Justice

University of Houston Faculty Suggest Professors 'Not Go There' Because of Campus Carry Law

Texas' new law allowing students to carry concealed weapons on public university campuses already appears to be hampering free speech.

A leaked photo of a powerpoint slide shown to University of Houston faculty instructs professors to tread lightly or altogether avoid "sensitive topics" in order to mitigate the potential dangers posed by the impending law.

The photo of the slide, which was taken by a UH doctoral student, made the rounds on Twitter earlier this week.

Texas' new campus carry laws are slated to take effect in August. Some colleges, like the University of Texas at Austin said it would ban guns in dorms, but not in classrooms. Other universities, such as UH, are still deciding how the laws will affect campus life, the Houston Chronicle reported. Private universities are allowed to ban guns on their campuses, according to the Chronicle.

But the slide echoes concerns already voiced by many educators across the Lone Star state — that liberal gun laws on college campuses will inhibit or alter academic freedoms in and around the classroom. The UH faculty senate, which created the slideshow and displayed it at a recent meeting about the new law, already passed a resolution last year voicing those concerns.

UH faculty slide

"[T]he Campus Carry law and similar laws in other states introduce serious safety threats on college campuses with a resulting harmful effect on students and professors," a statement by a number of scholarly societies cited in the resolution reads.

The campus carry debate has sparked anger in Texas, and has even diverted prospective students away from some Texas universities, as a Guardian report highlighted.

The debate over whether or not students should be allowed to bring guns to their classes and on their campuses has served as a microcosm for a larger debate over gun control swirling U.S. politics. However, educators say that the prospect of students carrying weapons on campus during an emotional precarious point in their lives poses a unique threat.

Gun Purse

As the UH Faculty Senate resolution states, "faculty are a particular source of unwelcome news to students (and sometimes staff or other faculty) who often react emotionally and rashly."