July 14, 2016
Dear faculty members,
As you may have heard, yesterday the UT System Board of Regents signed off on the rules for implementing the state’s new campus carry law at UT Austin. Bob Harkins, Assistant Vice President for Campus Safety and Security, sent an email to the campus community yesterday afternoon about some of the preparations that are under way in advance of the August 1 implementation of this new law.
I want to emphasize two issues of particular interest to you, our faculty members.
First, faculty who are solely assigned to an office may prohibit the concealed carry of a handgun in that office.
If you choose to exercise this discretion, you must provide oral notice that the concealed carry of a handgun is prohibited in your office. Oral notice is the only legally effective way to provide notice about the prohibition under the policy UT Austin adopted. The syllabus is not the medium by which students should be informed of this sort of prohibition.
Faculty members who share offices with others do not have this discretion.
Second, permit holders are allowed to carry concealed handguns in classrooms.
Faculty members may not impose a ban on concealed handguns in their classrooms, and they cannot use syllabi to discourage the concealed carry of handguns.
I understand and share the concerns many faculty members have expressed about this new state law. This is an emotional and challenging issue, and I want to take this opportunity to let you know that we are in this together. I care deeply about the impact these policies have on you as faculty, and I will work hard to make sure your voices are heard as we move ahead. Feel free to share your thoughts and concerns with me here.
The university is committed to providing a safe environment for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors, as well as respecting the rights of individuals who are licensed to carry a handgun as permitted by Texas law.
We have prepared an informational sheet for faculty members about campus carry, and I encourage you to read it.
Additional information can be found in the FAQs on the campus carry website.
I appreciate your cooperation as we implement these policies, and work together to comply with this new law.
Executive Vice President and Provost
The University of Texas at Austin