Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Can classrooms be gun-free?


The soon-to-be-enacted campus carry law has been nothing short of controversial in its short time on UTSA’s campus. A special task force has been assembled to help President Ricardo Romo determine what areas of the campus will be designated gun-free zones.

Last week, rumors that classrooms would not be considered as gun-free zones, because the University of Texas System would not allow it, led to outrage and confusion among many faculty and staff.

However, UTSA political science professor Dr. Walter Wilson, one of the upset individuals, said that classrooms can in fact be considered as gun-free zones.

During a meeting Wilson attended with Texas State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer, the state representative who wrote the amendment to Senate Bill 11 allowing college presidents to choose the gun-free zones on their campuses.

“According to the representative (Fischer), who is also a lawyer, the intent of the provision was to give Dr. Romo and other presidents wide discretion in creating gun-free zones on campus or premises on campus, including classrooms, and even entire buildings,” said Wilson.

“The policy Romo ultimately submits can only be overruled by a two-thirds majority of the Board of Regents, which makes it extremely unlikely that rules designating classrooms, dorms, offices and labs as gun-free zones would be overruled.”

Daas, faculty senate president and task force member, explained the claim that classrooms cannot be gun-free was supported by information the task force received from the University of Texas System.

“The task force has not had any interactions with (Fischer), nor has the president said anything to us along those lines,” said Daas. “So as far as we have been told, coming from the system, (gun free classrooms) is not an option because it is not in the spirit of the law (according to the UT system).”

Daas said the UT System, specifically the Office of General Counsel, is looking at what is in the spirit of the law.

“If you were to take a vast majority of campus and make it a gun-free zone, then you’re not respecting the law and rights of people who carry under the law.”

While the gun-free zones have yet to be determined, the task force is considering: intramural events, sporting events, labs, child care centers, weight rooms, locker rooms, treatment rooms, veteran certification centers, libraries, financial aid and advising centers.

The task force makes it clear that their personal views play no part in their decisions, that they merely abide by the laws and rules that are given to them by the UT System.

Hosted by SGA, the next meeting will be on Oct. 25 from 5-6:30 p.m. in the HEB UC Ballroom 2. Student input is encouraged.

More to Discover