- A new Texas law authorizing concealed weapons carrying on public college campuses took effect this week, debuting on the same day as the 50th anniversary of the infamous Tower shooting spree at the University of Texas at Austin, which killed 17 people and wounded 31 others.
- Three professors sued the university in federal court last month, suggesting the law would impede the freedom of speech in learning space due to fear of violence. They referenced the Tower shooting as an ironic symbol of the tragic, unintended consequences the law could yield.
- Texas is one of 10 states nationally to allow concealed guns on campus. The new law will allow firearms in classrooms, but not in dormitories or campus offices.
The Texas campus carry law demonstrates how college campuses are viewed as a different kind of public space in the spirit of the common good, but the bigger story is the administrative response to faculty outcry, and the ramifications which could result from a law presidents and chancellors may not support.
Schools like UT-Austin, with faculty opposing the law and filing suit, could be censured by certain faculty advocacy groups for a lack of pushback from administration. They could lose substantial amounts of research and academic star power from professors who decide to leave the campus, and could be at the center of student protests aimed at legislators, but which play out on campus.