President Gregory Fenves notified the University of his decision regarding the policies for campus carry legislation via email Wednesday morning.
After communicating with the Campus Carry Working Group and reviewing the law, Fenves said in the email that he will not be implementing a policy against handguns in classrooms.
“I do not believe handguns belong on a university campus, so this decision has been the greatest challenge of my presidency to date,” Fenves said in the email. “As a professor, I understand the deep concerns raised by so many. However, as president, I have an obligation to uphold the law.”
According to the email, the Campus Carry Implementation Task Force is still determining gun-exclusion zones and guidelines for the new policy that will allow guns on campus.
The policies and procedures of this decision comply with Senate Bill 11, which allows licensed gun holders age 21 or older to carry a concealed handgun on campus. Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill last June and the law will take effect Aug. 1, 2016.
Campus carry has not been implemented in Texas before, but Student Body President Xavier Rotnofsky said to the Daily Texan that he thinks the uncertainty about campus carry will subside.
UT System Chancellor William McRaven said he expects faculty to comply with campus carry laws in a Daily Texan article.
“My expectation as we move forward is that we will find that we have done our due diligence,” McRaven said to the Senate State Affairs Committee on Jan. 27. “What I’m asking the faculty members is: Give us a chance to show that we can address their concerns in a reasonable manner so they do not feel like it is threatening their ability to have a robust debate or their safety.”
Fenves also said in his email on Wednesday that the University strives to make a commitment to safety and will not let the law diminish the strength of the UT community. He also said the Task Force will monitor how the law affects students and faculty members once it is implemented.