Rice University President David W. Lebrun (courtesy epochtimes.com)

Dear Rice Colleagues and Students:

As you may recall, last spring the Texas Legislature passed and the governor signed Texas Senate Bill 11 on “campus carry.” This bill generally allows individuals with concealed handgun licenses to carry a weapon on college campuses. The bill authorizes “a private or independent institution of higher education in this state, after consulting with students, staff and faculty of the institution, [to] establish rules . . . prohibiting license holders from carrying handguns on the campus of the institution.” Thus although ultimately the decision on whether to allow guns on campus for a private institution is to be made by the administration of that institution, such a decision can only be made . . .

after the required consultation.

I write today to share my decision, based on an extensive consultation process that included many of you, to maintain Rice University’s policy of a gun-free campus. To do so, we are exercising the “opt out” provision of this new state law.

My decision was informed by a working group led by Vice President for Administration Kevin Kirby that consulted with the Faculty Senate, Staff Advisory Committee, Student Association and Graduate Student Association about whether Rice should opt out of allowing concealed weapons on campus. Each of those organizations consulted with their members and collected feedback through online surveys and meetings. They shared that feedback with the working group, and the decision or sentiment expressed by each of these groups was overwhelmingly in favor of Rice exercising its ability under the legislation to opt out.

Many of the comments submitted were very passionate, reflecting a belief that guns on our campus would make the campus less safe and harm our national and international reputation. Some parents also wrote in to oppose guns on our
campus. In addition, the two most relevant groups on our campus in terms of addressing the risks and benefits of this decision, the Rice University Police Department and professionals from Student Health Services and the Counseling Center, were consulted and strongly urged that we exercise the opt-out provision.

In sum, not a single constituency consulted has endorsed having guns on our campus; in fact, each overwhelming opposed it. Maintaining the safety of our students and employees is our highest priority. There is no evidence that allowing the carrying of guns on our campus will make the campus safer, and the most knowledgeable professional groups believe that guns will make campuses less safe. I agree with that conclusion, and we will therefore retain our current policy prohibiting weapons on our campus. The Rice University Police Department is trained and fully capable of doing its part to keep this campus safe. [Click here to read Rice’s weapons prohibition policy.]

I am tremendously grateful for the thoughtful and comprehensive way the working group and representative organizations went about this important process. Thank you again for contributing to this process and the outcome.

President David W. Leebron

62 Responses to Rice University President David W. Lebrun: Why Rice Will Remain a ‘Gun Free’ Zone

  1. “In sum, not a single constituency consulted has endorsed having guns on our campus; in fact, each overwhelming opposed it.”

    They didn’t invite me. Talk about cherry picking.

  2. I’m happy for them. It sounds like not a single person disagreed with the decision they had already made before asking anyone.

    Now, if you will excuse me I have to go take my diploma from Rice off the wall and put something else up in it’s place. I don’t want people thinking I am part of or support that kind of stupidity.

    • I want to make a rice burner joke but it’s not coming together for me right now. I should probably get back to doing my final now.

    • Look at the stats–the violent crime rate is pretty low. 5 rapes in 3 years, a couple of assaults. Most of the crime was burglary (44) and auto thefts (5), plus 17 “liquor law” violations. I think that campus is pretty dang safe when it comes to violent crime.

      • Well, we do have to be careful with relying on university crime stats. I don’t know about Rice per se, but I do have specific knowledge of at least one university sweeping under the rug serious crimes so parents would not find out and pull their “children” out.

      • They may not have a problem with peeping Toms, either, but that’s no justification for banning curtains from campus.

        A person’s right right self defense is independent of social utility arguments.

  3. So all the gun haters can enroll in a gun free environment. And jihadi john and jihadi jane will know where to find a shit load of helpless victims.

  4. Rice is an engineering/science school, no? You would think they would have better sense. Then again, maybe they attract the strictly-theoretical types who live in a world of their own making?

    • I graduated from a Science and Engineering school and they are still are a gun-free zone.
      Back then it didn’t matter much to me.
      Since then, they have had several break-ins and robberies.
      Today, that would be a deal-breaker.
      As a matter of fact, if I were starting all over, I would consider graduating from an on-line school.
      Heck, you can get a legitimate Law Degree completely online today.
      Technical and Science needs Hands-on lab time, which you can’t get online.
      Computer Science? IDK.
      I think there are a list of Campus Carry schools.
      That would be MY first goto list.

