Letter: Questioning the true purpose of campus carry meetings

Letter: Questioning the true purpose of campus carry meetings

Letter: Questioning the true purpose of campus carry meetings
October 29
02:20 2015

Jamie Johnson and Beverly Davenport | Faculty, UNT Anthropology

As faculty members, we were distraught by the dismally low turnout at the faculty town hall last Wednesday, scheduled to discuss (?) inform (?)  and solicit opinions (?) about the implementation of the Campus Carry Law.

Roughly 35 attendees sparsely populated the enormous conference room and of that number, students, administrators, and a state representative (who endorsed the bill) were also present. Where was the voice of a representative who opposed the bill? And where were the rest of my colleagues? They may well have been teaching as the meeting was scheduled at prime teaching hours (unlike the scheduling at UT-Austin, when similar sessions were scheduled for 7 p.m. and 3 p.m.)

One of us was made aware of the town hall meeting in an administrative email and entered it on their calendar. On Wednesday morning, she logged on to the UNT homepage to check the exact location.   Out of the fourteen events planned for that day, apparently a town hall meeting about guns on campus wasn’t important enough to make the University’s official calendar.

Not as important as good study habits. Not as important as housing information. Not as important as various musical performances, a flu clinic, or a brochure-making workshop.

In the meeting, questions were raised about process and purpose of the town hall. These questions were never directly answered. Was the purpose to “secure our input” about which specific buildings we would like to be gun-free? Was this the way we were “exercising local control?”  If so, where exactly would our input go?

Most of the talk at the meeting revolved around students as carriers and as open shooters, but what about CHL-carrying faculty and staff? One of us is a fifth generation Texan who is a proud gun owner.

How will the promise of “safety first for students, staff, and faculty” actually be met? All talk about this bill as promoting safety is moot because, as we were told at the meeting, S.B. No. 11 is not about promoting safety. It’s about protecting Second Amendment rights.

UNT students we’ve checked with have been about 80 percent opposed to campus carry. All the private universities in our area: SMU, TCU, Austin College, etc., have already opted out of the bill. That’s because they have the ability to do so.

As a state school, we don’t. Does that mean that we simply kowtow to a minority of the legislature backed by NRA dollars? Could we not, as faculty at UT-Austin have done, petition to have our recommendations seriously considered?

Was this pitifully advertised town hall meeting our only platform? If we write to the “fill-in-the-blank” expressing our concerns, will they be heard and addressed in a meaningful way? Or were these town halls planned to let concerned students, faculty and staff just let off steam?

We need more significant involvement in this process before the final draft, which is due February 2016.

Featured Image: File Photo

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