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The Source: Guns Are Coming To College Campuses, But Where On Campus Still On Table

handgun_revolver-flickr_user_David_Trawin-trawin.jpg
Flickr user David Trawin (trawin)
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Last week, the Faculty Senate at the University of Texas at San Antonio voted unanimously, 33-0, to among other things urge Ricardo Romo to make classrooms, faculty offices and research labs gun-free zones. The UTSA President is empowered to set the policy by the same law making it legal for concealed gun permit holders to carry the weapons on campus.

"Guns are not a tool  for arming students with the reason and the arguments and the ability to engage those arguments that we are really trying to achieve there," says Walt Wilson, professor of political science at UTSA.

University presidents across Texas are designing policies right now to be implemented August 1, 2016. Representative Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) wrote in some of the language allowing policies to be set on a campus by campus basis. He has been working with students and faculty to ensure their voices are being  heard by university presidents. 

"The President is in control. The President sets the policy, and the President must work with local leaders to come up with a local and organic process," says Martinez-Fischer.

Students like Kevin Hernandez are also pushing to keep guns out of classrooms, he co-founded Students for Gun Awareness.

"We want guns out of classrooms for the same reason you don't want them in stadiums, there are too many people in too small an area," says Hernandez.

Other students like undergraduate Ivy Girard are happy about the changing law, and welcome the possibility of being able to carry a concealed weapon for her safety.

"Especially as a female, traditionally physically a little bit weaker, I think it is important for me to have that right."

Where guns are allowed on campus will be a continuing battle across the state, as presidents make their decisions.

Guests:

  • Trey Martinez Fischer, State Representative for District 116
  • Ivy Girard, Undergraduate Student at UTSA and a member of Students for Concealed Carry
  • Kevin Hernandez, Graduate student at UTSA and co-founder for Students for Gun Awareness
  • Walt Wilson, professor of Political Science
Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive