marketplace.org‘s got its knickers in a twist about the imminent arrival of campus carry to The Lone Star State. Never mind that these institutions of higher learning are creating rules that make it damn near impossible for legal concealed carriers to go about their business throughout their day. (Open carry? Don’t be ridiculous!) To make their point that campus carry is a threat — rather than a defense against threats — writer Amy Scott offers the following evidence . . .
I just didn’t think that was appropriate, to have firearms, concealed or not, in classrooms and other learning environments,” said Fritz Steiner, dean of the School of Architecture.
Steiner is leaving Texas for a new post at the University of Pennsylvania, partly because of the new gun law. An architecture class might seem like the last place someone would reach for gun, but it’s an intense and competitive environment, where, Steiner said, professors critique students on very personal work.
“Anyone who’s ever taken an examination or defended a thesis or a dissertation knows those are stressful situations,” he said. “I don’t think that having a firearm present when one is involved in a very emotional interchange is a good idea.”
We’ve already highlighted Dean Steiner’s “partial” protest against campus carry. But his fear of gunplay during thesis and dissertation review is worth revisiting, singular as it is. But wait! There’s more! Sort of . . .
Another popular professor, of economics, has also left. At the University of Houston, the head of the faculty senate recently advised fellow professors to limit their office hours, be careful discussing sensitive topics and not, “go there” if they sensed anger. A slide from the presentation ended up on Twitter.
Pharmacology professor Andrea Gore, chair of the faculty council at UT-Austin, said she doesn’t plan to change the way she teaches anatomy and physiology.
“But I have heard from my colleagues that some of them are going to be much more cautious about taking more provocative points of view,” she said.
Gore also worries that some of the state’s best and brightest students might opt for private colleges, which are exempt from the law, or go out of state.
“When you hear from students or you hear from their parents, which I have, that they’re not going to go to a public university anymore in the state of Texas,” she said, “that translates into many people who are never going to come back to Texas because they establish roots somewhere else.”
Good riddance? Meanwhile, I wonder what Professor Gore means by “provocative points of view” that could result in armed confrontation. Liberal ideas? Conservative ideas? As far as I remember, the most prominent aspect of university instruction was sheer boredom. And if a student did go crazy (out of the blue, unlike the Virginia Tech shooter), I’d like someone to be armed nearby. Anyway . . .
Even those who oppose the law concede its day-to-day impact could be minimal. More than half of UT’s 50-thousand students are under 21 and too young to qualify, said Goode.
“We’re talking about somewhere between half a percent and one percent of our students we anticipate will have licenses,” he said. “That doesn’t mean they’ll all carry their handguns on campus.”
Still, when he looks out into his classroom next fall, he said he won’t help but wonder who’s packing.
So even without mentioning Utah’s no-problem history of campus carry, what’s up with all this talk of “bracing”?