August is rarely a happy month for academics. Summer is more than halfway gone, we haven’t done as much research or as much writing as we wanted, and classes are going to start gearing up again very soon.
At my university, and public universities across Texas, today marks the start of an even less happy month. Today, 1 August 2016, is the day Texas’s campus carry law goes into effect.
The sign above, on the door leading to the research labs, including mine, went up Friday. The law permits university administrators to set “reasonable rules” for “campus safety.” (Yes, the wording is vague, which caused no end of difficulties in drafting policy, I’m sure.) Consequently, there is a long list of exclusionary zones on UTRGV campus, including labs.
University administators, and many others, lobbied harder against this law than any other I have seen in my time here, but to no avail. It’s telling that private universities were given the option to opt out of the law, and 36 out of 37 did.
Not surprisingly, the #CampusCarry hashtag on Twitter shows the usual split of rote political talking points, just adding more fuel to me desire for blogging to be my main social media outlet for a while.
And because fiftieth anniversaries matter more than usual to me this year, I can’t go without mentioning that this law is going into effect 50 years to the day after the first major mass shooting in an American university at the University of Texas in Austin. <sarcasm> That was extra classy, Texas legislature. </sarcasm>
I don’t feel safer today. Quite the opposite.
Campus carry goes into effect at UTRGV