UT System Chancellor: campus carry could disrupt faculty recruitment

University of Texas System Chancellor Admiral William McRaven argues that campus carry could disrupt universities’ ability to recruit and retain faculty as well as force tuition increases state-wide.

In a letter distributed earlier this week among state congressmen, McRaven claimed the passage of Senate Bill 11 (SB 11), which would allow concealed weapons inside college campus buildings, “may well cause faculty to be discouraged from relocating from other states.”

McRaven’s letter, written in April, was distributed to the congressmen the day before SB11 was scheduled for debate on the House floor.

The Houston Chronicle previously reported that the gun legislation would cost approximately $47 million over six years in order to accommodate new weapon storage facilities and increased campus security.

According to the Houston Chronicle, McRaven’s letter also included suggestions for how to improve the Senate bill. One request he made was banning handguns in campus buildings that house mental health and crisis counseling centers. Other dissenters have called for an opt-out clause.

Madi Bixler, Vice President of the University of Texas at Dallas chapter of Network of enlightened Women (NeW), told Campus Reform she believes campus carry would affect faculty recruitment positively because more conservative minded professors would be hired.

Bixler argued that, “[w]ith proper budgeting and the elimination of certain expenditures in the university's budget, this [tuition hikes] shouldn't be an issue.”

She also suggested that lawmakers should allow for an opt-out clause for both public and private universities if it were necessary for the bill to pass.

In March, student gun activists from the University of Texas at Dallas were blocked by a police officer from gathering petition signatures and recruiting new members to their NeW chapter.

“It [campus carry] allows for the protection of women on college campuses from the threat of rape,” Bixler said. “One in four college girls will be raped or molested in their college years. As VP of NeW, this is one of the main concerns we are trying to communicate.”

SB11 passed a preliminary vote in the Texas House last night,101-47. Two amendments were adopted, though, which would require private universities to enforce the legislation as well as allow each campus to determine where the concealed handguns would be allowed.

If the bill passes the House again, its final details will be negotiated between the House and Senate. In order for the legislation to be signed into law, an approved bill must be sent to Gov. Greg Abbott (R) by June 1.

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