Economics professor emeritus Daniel Hamermesh will withdraw from his position next fall, citing concerns with campus carry legislation.
The law will allow the concealed carry of guns in campus buildings beginning Aug. 1, 2016. Hamermesh said he is not comfortable with the risk of having a student shoot at him in class. He teaches a course with 475 students enrolled, according to a letter Hamermesh wrote Sunday to UT President Gregory Fenves.
“With a huge group of students, my perception is that the risk that a disgruntled student might bring a gun into the classroom and start shooting at me has been substantially enhanced by the concealed-carry law,” Hamermesh wrote in the letter.
Hamermesh, who said he is under contract to teach his course in fall 2016 and fall 2017, said he will complete the semester at UT and will teach at the University of Sydney next fall.
Hamermesh said he thinks the legislation will impact the University’s ability to draw new faculty and staff to work at UT.
“My guess is somebody thinking about coming to Texas is going to think twice about being a professor here,” Hamermesh said. “It’s going to make it more difficult for Texas to compete in the market for faculty.”
Hamermesh has taught at several universities since 1969, and his research has been published in more than 100 scholarly journals, according to the Economics Department.
Megan Burke, a psychology sophomore in Hamermesh’s class, said she thinks UT will lose a great professor in Hamermesh because of the new campus carry policy.
“I am really sad that professor Hamermesh will be leaving UT,” Burke said. “Hamermesh is a great professor with a lot of experience and is highly respected in his community, so it is a shame that he will be leaving UT. I do agree with his reasoning to leave, because campus carry does put him at a higher risk, so it makes sense that he would teach at a ‘safer’ university."
University spokesperson Gary Susswein said the University is continuing to work with a campus carry working group to determine how to implement the law on campus, including determining possible locations of gun-free zones.
“We understand the concerns that Dr. Hamermesh and other faculty members have raised about their classroom and ask that the campus community continue to work with University leadership in developing policies for implementing this new state law,” Susswein said.
Read Daniel Hamermesh's letter to University President Gregory Fenves below.