UT professors pledge to ban guns from classrooms amid campus carry debate
AUSTIN, Texas —
People are fired up over campus carry. Monday was the last chance to speak out on the issue at a public forum at the University of Texas. A task force will now collect all the comments and make a recommendation to UT's president on possible restrictions and regulations of campus carry. People are passionate on both sides of the issue. The task force says it has to ensure safety but also comply with the law.
August 1, 2016 students can carry more than just backpacks and books when Senate Bill 11 goes into effect.
"I'm looking forward to August 1st and August 1st of the next year as well because what that means is Texas schools will be safer," said CJ Grisham of Open Carry Texas.
The new law allows anyone with a concealed handgun license to carry their gun on campus but it's up to UT to regulate where and how weapons can be carried.
"More guns on campus will not make us safer," said Ellen Spiro of Gun Free UT.
Spiro says 300 professors have already vowed to ban guns in their classrooms and she's part of a group that would like UT to enact the strictest interpretation of campus carry.
"As a professor I find it frightening. As a mother I find it horrifying," said Spiro.
Monday's forum was the final chance to speak publicly before the task force makes its recommendations to UT President Greg Fenves. He will then make recommendations to the UT System in early December and new regulations or rules would have to be approved by the UT Board of Regents.
Task force chairman Steven Goode anticipates the issue will impact the university but it is too soon to tell how much. Already some students and faculty say they won't feel safe if guns are allowed in dorms and classrooms.
"It's not an easy task," said Goode.
UT will also have to file a report with the legislature to make them aware of any campus carry regulations that have been enacted on campus.