the deep concerns raised by so many. However, as president, I have an obligation to uphold the law."
A new Texas law requires public colleges and universities to adopt policies that will generally allow concealed carry.
The law lets private schools keep their concealed carry bans — and the most prominent among them, including Rice, Baylor and Southern Methodist, have all said they would — but public universities weren't given a choice, The New York Times
"Although there is great anxiety about the impact of [the law], I urge you not to let this weaken us as a university community," Fenves writes. "Let us show the world that UT can face such challenges.
According to the Times, Students for Concealed Carry, vows to challenge parts of the new policy in court, particularly a passage allowing university employees to ban guns from their offices, and another one requiring that a semiautomatic handgun be carried without a round in the firing chamber.
"President Gregory Fenves chose to punt the issue to the courts rather than stand up to a cabal of fear-mongering professors," the group says, the Times reports.
The university's new policy takes effect Aug. 1, and outlines where guns will remain prohibited, including dormitories — with a few exceptions; at staff or disciplinary hearings; in any facility housing animals; where patient care, including mental health counseling, is provided; and by anyone working in caps programs for children, the Times reports.
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