Faculty Council passes campus carry resolution

Matthew Adams

The Faculty Council passed a campus carry resolution after adding an amendment to the proposal Monday.
The council proposed a resolution to prohibit guns from being allowed in the classroom, laboratories, residences halls, University offices and other spaces on campus.

The resolution changed the phrasing to say that guns “impede learning, honest evaluation, academic freedom, recruitment and retention of faculty, students and staff and jeopardize the quality and reputation of the University.”

During the open discussion, Na’ama Pat-El, associate professor in the Middle Eastern Studies department, said she had issues with the resolution because it was too generic and wanted it to better address the concerns of the faculty.

“In previous talks with faculty, it was a concern to us about how UT would be able to recruit and retain top faculty,” Pat-El said. “This is something we expressed, and it was something that needed to be in this resolution.”    

Max Snodderly, professor of neuroscience and nutritional sciences and a member of Gun-Free UT who is helping with legal aspects for the group, said he was excited by this commitment from the Faculty Council to show they support the desire of the faculty.

“We are all on the same page,” Snodderly said. “What’s important here is that the Faculty Council has a recognized role in University governance, and they are designated as an advisory to the President. When they come out with a statement like that, that constitutes as advice to the President.”  

Chair of the Faculty Council Andrea Gore said the process of resolution and discussion went well, considering 70 faculty members were expressing their opinions. Overall, Gore said the drafting committee worked on this resolution and made sure the faculty’s views were considered when making concrete recommendations.  

University President Gregory Fenves spoke before the Monday council meeting started and addressed speaking with students about campus carry in the early days of his presidency.    
“I remember very distinctly meeting with student leaders my first day as President, and they were quite upset,” Fenves said. “They had worked quite hard as student organizations and working with the legislature and meeting with members about their opposition. Everybody knows by now that concealed weapons have been allowed on campus ground for about 20 years, but it is very different when there is the potential for them to be allowed in buildings.”
While students worked with the legislature and other members on Senate Bill 11, Fenves said during his time as Provost, he also worked with the legislature and was disappointed with its decision. To comply with S.B. 11, Fenves created a working group in August to submit proposals that restricted guns in certain places on campus but cannot make the entire campus a gun-free zone. The working group proposal was expected to be submitted to Fenves at the end of November, but Fenves said a date is yet to be determined.
“[The working group] has not decided when exactly [the proposal] will be released, but it is expected for early December,” Fenves said.