Statement of Government Department Faculty on Campus Carry

We, the forty-eight undersigned members of the faculty of the Department of Government at the University of Texas, strongly object to the campus carry legislation that will take effect next year.  We enthusiastically endorse the recently-issued statement of the American Political Science Association, the major association of political scientists in the US, opposing campus carry on the grounds of free speech and security, and calling out the Texas law in particular.

Recognizing that the law is now in its implementation stage, we ask the President of the University to establish broad exclusionary zones in which guns are banned on campus, including classrooms and faculty/TA offices, all dorms (or at least allow students to have gun-free dorm options), on-campus daycare and other child education centers, buildings that include health services, sport venues, and any building where alcohol is served.  We do so for the following reasons:

  1. The campus carry law as passed offers sufficient discretion to university officials to establish broad exclusionary zones.  Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus recently commented that the legislature gave “a lot of authority and flexibility to design a plan” to university presidents.
  2. The Campus Carry Law would have a detrimental effect on academic freedom and freedom of expression, which could be mitigated by broad exclusionary zones.  Universities are dedicated to open and frank discussions and debates over fundamental issues.  Possession of concealed handguns in this context will threaten the free discussion required for university personnel to carry out our teaching mission, particularly classroom conduct negatively.  It also has the potential of affecting the grades given by faculty due to implied threats from permit holders.
  3. Many faculty, students and staff are concerned that the Law would negatively affect campus safety, but broad exclusionary zones could offset some of those concerns. Campus police do not support campus carry based on safety concerns.   The law stipulates that exclusionary zones can be established for campus safety.  An accidental or intentional discharge of a concealed handgun could result in serious injury or death not only from the gunshot but also the resulting panic. This can happen in classes as well as hallways and offices.

Jeffrey Abramson, Professor and Fellow of the Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Chair in Government

Bethany Albertson, Assistant Professor

Zoltan Barany, Professor and Frank C. Erwin Centennial Professor

Daniel Brinks, Associate Professor and Graduate Committee Chair

Jason Brownlee, Professor

Bruce Buchanan, Professor

John Bullock, Assistant Professor

David Edwards, Professor Emeritus

Rhonda L. Evans Case, Senior Lecturer and Director, Edward A. Clark Center for Australia

and New Zealand Studies

Terrence Chapman, Associate Professor

Henry Deitz, Professor and University Distinguished Teaching Professor

David Edwards, Professor Emeritus

Zachary Elkins, Associate Professor

Michael Findlay, Associate Professor

Kenneth Greene, Associate Professor

Benjamin Gregg, Associate Professor

Gary Freeman, Professor and Former Chair of the Department

Robert Hardgrave, Jr., Louann and Larry Temple Centennial Professor Emeritus

John Higley, Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department

Juliet Hooker, Associate Professor

Wendy Hunter, Professor

Gary J. Jacobsohn, Professor, Malcolm Macdonald Professor in Constitutional and Comparative Law

Stephen Jesse, Associate Professor

Bryan Jones, Professor, J.J. “Jake” Pickle Regents’ Chair in Congressional Studies

Tse-min Lin, Associate Professor

Xiaobo Lu, Assistant Professor

Patricia Maclachlan, Associate Professor

Eric McDaniel, Associate Professor

Patrick McDonald, Associate Professor

John McIver, Senior Lecturer

Raul Madrid, Professor and Undergraduate Committee Chair

Robert Moser, Professor and Department Chair

Scott Moser, Assistant Professor

Paula Newberg, Clinical Professor and Fellow of the Charles Wilson Chair in Pakistani Studies

Ami Pedahzur, Professor

H.W. Perry, Associate Professor

Tasha S.Philpot, Associate Professor

Michael Rivera, Assistant Professor

Max Preglau, Visiting Professor

Zeynep Somer-Topcu, Assistant Professor

Bartholomew Sparrow, Professor and Associate Chair

Devin Stauffer, Associate Professor

Sean Theriault, Professor

Jeffrey Tulis, Associate Professor

Rachel Wellhausen, Assistant Professor

Kurt Weyland, Professor, Mike Hogg Professor in Liberal Arts

Christopher Wlezien, Hogg Professor of Government

Scott Wolford, Associate Professor

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