Campus Carry: President's Plan
A bill passed by the Texas Legislature in 2015 and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott (Senate Bill 11) will permit concealed handguns on Texas public university campuses effective August 1, 2016. This law is applicable only to those who have a license to carry and the handguns must be concealed at all times. The legislation directed each university president to establish campus-specific policies for implementing the law with consideration to the uniqueness of the campus environment.
In developing the Health Science Center policy, I solicited input from many sources, including information obtained from two widely publicized and well-attended open campus forums; the deliberations of a duly-formed campus Working Group consisting of thirty-one representatives of the campus and chaired by Dr. Jacqueline Mok, Vice President of Academic, Faculty, and Student Affairs, and Michael Parks, Chief of Police; an online open forum; the UT System working committee’s report; and a detailed review of other University of Texas health-related institution policies. I am very grateful to Dr. Mok and Chief Parks for their leadership of the Working Group and to each member of the Group who addressed many factors related to this complex issue. I also am grateful to the many individuals who provided the Working Group and me with their individual input on this topic over the course of several months.
A basic challenge regarding implementing campus carry at the Health Science Center is that our campuses are heterogeneous with regard to missions; i.e., there are, in most buildings, active laboratories adjacent to clinical care areas adjacent to classrooms. In addition, many of the buildings on campus are connected by short hallways and corridors, and thus are not free-standing. This configuration of the buildings adds to the complexity of implementing campus carry.
The guiding principles that inform my decisions regarding the implementation of this law for the Health Science Center at San Antonio are below. This plan has been submitted to The University of Texas System Board of Regents and the UT System Chancellor. The key elements of the plan are:
- We will exclude campus carry in areas analogous to state law requirements where concealed handguns may be excluded:
- All patient-care areas, including simulation centers which are used to educate students in the art of patient examination;
- Areas where organized programs for K-12 students are held on campus;
- Laboratories where the discharge of a handgun might cause widespread harm such as laboratories with dangerous chemicals such as biologic or explosive agents, and animal care areas including vivaria;
- We will exclude the fitness facility on the Health Science Center’s Long Campus. This facility is not operated by the Health Science Center, but by a third-party vendor, Gold’s Gym. This decision followed a strong recommendation on the part of the Working Group because it is difficult for patrons to easily conceal a handgun in workout attire. In addition, the lockers in Gold’s Gym are not sufficiently secure for gun storage.
- We will exclude from campus carry space or buildings that are connected by hallways or corridors to other excluded areas cited above. For example, we will exclude from campus carry areas of contiguous space that are impossible, or significantly difficult, to cordon off and where to do so would impede heavy foot traffic and inhibit commerce.
- For the Regional Campus Laredo (RCL), due to the large number of minors who visit the campus during the summer months, we will prohibit guns on campus in both RCL buildings in June, July and August. When there are visits by minors expected at other times during the year, such as Spring Break, the Regional Dean may elect to post signage indicating that concealed carry is prohibited during those times.
- The decision to allow handguns in spaces that are leased but not owned by the Health Science Center will be left up to the property owners who will be required to post pertinent signage.
- The Health Science Center will not provide a weapons storage depot at campus facilities.
- Areas where concealed carry is prohibited will be marked by signage that conforms to Section 30.06 of the Texas Penal Code.
- Individuals with a concealed handgun license must comply with all gun safety precautions while on campus. This includes holsters covering triggers with sufficient tension on the grip to ensure that jostling the gun in a back pack or purse will not lead to inadvertent discharge.
Four maps of separate segments of the Health Science Center campus are provided, which depict a color-coded key to places where concealed carry is/is not permitted. This site also includes other information about campus carry that you might find helpful.
This plan for the Health Science Center at San Antonio has been submitted to the UT System Chancellor and will be reviewed by the Board of Regents at its May meeting. The Board will consider the plan and may, with a two-thirds vote, amend a President’s plan. I will provide updates to our community as needed. Questions not addressed in this letter or in the documents on the campus carry website may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be answered promptly by me or my designee in the President’s Office.
Again, thank you to the Working Group and to everyone for constructive input on this matter, and thank you for your devoted efforts on behalf of our patients and students every day.
William L. Henrich, MD, MACP
President and Professor of Medicine