Campus carry working group gathers input from UT colleges

Matthew Adams

The recently formed campus carry working group has announced two public forums and is continuing to gather information on where guns should not be located
on campus.

A campus-wide email sent Sept. 4 officially announced two public forums to be held on Sept. 30 from 7–9 p.m. and Oct. 5 from 3–5 p.m. Based on responses the working group has received from the online survey and conversations members have had with friends and colleagues, the email also highlighted misconceptions about the law.

In addition to this announcement, Sept. 8 marked the first day schools across UT could send recommendations for gun-free zones around campus.

The working group, chaired  by law professor Steven Goode, is gathering information to help with proposals to University President Gregory Fenves by late November.   

“The working group is trying to gather inventory throughout campus, places [and] activities that we ought to consider for possible regulation,” Goode said. “It is a very big campus, and we don’t know everything that is going on.”

Because the working group still has more information to sort through, Goode said schools could continue to submit more information to the working group.

Ellen Spiro, film professor and a member of Gun-Free UT, a group against campus carry, said the group wants to submit recommendations to suggest that guns on campus will not make UT safer.

Based on her own experience, Spiro said she is concerned that students who are vulnerable to suffer from mental illness and depression could cause a lot of harm
to themselves.

“I once had a student who shared suicidal feelings with me during my office hours,” Spiro said. “I asked him he if had a gun. Thankfully he said no, and I walked him to the UT Mental Health Center. If that student had a gun in his pocket, he might not be alive today.”

So far, Spiro said great arguments have been presented in the Moody College of Communication against having guns anywhere in the building, and she has heard other
departments have even included janitor closets as gun free zones.

Cristina Adams, a spouse of a faculty member and a parent involved with Gun Free UT, said their group is working to hold an event  Sept. 30 to raise awareness against campus carry.

Adams said she wants students to be involved in the implementation of this law the legislature passed when many students were away from campus.

“Conveniently the law was passed when students weren’t here, and they did not get their voices heard,” Adams said. “The UT student body came out against this stupid law, and they need to make their voices heard in the administration and working group.”