The 15-member Campus Carry Work Group at the University of Houston has released its draft policy. The policy prohibits guns in most residence halls, sporting venues, areas where disciplinary hearings are held, laboratories, and health and mental health facilities. Concealed handgun license (CHL) holders will not be prohibited from carrying guns in classrooms, and faculty and administrative offices.
The policy was developed to comply with Senate Bill No. 11 (S.B. 11), also known as the “campus carry” law, and follows months of discussion and deliberation. Campus community members, including students, faculty and staff, were invited to share their input through several open forums and a campus-wide survey.
The draft policy has been posted online and distributed to the Faculty Senate, Student Government Association and Staff Council. It was also sent to the campus community through email notification and will be posted on the University’s home page. A second series of open forums have been scheduled for later this month. The Campus Carry Work Group will host an open forum at UH from 3-5 p.m., March 9 in the Student Center Theatre and at UH-Sugar Land on March 10 from 3-5 p.m. in the Brazos Building room 103B. The deadline for submitting community feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org is March 21.
Following the feedback period, the Campus Carry Work Group will meet to review community comments. Following any revisions, it will then provide the policy to UH President Renu Khator and her cabinet for comment in April. The Work Group is expected to deliver its final recommended policy to the university president in early May. Khator will have the opportunity to review and/or revise the draft. A final draft of the policy will be presented to the UH System Board of Regents for consideration during its May 19 meeting.
The University of Houston Campus Carry Work Group was charged with creating a policy that complies with the law, protects the rights of citizens and addresses the safety and security of the entire campus. The campus carry law goes into effect on Aug. 1. Currently firearms are not permitted in any University building. Senate Bill No. 11, which was signed into law by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in June 2015, will allow persons with a CHL license to carry a concealed handgun in certain areas of state university campuses beginning in August. The law states that while university presidents may not generally prohibit the carrying of handguns by CHL holders, public universities have some discretion to regulate campus carry, including designating certain weapons-free areas.
Each of the four UH System universities has been working to develop a policy through input from constituencies at each campus. UH-Downtown and UH-Clear Lake have previously released draft policies. The UHS Board of Regents will consider all of the policies in May.
Despite much media attention last week, including a number of inaccurate reports, neither the Campus Carry Work Group nor the UH administration has made any recommendations or given instruction to faculty regarding how the new law will be implemented on the UH campus. The draft policy released March 1 is the campus community’s first look at the proposed policy.
Campus Carry Resources:
Campus Carry Draft Policy: http://www.uh.edu/police/campus-carry/Campus_Carry_Draft_3.01.2016.pdf
Campus Carry Website: http://www.uh.edu/police/campus-carry/
Campus Carry FAQ http://www.uh.edu/police/campus-carry/faq.html
Senate Bill 11: http://www.uh.edu/police/campus-carry/SB11.pdf
Other UH System Draft Policies: