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As you’re probably aware, Texas’s new campus carry law has caused some sturm und drang amongst the compassionate class who mold minds full of mush on the state’s publicly funded campuses. Efforts to split the civil rights baby while staying in compliance with the law (and, not incidentally, maintaining the funding flow from a very pro-carry legislature) haven’t please anyone really.

Now, as the fall semester approaches, there’s this:

Three University of Texas professors have filed a federal lawsuit to halt a state law that would allow holders of concealed handgun licenses to bring pistols into classrooms, saying the measure would have a devastating effect on academic discourse.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. district court in Austin on Wednesday, comes just weeks before the law takes effect on Aug. 1. It allows license holders 21 and older to bring handguns into classrooms and buildings throughout the University of Texas system, one of the nation’s largest, with an enrollment of more than 214,000 students.

The legal argument the plaintiffs hang their case on revolves around their First Amendment rights:

“Compelling professors at a public university to allow, without any limitation or restriction, students to carry concealed guns in their classrooms chills their First Amendment rights to academic freedom,” according to the lawsuit, whose defendants include the state’s attorney general, the school’s president and university’s board of regents.

Reuters is quick to remind readers that,

The Texas law takes effect on the 50th anniversary of one of the deadliest U.S. gun incidents on a U.S. college campus: student Charles Whitman killed 16 people by firing from a perch atop the clock tower at the University of Texas at Austin.

The defendants — who include include Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, the school’s president Greg Fenves and university’s board of regents — say they’re reviewing the suit.

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73 Responses to The Empire Strikes Back: UT Profs Sue to Prevent Campus Carry

  1. You have no “first amendment right to academic freedom”. Case dismissed, plaintiffs are found in contempt of court and sentenced to 30 day. Next case.

  2. If you are a college professor, you are likely to be a left-wing fruit, a petty dictator and a little tin god who controls the grades and exploits your situational power to make up for your lack of actual accomplishments. And you’re a Democrat.

    They’d make perfect politicians, no?

    • That matches 110% my experience w/ academia, back when I attended university in the ’90s.
      I assume it’s only gotten worse. They’re not a sanctuary for open discussion, disagreement and exchange of opinions. They’re sheep factories – with professors, for the most part, being “think as I do – or else”.

      • It has absolutely gotten worse. The classroom is no longer (as if it ever was) a bastion of debate. There are flat out opinions being spouted as truth and political dogma being propagated as the end all be all of belief. If challenged, the challenger is simply ‘not enlightened’ and can be brushed off as an old world thinker who is probably any host of “ists” that can be associated to someone of our persuasion.

        • I am an engineer. Unfortunately I had to take some liberal arts courses, such as sociology, to graduate. Yes, I had some leftists, but at least one of mine was willing to let you argue that his curriculum was nonsense. 🙂

        • That’s why I took my required “liberal arts” courses in military history. It’s kind of hard to put a SJW angle on Waterloo.

      • But, clearly these heroic three professors believe in free speech. These, at least, would allow free exchange of ideas in their classrooms. That’s how it works, right?

    • Perhaps all of the would-be-carrying students should sue the professors out of there ability to set grades? Afterall, the threat of a bad grade must surely chill the speech and “academic freedom” of the students.

      What petty little tyrants academia is full of.

      • The fact that they determine grades definitely determines academic discourse and diversity. If you know your professor has certain convictions, when you are doing your coursework, term papers etc, you are going to write what you know your professor will agree with, especially in more open-ended disciplines that make up humanities. You’re paying a ton of money to leave college with a degree. The difference is understanding that you are going along with this professor for a grade and not actually beginning to mimic what these professors profess as gospel.

        • Totally agree. I had a Constitutional Law professor who refused to grade any brief that was in disagreement with her view of the Constitution. Students just spewed back her liberal crap for a B or A and went on to another class. Total waste of time and $.

        • Precisely. Why squander your chances of a degree by arguing with some liberal professor, who is in actuality as narrow-minded as the right wing zealots that they profess to be so much more enlightened than. It really does a disservice to the students and their education. I was lucky enough to have some professors and teachers throughout my life that as long as you could logically and intellectually defend your position backed by facts then they’d give you a good grade, regardless of whether they agreed with you or not.

  3. They are either delusional or grandstanding. I doubt that the Federal court will even accept jurisdiction at least until their suit is tossed by a State court.

    • Depends on who hears the case. There are judges who respect rule of law and decide accordingly. And there are judges who pay lip service to rule of law and decide according to personal ideology.

  4. The premise is absurd. To ensure their first amendment rights as they are presenting them essentially everyone they encounter must be cuffed, shackled before spoken to.

    Thinking back to my college years I’m guessing this is what educators have been wanting all along.

    Pay $30,000, get hogtied and have somebody who couldn’t accomplish anything in their own life yell at you for 3 credits.

    • It is absurd, as a natural Right cannot by definition be extended to the point that is places a burden on another natural Right.

      • You mean like homosexuals forcing bakers to bake a cake for them with certain graphics on it? Or Christian matchmaking websites being forced to include homosexual searches? Or…

        • Well taken point. The examples you cite (government forcing people to violate their conscience) are as offensive examples as being forced to pay tax money to people who use government power and prestige to push religion.

          I have no idea if you’d agree with that, but if someone were to put a gun to my ear and make me take an even bet, my choice, I’d wager you don’t. Hope I’m wrong.

        • There are endless examples of teachers in “public” (i.e., government schools, supported with tax money) schools attempting to indoctrinate students, people posting bible verses on official government sites, and other sorts of things, including religious displays in parks. These are all technically illegal under present law (as they violate the freedom of conscience of some of the people subject to that government), but the hue and cry when someone complains–that religious liberty is being interfered with–is deafening. (Sorry. It’s not part of “religious freedom” to use the government, tax money, and other government resources that non-or-different believers have to pay for as well, as a megaphone. There are plenty of non-governmental, non-coercively financed avenues for evangelizing; if someone tries to stomp on those, I’ll be on the religious person’s side.)

          And of course, there’s the ubiquitous example of “In God We Trust” being placed on money and many government buildings largely (but not entirely) since some jackwagon Congress decided to make it the national motto in the 1950s (supplementing or displacing “E Pluribus Unum”). Those are clearly done under color of law, but it’s still promoting religion with government resources and should not be legal.

    • Whitman was shot and killed by Officer Houston McCoy. Officers Ramiro Martinez, and Jerry Day, as well as Allen Crum (a civilian) were also in on the takedown. Martinez initially tried to take all the credit for stopping Whitman. In fact, he emptied his revolver at Whitman at 15 yards and missed every single shot. After that, McCoy blew Whitman away with a 12 gauge. Which didn’t stop Martinez from claiming “I got him!”

    • Multiple students retrieved their hunting rifles and finally put suppression fire on Whitman which vastly slowed down Whitman’s attack. While Whitman was dodging return fire from students on the ground, I believe three cops and one civilian “stormed the castle” and shot Whitman at close range at the top of the clock tower building.

      • Bet at least one of those students wished he had an “evil assault rifle”… You know, for superior suppression capability.

        New answer for why I NEED a machine-gun.

  5. Maybe I’m missing something. What is this “Right to academic freedom”, and why does it trump the Right to bear arms?

    Another leftist tantrum, pining for autocratic rule (that favors there view). This is almost as bad as the people who voted remain in the Brexit referendum saying their voces weren’t heard and therefore democracy needs to be done away with….but only almost.

  6. That sign on the front right is so mind blowingly ignorant… how could anyone be that stupid? Literally no country, developed or not, is “gun free”, and I can only think of 2 OECD countries that ban civilian gun ownership.

    Also, “trigger warnings” shouldn’t be a thing; literal, figurative or otherwise.

    So. Fucking. Stupid.

    • Yep those signs definitely made me think: “Smug Alert!” Also the way it actually kind of works in the world is that criminals, in general, target those who are perceived to weaker and less likely to fight back. That is why if a crook doesn’t have a gun they will rob a petite female over a strapping young lad with muscles. That is why if they know people most likely are not carrying due to statute, then nobody is safe (guns being the great equalizer and all). Ergo, if there is a decent chance that a potential victim is carrying, criminals are less likely to victimize. That is kind of how the world works.

  7. Wasn’t the UT clock tower shooter taken down (or at least forced to take cover) by students who retrieved rifles from their dorm rooms?

      • The civilian was Allen Crum, who was a 40 year old retired Air Force tail gunner. He wasn’t a student, but he did work at the University co-op.

        Officer Martinez tried to take credit for stopping Whitman, but none of his shots hit the Tower shooter. Officer McCoy killed Whitman with a 12 gauge.

    • I don’t recall if they were students or not. But local citizens rode to the sound of the guns with their rifles. Mostly hunting rifles. In those days the cops had revolvers and shotguns. Which were pretty useless against the tower.

      While the citizens engaged the shooter the cops and at least one citizen assualted up the tower. I was thinking the one citizen was a shop owner.

      • Allen Crum was the floor manager of the University co-op.

        Citizens with their deer rifles who responded to the emergency prevented a lot more deaths by keeping Whitman pinned down. Unfortunately, Whitman had the high ground and was a fantastic shot.

  8. “Most of the world is a gun-free zone.” Yes, buttercup, and how is that working in Paris? Brussels? Honduras?

    • Additionally most, in fact all of the world does not come with trigger warnings and safe spaces. Grow up and deal with it.

  9. These ivory tower professors obviously haven’t taken the time to consider that campus CC isn’t about them- it is about the safety of students on campus. It has nothing to do with them and their academic opinions in their classrooms. This imposition of academic discourse argument is total garbage. I went to a large, public, state university and majored in public history (which is a B.S. go figure). As one would imagine I took plenty of history courses along the way, including black history classes taught by a black professor, a women in American history course taught by a feminist, American military history course taught by a Vietnam vet and other courses taught by Japanese, Canadian, European immigrants, young and old professors. Not only was discourse 100% civil at all times, but even when people were debating with the professors (you know, having a “conversation”) and ending at loggerheads, nobody was visibly irate, angry or in any way hostile in their demeanor. So why do these professors think otherwise sensible, mature students who are capable of academic discourse will suddenly become violent fascists who will lash out violently simply because they are legally CC’ing? By the way, people were CC’ing on campuses before they were legally able to.

  10. I’m not going to lie. Back in the day, when I was at the university – sure I was good at math, and was enrolled in a tough program (electrical engineering), but otherwise I was a naive dumb shit. Which is exactly what these kids are. Campus carry is nothing new and was permitted even before the legislation took effect. The only change was that dorms and classrooms, etc, now permit it by law. Guns were always allowed on campus. Furthermore, you have to be over 21 in order to get permitted. That excludes most freshmen/sophomores, etc. They have no empirical, pragmatic evidence to suggest that this addition freedom, which is what it is, will incur a negative in lieu of a positive outcome. Their default mentality is to fall back on their indoctrinated experience provided courtesy of our social liberal extremist media and liberal government school systems to believe that firearms, regardless of their use, is deserving of negative reception.

  11. These professors are merely projecting. If THEY carried a gun and someone disagreed with them, they’d shoot the upstart. They think the responsible concealed carry students are as unstable as they are.

  12. Not surprised at all…

    I work with professors and lawyers nearly everyday. Law professors being the lowest common denominator of the two BTW. They all nearly universally exhibit the following traits:

    1. Absolute disbelief that people without multiple degrees can be functioning human beings.
    2. Modern society would cease functioning if not for their, as in theirs alone, precious gift of wisdom.
    3. If they think it, it is infallible truth.

    Given the above and the fact nobody questions their wisdom/authority within their comfortable bubble, a lawsuit is not at all surprising.

  13. OK, I’ve just read the complaint. In the opinion of this attorney, it’s complete and utter garbage:

    1. Count 1 asserts a first amendment violation because CC purportedly chills their “right to academic freedom.” No such first amendment right has ever been recognized by any court.

    2. Count 2 asserts, incredibly, that CC violates the SECOND amendment because it purportedly “deprives Plaintiffs of their Second Amendment right to defend themselves and others in their classrooms from handgun violence by compelling them as public employees to passively acquiesce in the presence of loaded weaponry in their place of public employment without the individual possession and use of such weaponry in public being well-regulated.” OK, right. Needless to say, no court has ever even remotely suggested such an interpretation of the Second Amendment.

