Students, faculty, staff protest against campus carry legislation

Samantha Ketterer

Students, faculty and staff gathered on the West Mall on Thursday, demonstrating against campus carry legislation passed in May during the Legislative Session.

History professor Joan Neuberger decided to host the event with several other faculty members after SB 11 passed, allowing the concealed carry of guns into college buildings with an appropriate handgun license. The law allows universities to create specific policies regarding concealed carry, including the creation of certain gun-free zones.

Neuberger said she felt the issue needed to be addressed toward the start of the school year.

“Many faculty and staff feel strongly that concealed weapons have no place on a college campus,” Neuberger said in an email. “The suspicion that someone might have a weapon is a real threat to freedom of speech in the classroom and in daily interactions between faculty and students, and students and students.”

Max Mills, government and American studies senior, said he walked across the demonstration during a passing period, where he saw several professors voicing their opinions on
campus carry.  

“A lot of UT faculty were actively participating, and I thought that was just super rad,” Mills said. “[Campus carry] directly affects them and can affect
their safety.”

Robert Guerra, communications director of College Republicans, said College Republicans supports campus carry.  

“We will definitely make our position clear as the process continues,” Guerra said. “I am confident that the enactment of SB 11 will result in safer college campuses throughout the state.”

Mark Sheridan, an English graduate student, is an international student from Ireland and said he was aware of gun violence on college campuses in America.

“Coming to America, this was definitely an issue that I thought about,” Sheridan said. “It was quite alarming that I saw in the news that this legislation was put forward and was passed. I think of college campuses as safe spaces — spaces for the free exchange of ideas.”

University President Gregory Fenves created a working group to put forth recommendations on campus carry last week. The group, made up mostly of students, faculty and staff, does not have a set date to make their decision.