    • It’s a darned good engineering school, too. And, from what I have seen, with a generally practical and pragmatic bent. Furthermore, it is oil heavy enough that many graduates 1) Are already fine with not being liberal-PC (polluters….) and 2) will spend their lives fever degrees of separation from Middle Eastern terror meccas, than from Kevin Bacon. Choosing to go to Texas for college rather than some liberal Ivy (They got into Rice,…), you’d think students would generally want the whole gun culture as part of the experience.

      While many may have been “consulted”, the only ones with a realistic say, would be paying parents and actual/potential donors. Like most else, decisions like this comes down to follow the money. No matter how dumb that money may be.

      • Texas has less of a gun culture than you’d think. Remember that the right to carry a concealed weapon is only about 20 years old and open carry is very recent. Sure, outside the cities, a hunting rifle or shotgun is hardly noticed, but take a stroll through downtown Houston or Dallas with an AR on your shoulder and you’ll definitely raise eyebrows.

    • Maybe. After all, three of the five most popular undergraduate majors at Rice are engineering majors. Another is a science major. Interestingly, rounding out the top five is psychology. Go figure.

      Still, those top five majors only comprise about one-third of undergraduates. Rice has plenty of room for typical, liberal claptrap. For example, it’s possible for a bright young mind at Rice to graduate having majored in “Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality”, with a minor in “Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities.”

      If you’re going to do that, I say save yourself the 40 grand per year and just read Huff Po obsessively.

    • If a young person graduates in today’s world with a PhD in engineering or science and wants to become a college professor, it would be career suicide to take a job in the industry. Think about that for a minute. They do not want actual experience anywhere on campus. “A world of their own making” is an understatement about today’s academia.

  5. My daughter attends Rice , final Semester , thank God .
    Well it’s nice to be able to put a face on one of the first who will be sorry if she is attacked and God forbid , hurt or killed , while attending this institution of lower learning .
    Good job folks and please pray along with me for my baby’s safety while under your umbrella of protection because if X#$ZGT$#NUU , then *JHBD$%34s%gh& , get it .
    Just sayin .
    I am tired of the insanity .
    NWOD EDISPU

  6. It should have been included in the Texas law that if a university “opted out” of the campus carry law it would be required to post giant 30.06 signs at every street entrance onto the campus.

    Just as members of anti-2A groups should be required to post “No guns here” signs on their front lawns.

  7. Leebron should hang a sign over the front gate: “Welcome, Jihadists and Mentally-Ill Murderers! Please register with the University police to avoid conflicts with other jihadists and mentally-ill murderers. Don’t be disappointed — register now.”

    • I expect it should read “Not one constituent GROUP”. Seems highly unlikely that there was zero dissent and more likely that they assumed democratic principles where if they had a 50% plus one vote majority the entire group was considered in favor. Dissension is only a factor if it is acknowledged.

  8. Great. Now, how is he planning to enforce this? I really don’t care about 30.06 signs, I have walked past many while armed, because concealed means concealed. I’m talking about real protection, metal detectors manned by armed guards at every entrance to every building on campus. If he is not planning to get right on that, then he is a moron or a liar.

    I really have no objection to “gun free” zones, as long as they actually ARE. Give me a locker to store my EDC, right beside the metal detector, with seriously armed guards present in a quantity that lets me know they will actually prevent armed attack, and I will go along without protest. But waving a magic wand followed by proclaiming a “gun-free zone” is gonna see me carrying, if I am present. Prosecute me? I demand a jury trial tomorrow, with a public defender. That is what is promised to each of us, yet no one ever asks for it. Jury trial, speedy trial, attorney provided. That is in the constitution! When did it last happen?

    • Gun Free Zones with metal detectors?

      I visited a Social Security office in Tacoma Washington where they had three ARMED TSA Agents manning the metal detector at the door. Bad-Ass Iraq veteran-looking type dudes. However, the metal detector was set up inside the waiting room entrance. None of the guards had eyes on the 150 people waiting in line before they turned the corner to enter the waiting area. There were double glass doors at each end of the hallway through which shooters could have entered un-noticed except for the screaming of the victims in the hallway and reached the waiting room entrance within seconds. The ONLY thing those guards could have protected were the SS employees and those people lucky enough to already have entered the waiting room. The rest of us were sitting ducks.

      These bureaucrats, and the administrators of Rice don’t give a damn about the students – their concern is for their own safety while on campus and for security theater to make it look as though they are doing something when the inevitable lawsuits are filed. And their defense when students are raped or robbed or murdered will be “We were following the law – case dismissed.”

  9. Another idiot with a diploma. My beloved father-in-law (God rest his soul) would be embarrassed for his alma mater. Too many of these bleeting pansy liberals remain in Texas.

