Faculty Senate opposes SGA guns bill

The Sam Houston State University Faculty Senate unanimously reaffirmed their 2011 resolution to oppose concealed handguns on campus during last Thursdays meeting. Their recent vote came in response to Student Government Associations Senate Bill S13-02 that proposes the allowance of concealed handguns on campus in accordance with upcoming legislation.

Tracy Steele, Ph.D., chair of the faculty senate, said SHSU faculty are still against having guns on campus.

I think the faculty generally feel that we are less safe with more guns than more safe with more guns, Steele said.

The resolution the senate reaffirmed was originally issued in 2009 as a joint resolution with the body of public university faculty senates, the Texas Council of Faculty Senates.

According to Mark Frank, Ph.D., former chair of faculty senate, the 2009 TCFS resolution was responding to a guns bill in the Texas Legislature that ultimately failed.

Obviously there was some disagreement from some faculty that would in particularly have a different view, Frank said. But it wasnt really even a closely debated issue.

In the Texas Legislature, Sen. Brian Birdwell introduced the Campus Personal Protection Act that will allow concealed handgun licensees to carry on campus grounds, where it is now illegal. Pieces similar to this legislation were introduced in 2009 and 2011 by Sen. Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio).

Im not sure why both of those bills ultimately failed, because from my understanding they were both very close, Frank said. This time around, it seems even more likely that it will pass.

SGAs bill will simply show university support to Birdwells bill, though some say it will come without the students or facultys consent. Last Thursday, SGA failed an amendment to their bill that would let the student body to vote on whether or not it passes.

SGA President Shane Rankin explains the student governments reasoning behind the decision as being for the sake of the governments role and the lack of students interest in reading the bill in full before voting.

We have been working on this bill for 3 weeks, Rankin said. [Students are] not going to read a three page bill, theyre probably not going to read a two paragraph bill.

Steele said that faculty senate members plan on being in attendance during tonights SGA meeting. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in room 320 in the Lowman Student Center.

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