Target: Texas Governor, Greg Abbott
Goal: Repeal legislation that allows guns on college campuses, compromising safety and limiting free speech.
Students will be lawfully allowed to carry concealed guns on public and private university campuses due to a recently passed Texas law that is going into effect this summer. While gun rights advocates see this as a victory, this legislation could severely compromise a safe and open educational environment.
A recent faculty forum at the University of Houston covered safety techniques for professors. A slide from the presentation reads, “You may want to: Be careful discussing sensitive topics; Drop certain topics from your curriculum; Not ‘go there’ if you sense anger; Limit student hours of access.”
These concerns severely limit the conversations teachers feel they can safely have in class and the safety they feel when speaking privately with a student with a failing grade. Allowing guns on campus compromises the value of education while not guaranteeing safety.
Gun rights advocates often argue that in the event of a mass shooting, a bystander with a concealed weapon could quickly neutralize the shooter. However, a study performed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime shows that higher levels of gun ownership correlates with high rates of mass shootings.
Guns have devastated college campuses across the country. There is no need to put a gun advocacy agenda onto these institutions, and the focus should remain on educational integrity and safety. More than 20 private Texas universities will continue their ban on guns, including Baylor, Southern Methodist and Texas Christian Universities. Baylor president Ken Starr referred to this legislation as “unwise” and student support appears low.
This is not a matter of anti-gun rhetoric or “taking guns away.” This is a matter of providing a safe educational environment for faculty and students alike. Urge Governor Abbott to repeal this legislation and keep our students safe and educational standards intact.
Dear Governor Greg Abbott,
The law allowing students to carry concealed weapons on college campuses must be repealed. Gun violence and mass shootings have touched each corner of this country, especially on college campuses. Gun advocates may say that bystanders could neutralize an active shooter situation, but scientists and researchers from institutions like the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Harvard Injury Control Research Center say that gun violence increases with the number of gun owners.
The educational standards of these universities stand to be compromised. In a recent teaching forum at the University of Houston, professors were advised to skirt around potentially controversial conversations and limit time with individual students. It’s these hard talks and face-to-face time with teachers that foster strong, intelligent students–and fear of another student should not inhibit the learning process.
A school is a school, and shouldn’t be the hotbed of a controversial law or a political agenda. Members of universities should be allowed to teach and learn freely without fear for their safety. Over twenty of Texas’ top private universities have already rejected this law, opting to continue their ban on guns based on similar concerns.
Repeal this legislation and prioritize university safety and education over the gun rights agenda.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Brian Reading