UT professors rally against campus carry
In Austin, colleges are trying to figure out what policies to set in place when the state's new campus carry law goes into effect. 150 professors at UT have signed a pledge refusing to allow guns in the classroom.
Professor Bryan Jones and others in the organization Gun Free UT held a rally Thursday. They are calling on the university to implement the most restrictive campus carry policy possible-- no guns in classrooms, no guns in offices.
"I'm a gun owner. There's no place on campus for this because of our free speech rights, please," said Jones.
Jones, who teaches government, says students will fear speaking their minds knowing someone who may not feel the same way may be armed.
Witnesses of the shooting in Oregon say the gunman asked students to state their religious affiliation before firing.
Pete Blair, executive director of ALERRT or Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training spoke with FOX 7 about the shooting via Skype Thursday night.
"We have seen ideologically driven shooters before and certainly we know that for a lot of the shooters they have an avenger-type mentality where they feel they've been wronged by someone or something and that's part of the attack they're trying to gain vengeance on that think they have perceived which has wronged them," said Blair. "As far as the 1st and 2nd amendment rights…I will say that we've had 7 other states that have adopted concealed carry policies on their campuses already and we haven't seen any outcries of violence or people not being able to speak their mind."
The Oregon shooting reinforces UT students' varying opinions on the matter.
"Most mass shootings, they occur where people don't have guns. I guess shooters see that as an easy target and so that's why I'm in support of campus carry," said UT student Dewayne Perry.
"I think having guns in classrooms promotes an environment of violence and makes students feel unsafe in a place where they should be feeling safe and welcome to express themselves," said UT student Emily Severe.
UT has developed a campus carry policy working group. They help their first public forum last night.
They will host another on Monday, October 5th. They will send their recommendations to the campus president some time in November.
Private universities can opt out. Both St. Edwards and Huston-Tillotson have done just that.