During the last week of campaigning, Student Government executive alliance candidates Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi expressed contradictory opinions about “Campus Carry” legislation in interviews with the College Republicans and the University Democrats.
Campus Carry, a bill under consideration in the House and Senate, would allow concealed handguns into campus buildings if the holder has a concealed handgun license.
In Jones and Dargahi’s interview, College Republicans president Amy Nabozny said the two candidates said, if Campus Carry was to become law, they would prefer schools get a choice as to whether Campus Carry is enacted. In a questionnaire for University Democrats, the alliance said, “We stand wholeheartedly in opposition to concealed carry on campus.”
Following the interview, Jones emailed College Republicans and said he supports Campus Carry.
“To be short, I do oppose Campus Carry in the definition of allowing any student to carry a weapon on campus; however, (as mentioned last night) I do think this is an area where it’s ‘grey’ and not black and white,” the email said. “I do support students with [CHLs’] ability to carry, as they have received training and adequate testing to carry firearms. That being said, I also believe in the importance of UTPD — and entrusting these men and women who serve to protect students to do their job.”
Nabozny said the group knew it could not endorse Jones this year after he fast-tracked a bill in opposition to Campus Carry through SG.
“After speaking to our members and then reading their UDems survey, it was clear they were pandering to both groups,” Nabozny said.
Jones and Dargahi are currently considered front-runners in the Executive Alliance race. In a Daily Texan opinion poll, the candidates amass 56 percent of the total online votes, with 2,987 votes at the time of publication.
At the SG candidate debate Monday, Jones said he opposes Campus Carry since the University is also opposed to the bill.
“Right now, the University of Texas administration, as well as the University of Texas System, [does] not support Campus Carry,” Jones said. “Until there is a large amount of students that think otherwise, I would be more than happy to sit down with students that think that, but I think it’s in the best interest of the University to support the administration.”
The other two alliances, Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu, and David Maly and Steven Svatek, said they were completely opposed to Campus Carry.
“We feel like more guns on campus makes campus less safe, therefore we would want to advocate against it as student body president and VP,” Maly said.
Rotnofsky and Mandalapu, candidates who have been running a mostly satirical campaign, said at the debate they wanted to reverse their position on Campus Carry.
“Can we also backtrack our answer?” Rotnofsky said. “We’re for guns.”
Jones and Dargahi were the only executive alliance candidates that interviewed for an endorsement. Maly was present at the meeting and left before he could interview. College Republicans did not endorse a candidate this year.