    3. Count 3 asserts an equal protection violation, asserting that there is “no rational basis for the division in the state’s policies between where concealed carry is permitted and where it may be prohibited.” Another complete loser; heck, if that works, then it ought to mean that CC is permitted everywhere under Texas law.

    4. Count 4 asserts that the CC statute violates due process because it is purportedly void for vagueness. Sorry, but thanks for playing.

    This case has been assigned to Judge Lee Yeakel (Bush 2 appointee), who is no fool.

    I predict this case will likely be dismissed on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. If I was representing any of the defendants (which, of course, I do not), I would be sending the three attorneys who signed the pleading a Rule 11 motion and putting them on notice that if they do not withdraw the pleading, sanctions will be sought against them.

    BTW, the plaintiffs are:

    Jennifer Lynn Glass — Sociology Professor
    http://liberalarts.utexas.edu/sociology/faculty/jg47972

    Lisa Moore — English Professor
    http://liberalarts.utexas.edu/english/faculty/moorell

    Mia Carter — English Professor
    http://liberalarts.utexas.edu/english/faculty/carterme

    • Thanks, for the break-down.

      2 was hillarious – i think I pulled a muscle trying to follow the reasoning.

    • I say let them proceed with item #3 for the exact reason that you give in the last sentence……. “Shall NOT be infringed”.

    • The first cause of action might be construed as attempting to state a claim under the free speech aspect of the first amendment, “academic freedom” being equated with freedom to say what they wish. Thus, (the argument goes) they are impeded in speaking freely because of a fear that an angry student may shoot them. Leaving aside the obvious logical flaws and lack of factual basis, the claim fails to state a cause of action because students are not state actors–and the First protects only against governmental/state restrictions on speech.

  14. Another ironic aspect of this lawsuit is that the plaintiffs are basing the suit, in part, on the Second Amendment. They claim that the “well-regulated militia” clause of the 2A requires license holders to be well trained.
    From https://www.texastribune.org/2016/07/06/3-ut-austin-professors-sue-state-over-campus-carry/:
    “If the state is to force them to admit guns into their classrooms, then the officials responsible for the compulsory policy must establish that there is a substantial reason for the policy and that their regulation of the concealed carrying of handguns on college campuses is ‘well-regulated.’ Current facts indicate that they cannot do so.”

  15. Since a given class might contain a concealed carrier student who might shoot someone over a philosophical disagreement (though that hasn’t happened), we must ban concealed carry on campus?

    OK.

    Since a given class might contain an ISIS lone wolf who might shoot someone over a philosophical disagreement, we must ban Muslims on campus?

    Oh, your rabid anti-constitutional bigotry doesn’t extend quite that far? Curious, that.

  16. Hey now. I thought all these hoplophobic shitheels were going to quit their jobs and retreat to their safe space? Who are they suing their former or current employer? Where do they live now? Texas? You mean they didn’t show any real conviction to their cause? Who could have guessed!

  17. Let’s be real here. First off Utah and Colorado allow campus carry and it hasn’t caused problems.

    Secondly, if these professors were above board they’d have nothing to worry about. Their concern is “students angry over grades” which in my college experience roughly translates to “I teach my opinion as fact and give lower grades to students who disagree with me. I consider it part of my academic freedom to punish students who don’t support my political views and stroke my ego. Therefore I am against people carrying scary items and consider it an infringement on my academic freedom to introduce anything into the system that might cause me to even consider grading solely on performance. I’m extremely concerned that I might pee myself if I went all petty despot like I’m used to doing and then realized a student might or might not have a gun. Sure, they won’t shoot me with it but it makes me uncomfortable to think that there’s any sort of scary items that might cause me to think twice about my actions! Simply put, I don’t like having a tiny voice in the back of my head telling me that my actions are inappropriate.”.

    • Even if you teach something totally objective, like Calculus I, and never, ever make a political side-swipe comment in a lecture, someone’s going to be pissed that you gave him a bad grade. Even if he fully deserved it. Some people are just irrational, and some irrational people might decide to “do something.”

      However, I doubt you’d have any problem with my pointing out the solution is NOT to disarm everyone who is rational.(or irrational but unwilling to turn to violence), but rather…maybe the professor who is so afraid of being attacked because of the grades he gives could a) be sure to grade objectively (reducing the chance of creating a person who has a legitimate gripe) and b) carry a gun himself.

