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UT-Austin Faculty Can Ban Guns from Offices

UT-Austin Faculty Can Ban Guns from Offices

In an interesting development, the University of Texas at Austin will give its faculty and staff the option of banning guns from their private offices when the state’s campus carry law goes into effect for public universities Aug 1.

The law allows schools to establish gun-free zones, but so far most authorities believe offices were not intended to be within the scope of local discretion. Guns at UT, and all other institutions, will be allowed in classrooms. 

The regents voted down a contentious proposal, however, that would have banned handguns with a loaded chamber at UT-Austin, according to an article in the Texas Tribune, by Madeline Conway.

A brief passage on the faculty office issue from the article:

The provision spurred still more discussion, though, as the regents delved into a back-and-forth about how professors will communicate to students and others that their offices are gun-free. Under the policy, professors will be asked to alert visitors verbally when guns are banned.

So… let's assume a student in class, carrying a concealed weapon under the law, wants to follow a professor to his or her office to discuss test results (a common scenario). What about the gun? 

UT officials say they will not be surprised if this question becomes part of existing or future law suits, the article reports. Perhaps this particular matter can be resolved definitively before community colleges implement the campus carry law on August 1, 2017. However, sometimes it takes years for cases to work their way up the court system. 

If the Texas Attorney General issues an opinion on campus offices soon, it may only signify the beginning.