  10. I never saw a single metal detector or armed check point while I was in college… What doesn’t the “C” in “CHL” stand for again?

    • The risk is that if anything ever happens, like if you trip and fall and have to go to the hospital, or a cop does a terry stop or some bratty kid pulls your shirt up, you might lose your gun rights completely. Not worth it to me.

        • My understanding is that this would be the same as ignoring a 30.06 sign. Class A misdemeanor – potential one year/$4000/lose your LTC.

        • Ignoring a 30.06 sign is criminal trespassing, generally a class C misdemeanor (up to six months and/or up to $2,000, plus lose your license).

          Carrying in a statutory gun free zone, where no signage is even required, such as on university premises, is worse: third degree felony (two to ten years, and all the rest that accompanies a felony).

        • The 30.06 is an A (30.06(e)). I believe it is trespassing by not leaving when asked that is the C, which is a fine and no jail or loss of license.

          Either way, violating the legal request of a property owner/tenant is disrespectful and represents the community poorly.

        • Short term gain, long term loss.

          Let’s say you ignore a 30.06 and carry anyway. Your shirt catches and is pulled up or you are otherwise revealed. You are now charged and convicted of a Class A misdemeanor.

          To protect yourself in one instance, you have given up the ability to legally carry for at least five years (part of which may be a jail sentence).

        • You say what if you get it caught with it, I say what if you get caught without it.

          You see things your way, I’ll see them mine.

  11. Gun free zone = Self defense free zone.

    If you refuse to let me protect myself then you are responsible for my protection.

    That would be a fun lawsuit.

    • Who is forcing you to step foot on campus? If you don’t like their rules, go somewhere else. Private property is private property.

      • Many campuses are NOT private property. Rice is, but many that are active in this debate are not.

        And the larger question is that even if Rice is ostensibly private, is that school receiving public money in the form of grants. If so, well, then the “private” line gets blurred a bit.

        Keep in mind that a federal research grant includes line items that got to support staff (secretaries and the like), physical plant support and utilities. Any grant money they receive is “private” money they don’t have to use in those line items.

        • ” If so, well, then the “private” line gets blurred a bit.”

          That’s how Fascist states always operate.Property is ostensibly “private”, but everyone is made dependent on the state, hence are, in pratice, force tom walk the line. Universities receiving grants, doctors and gunshops being “licensed” etc. Private homeowners receiving mortgage tax breaks, Fed subsidized interest loans etc., etc. Churches being sued over doctrine/policy…

          The two original faces of progressivism, communism and fascism, in practice amount to pretty much the same. The differences are merely formal; so that those who get turned on by “traditional” institutions can be suckered into believing that one party is on their side, while those turned on by “radicalism” can pretend someone is in their corner. While in reality, there is no real difference. No state will ever do any “good,” as there are no good things a state can do. The best any of them can do, is be small enough that they can’t do much of anything, including the evil that they so desperately wish to engage in.

  12. Has there ever been a suit brought against any powers-that-be after an attack in a gun free zone? Sorry for the clumsy wording, but I’m trying to ascertain if there can be any recourse for somebody who may have had a concealed carry permit, but couldn’t carry on a campus (or someplace similarly restricting) and suffered under an active shooter situation, where they may have been able to defend themselves had they been armed?

  13. Why aren’t we holding these idiots RESPONSIBLE for these sort of decisions? If they choose to create a ‘victim zone’ by banning concealed carry – why in the hell aren’t they being sued for every dollar they have every made plus a couple of million? In the military, we were always told… ‘the right to self defense is never denied’. Apparently, these idiots didn’t get the briefing.

  14. All private schools will ban guns because of the potential liability. That’s a no-brainer. Until they aren’t given a choice, they will opt for the lesser liability.

    That means if there’s ever a shooting on a gun banned campus, the victims need to sue, and win, to reverse the liability equation.

  15. So it is legal for an unelected official to deny the civil rights of citizens in a public space? Color me confused.

    Why havent 563 lawsuits been filed here?

      • Again, a private school that is (most likely) receiving federal research grant money. That blurs the line a lot.

        • It does, but shouldn’t. Private property is still private property. If the feds want to give them money should not give them absolute control over everything they do or say. This is how despotism is formed, as we’re seeing.

          That is, legally you are correct that federal and state grants legally give the feds and the state great power over them, but morally it shouldn’t. It seems to me that the Texas legislature acted on the moral side of the equation when they made the exemption. I don’t like a lof of that, but I defend property rights with as much zeal as I do gun rights.

