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Faculty campus carry meeting heats up

Faculty campus carry meeting heats up

October 22
00:23 2015

Eric Fritch opens the campus carry discussion with a statement about how UNT intends to follow the law. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

Jynn Schubert | Staff Writer

Thirty-two people met Wednesday afternoon in the Gateway Center to discuss the university’s campus carry policy. The room, set up for 200 people, was noticeably vacant, but that did not stop tensions from running high once the floor opened for comments.

Faculty members had a wide array of concerns, from their inability to ban guns in their own offices to requesting locks and peepholes on classroom doors in the event of an active shooter situation. Faculty members in attendance all seemed to agree on one thing: having guns on campus is not what they signed up for.

“When I accepted a job at UNT in 2004, I never agreed to teach classes, have office hours or consult with anyone who was armed,” journalism professor Tracy Everbach said. “To me, this law and its provisions violate my right to be safe in my work environment.”

Some faculty attending the meeting worry about trying to talk to armed students about sensitive topics like cheating or failing grades. Other faculty suggested creating gun-free zones where professors could have these conversations, but were not satisfied with the university’s solution to keep guns out of these areas.

The solution presented by Camus Carry Task Force chair Eric Fritsch was to put signs up around the designated gun-free zones. Should anybody enter these zones with a gun and be caught, anyone who catches them is encouraged to call the police.

“The university needs to look closely at this law and its consequences,” Everbach said.

Another major concern for faculty is a potential rise in suicide rates, as the most recent attempted suicide on campus was only a month ago on Sept. 30. This made professors nervous.

“I’m not sure if you are aware that two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides,” Everbach said. “That means that with easier access to firearms, the potential for people to kill themselves on our campus will rise.”

Featured Image: Tracy Everbach, a journalism professor at UNT, spoke out against campus carry and the law allowing guns everywhere on campus, even in offices. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

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1 Comment

  1. Samra Bufkins
    Samra Bufkins October 22, 16:29

    I was at this morning’s faculty meeting and there were even fewer people there–in fact, it’s possible the task force members and video streaming crew outnumbered the faculty.

    I pointed out that the instructions we’ve received for dealing with an active shooter situation (Get out, hide out, take out) were meaningless because in six years here I’ve never been in a classroom that locked from the inside. They all lock from the outside with a key. I asked for locks on inside doors. The task force members hadn’t thought of that. Many of the classrooms I’ve taught in have a glass window in the door, making it hard to hide. I also pointed out that cell service in many parts of campus is nonexistent, and for safety reasons the university needed to invest in cell signal enhancement.

    To me the most telling remark came after many suggestions about gun-free zones (don’t hold your breath–there won’t be many, because that would impede the CHL carriers’ rights to carry) and our rights to know who’s carrying (we don’t have any), one of my colleagues said “So if 3% of the population has a CHL and 97% don’t, you’re saying the 3% have more rights than the 97%?” It was sad when the moderator and the police chief nodded in agreement with her.

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