      • There have already been cases of disgruntled students, graduates and faculty members expressing their displeasure through murder. The faculty worried about people with concealed carry permits should worry more about football players. Those guys don’t need guns. They are big enough to rip the professor’s head off and shit down his neck.

        • And steroid rage is a real thing. Oh wait, college athletes don’t use those anymore.

      • The problem is that while it’s hard to inject politics… well at least harder to inject politics into math and science every university has requirements outside your major such as a certain number of language or humanities classes.

        My university required the credits from 32 regular classes and 2 PE classes for graduation. Were there no BS requirements for taking “social studies” one could theoretically attain four majors in the hard sciences.

        • Not really germane to the actual point, which is that, regardless of why the bad grade might be given, there’s no call to disarm everyone because SOMEONE–who, mind you, had to pass the requirement for a Texas permit–might be unhappy enough with his grade to shoot. (A gun carried on campus by a non-permit-holder would not be blocked by overturning this law.)

          But…I had to take 30 hours (the equivalent of one regular year, though my major required 136 credit hours, not 120) of “Social Humanistic Electives” No more than 6 could be a foreign language. 6 *had* to be English Lit.

          When I tell you I did my undergraduate time at CU Boulder (“Berkeley By The Mountains”) and managed to meet this requirement WITHOUT being subjected to massive leftist proselytizing you will probably call bullshit. But I did it this way:

          Six hours of English Lit–Did it in high school with advanced placement.

          five hours of a foreign language. Even though it was Russian and we got old copies of Pravda to read, that doesn’t count, really; the prof didn’t expect us to believe it, just translate it.

          3 hours microeconomics–Not really ripe for leftist indoctrination.

          3 hours macroeconomics–I took that at the Colorado Springs extension one summer, and THAT department was conservative. Hell, one lecture we watched an episode of “Free To Choose”

          Wow, seven to go.

          Introduction to logic, truly basic stuff from the philosophy department. Amazing to see logic used in a “liberal art.” He went after a lot of relativistic nonsense (“That may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.”)

          Finally, for my last four hours, an upper division political science class. Now at UCB that should be a frigging commiefest, but THIS instructor had fought both the Nazis and Soviets in WWII (he was born in Poland), and was thoroughly anti-communist. The class was titled “Soviet Foreign Policy” and Professor Edward Rozek pulled no punches. The left on campus hated him and even tried to frame him for embezzling. Anyhow, four hour class.

          Done: No serious proselytizing.

    • Texas has extremely favorable defensive gun use laws. Castle Doctrine, Stand Your Ground, Defense of Property that protects your right to shoot a burglar or a robber if you don’t think you’re likely to get your property back, non-deadly force being justified for theft, just off the top of my head.

      There’s kind of no point to owning guns if you’re not allowed to actually use them to protect yourself.

      • Texas is indeed strong about laws regarding the keeping and use of arms. You’ve highlighted the use of arms, but not really answered the objection you were responding to.

        It’s less good (but improving) on when/how it’s legal to bear them. Under the 2A, of course, there should be no restriction whatsoever on keeping and bearing (government may regulate use, of course, and does so when it prohibits shooting people for no good reason).

        But yes. If you can manage to have the gun with you, you now have favorable rules to work with.

  18. College professor first amendment logic:

    1. “Free speech zones” are acceptable.
    2. Speech codes prohibiting a broad interpretation of “hate speech” (doesn’t exist as a legal concept) are acceptable.
    3. Working to prevent conservatives from speaking on campuses is acceptable.
    4. Revoking the ability of republican organizations to gather on campuses is acceptable. (UC Irvine)
    5. Failing students with differing opinion is acceptable.

    However:

    1. Licensed carriers 21 and over are a threat to free speech.
    2. Licences carriers that have undergone a background check w/ a mental health component are a threat to free speech.
    3. Licensed carriers with a crime rate 1/5 that of the police that work on campus are a threat to free speech.

    • I would guess some Bloomberg front or anti-gun teachers union like the American Federation of Teachers.

  19. The Texas Legislature should give these folks some real “academic freedom” by cutting UT’s state funding to $0.

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