        • “That is, legally you are correct that federal and state grants legally give the feds and the state great power over them, but morally it shouldn’t.”

          I’m not arguing that the feds giving them money should be grounds for less “private” to their private property by accepting the status quo.

          I’d rather we get rid of the federal granting system AND all it’s strings. One argument is if research is important, a willing investor should not be that hard to find.

          But, these private schools want it both ways. They want all the “rights and privileges” of being private while accepting what often amounts to nothing more than graft from the public trough. The way some profs and grad students spend “other people’s money” is pretty immoral, whether the ground they stand on is “private property” or not.

  16. There is no evidence that allowing the carrying of guns on our campus will make the campus safer, and the most knowledgeable professional groups believe that guns will make campuses less safe.

    Plenty of knowledgeable people believe that allowing the carrying of guns on campus will make the campus safer, and the most knowledgeable professional groups have no evidence that guns will make campuses less safe.

    It looks like an impasse to me.

    So let’s take this a step further. What if someone makes the following claim:

    “There is no evidence that allowing prayer on campus will make the campus safer, and the most knowledgeable professional groups believe that prayer on campus will make campuses less safe.”

    Does that mean a ban on prayer is righteous? And since I am on the yamika kick lately, how about those? Would a ban on yamikas be kosher? (Pun intended, sorry … and I truly mean no offense to Jewish people.)

  17. So, let me summarize, if I may:

    Blah, blah, blah, special pleading, unexamined assumption. Blah, blah, unsupported claim, blah blah, bandwagon fallacy. More blah-blah. Fallacious appeal to authority, more bandwagoning. Appeal to emotion! Blah, blah, something about process, thank you very much.

    Did I miss anything?

  18. I was given my first center fire handgun at age 11. Went with it everywhere including high school (usually locked in car in a gun box), college (u c Berkeley, then Fresno state). Didn’t have a carry permit til my last year. I was raised by parents who firmly believed it was better to have and not need than need and not have at least as far as fire arms go. Ccws vary by county and city in California, not really worried about it. I have had a ccw several times, but the lack of a ccw doesn’t keep me from carrying.

  19. 11!

    At least not every mom is some “Mom’s for the destruction of everything decent”, or whatever it is they call themselves these days.

  20. Well, I went to Rice. Graduated about 30 years ago, though. I am disappointed in Leebron’s decision, but not surprised. Anyway, I wouldn’t contribute to Rice given its red light rating by FIRE (https://www.thefire.org/schools/rice-university/). So they had nothing to lose by going further left from me.

    But what I don’t understand is, if everyone is in agreement, why the ban?

  21. Rice prides itself on being “a community of curious thinkers, passionate dreamers and energetic doers who believe that improving the world demands more than bold thought and brave action. It takes unconventional wisdom.”

    Uh huh. Sooo…..I guess all those thinkers, dreamers, doers, bold and brave actors were all out sick on the day this steaming pile of a decision was made, huh?

  22. I’m not in college but if I were I would carry concealed irrespective of campus policy.

    Frankly, I don’t care what anybody thinks about my right to self-defense. I am the only one entitled to hold an opinion on it.

  23. Please, somebody email this Holiday greetings link and article to the female students at Rice (and their parents) on my behalf with my best wishes for a clear conscience if something should happen.

    Chilling moment terrified woman ran away from a stranger as he chased her through a railway station and tried to grab her keys from the ignition as she got into her car
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3344707/Woman-chased-train-platform-Birmingham-man-tried-steal-car-keys-ignition.html#readerCommentsCommand-message-field

    Merry Christmas link:

  24. Dear Dr. Leebron,
    Please quit sending recruiting material to my daughter.
    You value her life less than she and I do.

    Thanks.

    JS

  25. Rice is a private university not a state university so while I’m not a fan of gun free zones it’s their property and they should be able to dictate how they want people to conduct themselves on their property. While at the same time I can choose to not enter their property and there for not have to comply with their restrictions.

    • Yes, but sadly I cannot choose to NOT send them a portion of my family’s income to help operate their “private” university.

      Cut the strings of public grants and any financial aid/non-private scholarships that go into their coffers and they are just another business with the same rights and privileges to post 30.06 signs all they want.

      And, if they had to POST every entrance to campus and every entrance to every building, like other private businesses do, maybe some would NOT “choose” to enter…just like people do with other posted businesses.

      This “School” wants it both ways. That’s part of the problem.

  26. It’s time for parents to start voting with their wallets on where their kids go for “higher education” – and to let the Presidents and Alumni of these places know why they’re being voted against.

    Vote with your wallet, and hit them in theirs.

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