Amy Nabozny

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

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.

[Amy Nabozny’s] argument stands on the crippled shoulders of poor logic. In her recent article “Conservatism can grow economy,” she makes the case that conservative economic policies are more successful and offer the growth our country needs. To support this claim, she references personal experience in the state of Michigan, which she claims is Democratic leaning, and how it differs from Texas, which she references as a Republican state.

Perhaps she should begin with researching the state politics of Michigan. The Governor and Lt. Governor have been Republican for the past 16 out of 24 years. The State House has been red since 1998, with a slight break from ‘06-’10, and the State Senate hasn’t belonged to the Democrats since 1984. If you consider federal representatives, the Senators have been blue for some time, but there is only a slightly blue tint to the state’s House Representatives. Perhaps, before she blames political partisanship for her state’s woes, she should consider researching who is actually in charge.

Texas has been obscenely lucky throughout this recession, but a “system of low taxes and reasonable regulation” is not why. If you were a business owner, and someone paid you to move somewhere with cheap labor, would you not think it was a golden opportunity? Out of the $80 billion (tax payer dollars) states give to incentivize companies, Texas gave $16 billion. About $222 million of that is from the Texas Enterprise Fund, which an audit just revealed wasted approximately 44 percent  of that by giving it to businesses who didn’t even apply. For conservatives to be so against socialist practices, government bribery of business and wastefulness seem like something Republicans shouldn’t support. Yet here we are.

Businesses might like Texas, but our nation was created for the people. And policies supporting that will always win out.

— Patty Sanger, a UT government alumna, in response to a Monday column titled “Conservatism can grow economy.”

Gubernatorial candidates state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, and Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott and their student supporters have settled on equal pay and wage discrimination as the next key issue of the 2014 campaign.

Abbott said that as governor he would veto a state version of The Equal Pay Act or Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Davis has attacked Abbott’s position by arguing that existing equal pay laws are insufficient. The Equal Pay Act was a federal law signed in 1963 to prevent wage discrimination based on gender. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was a federal statute which amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and stated that a person has 180 days to file a lawsuit for pay discrimination from when they received their paycheck.

Abbott said the Lilly Ledbetter Act, the Texas Labor Code and the Texas Government Code have adequate provisions for equal pay already.

“If there are ongoing issues about equal pay, I don’t think the question is whether we need more laws. The question is whether those laws just need to be enforced better,” Abbott said in a statement. 

Amy Nabozny, history sophomore and College Republicans vice president, said she thinks current equal pay laws are sufficient because it’s already illegal to discriminate based on gender.

“It’s a waste of our legislature’s time and resources to be passing redundant legislation,” Nabozny said. “If there’s any issue in how the federal courts process these claims, then they should be looking to improve it there.”

Nabozny said she supports Abbott’s decision to veto additional legislation addressing equal pay in Texas.

“We already have laws protecting discriminatory action — period,” Nabozny said. “Right now, I am ashamed how Wendy Davis is victimizing women in order to gain ground in this race.”

Michelle Willoughby, government junior and Students for Wendy Davis community outreach director, said she thinks employers should offer paternity leave. Willoughby said if employers offer benefits for their male workers, they will stop viewing maternity leave as a downside to hiring women.

“If employers thought that young male employers were equally likely to take six to eight weeks off after starting a family and possibly drop out of the workforce for some amount of time, then they would be more likely to hire and pay women entering the workforce at the same rates they do with their male counterparts,” Willoughby said.

The Davis campaign could not be reached for comment.

Sarah Melecki, graduate research assistant and former chair of the Feminist Policy Alliance, said she thinks gender equality requires a combination of policy and social change.

“If a woman in Texas experiences wage discrimination, she has to take it up on a federal level,” Melecki said.

Melecki said increasing wage equality for people of all socioeconomic, gender and ethnic backgrounds requires that state or federal governments increase paternity and family leave, provide affordable child care and increase the minimum wage.

Melecki said although she thinks the Lilly Ledbetter Act was important and necessary, it does not address the needs of many women, such as those lower income or gay women.

“The people who are affected by [the Lilly Ledbetter Act] are mostly white women who have had the educational opportunities and have gone into a field that allows them to do that,” Melecki said. “Lilly Ledbetter is great and it’s necessary, but it’s necessary to look at women on all sides of the spectrum.”