The UTSA Faculty Senate met last Wednesday on the fourth floor in the library to discuss a multitude of topics and to vote on a pair of resolutions that could affect the implementation of campus carry on the UTSA campus.
As most UTSA students are aware, the campus carry law will take effect on UTSA’s campus Aug. 2016.
Since the law has passed, the debate raging on campus right now is over which areas President Romo should designate as gun-free.
The UTSA Faculty Senate is now involved in the debate, doing their best to represent the interest of the faculty. During the October Faculty Senate meeting, an ad hoc committee was created to provide the task force with further input concerning the law’s implementation. Wasting no time, the committee authored two resolutions to be voted on during the following meeting. The first resolution urged President Romo to designate classrooms, faculty offices and laboratories as gun free areas. “The final vote from the committee (on the resolution) was ten ‘yes votes, zero ‘no’ votes and two abstentions,” said committee member and University College Professor Dr. Greg Hazleton. Though the vote by the committee was nearly unanimous, the resolutions were heavily debated.
“We debated quite a bit about the scope of the resolution,” Hazleton said. Hazleton explained further, saying that the committee suggested that the President designate places of formal teaching and research as gun-free spaces.
According to Hazleton, the debate in the committee focused on whether the language “places of formal teaching and research” was too vague, or whether choosing more specific language might allow some areas to be forgotten.
The Faculty Senate spent
a large amount of time debating this as well, eventually settling on replacing the words “research laboratories” in the official resolution with the phrase “laboratories, studios, and practice rooms,” thereby including a wider range of areas instead of limiting the zones to only prototypical science and engineering laboratories.
After debating some other minor language changes, the Faculty Senate voted on the resolution itself and voted overwhelmingly in favor of adopting the resolution.
“The second resolution asked the senate to consider developing a survey to be sent to students in order to gauge how the student body feels about
UTSA’s implementation of the law,” said Hazleton. Political Science Professor Dr. Walter Wilson offered his support for the survey at the meeting, saying, “The law does mandate consultation with students, and having a stratified random sample of student opinion on the matter would be very valuable for understanding where students are on the issue.” The Faculty Senate elected to widen the resolution’s scope and will distribute a survey to faculty, staff and students instead of students only. The Faculty Senate then voted on the resolution as a whole, and the vote was resoundingly in favor of the resolution.