Oct. 16, 2015
Many of you have shared your concerns about the implementation of Senate Bill 11, which will allow license holders to carry concealed handguns in parts of campus where they had not previously been permitted starting next August. In addition, faculty participated in the two public forums, held conversations on campus and replied in great numbers to our online survey.
I understand the concerns you have raised. As a parent, as a professor who spent more than two decades in the classroom, and now as president, the safety of everyone on campus is my paramount concern. My goal is to develop a campus carry policy that both reflects the needs of our campus and follows the intent of the law. In achieving these goals, we all desire an environment that is worthy of our role as one of the nation's top research universities.
The new state law allows the university president to develop campus-specific regulations on the carrying of concealed handguns without generally prohibiting licensed holders from carrying concealed weapons. At UT Austin, we have developed a collaborative and open process for recommending regulations. During this process, now well underway, we are looking at many issues, including those surrounding handguns in specific areas on campus such as dormitories and classrooms.
The working group on campus carry, chaired by UT Law professor Steve Goode, has spent the past month reviewing the feedback it has received and is now formulating recommendations for my review and consideration. I will submit my policy recommendations informed by the working group report to the UT System in December, and the Board of Regents will consider them in February 2016. Once the policies are adopted, we will spend the following months educating campus about them and ensuring that they are implemented thoroughly and safely.
I urge you to remain engaged in this process in thoughtful, productive ways that reflect our university's core values. The vigorous discussion occurring on our campus reflects our university's culture of debating ideas and enlarging understanding.
Thank you again for your involvement, thoughts and understanding as we work through the decisions in the coming months.
Gregory L. Fenves, President
For more information, visit campuscarry.utexas.edu