AUSTIN - The University of Texas will allow concealed handgun license holders to bring their guns into its classrooms, CBS affiliate DFW reports.
University of Texas at Austin President Gregory L. Fenves announced the campus carry rules Wednesday, according to a post on the university's website.
It said that while Fenves had adopted policies to implement Senate Bill 11, the campus carry law that goes into effect later this year, he doesn't believe handguns have any place at the school.
"I do not believe handguns belong on a university campus, so this decision has been the greatest challenge of my presidency to date," Fenves wrote in an email to the school community. "I empathize with the many faculty, staff, students and parents of students who signed petitions, sent emails and letters, and organized to ban guns from campus and especially classrooms. As a professor, I understand the deep concerns raised by so many. However, as president, I have an obligation to uphold the law."
Texas state law requires all public universities allow licensed concealed handguns owners in the classroom by Aug. 1, but it gives some leeway to schools, allowing for gun-free zones, according to the station.
The law requires concealed carry license holders to carry their guns at all times or keep them securely locked in their vehicles or inside a gun safe located in a dorm.
Under University of Texas's new policies, certain laboratories, areas where pre-K-12 programs are held, and university residences (with some exceptions) will be considered gun exclusion zones, but not classrooms. Employees with private offices will also be able to prohibit handguns inside them.
"Under the law, I cannot adopt a policy that has the general effect of excluding licensed concealed handguns from campus. I agree with the working group that a classroom exclusion would have this effect," Fenves wrote in the campus email.
The University of Texas System Board of Regents can amend the campus rules with a two-thirds vote within 90 days, according to the school.
"I have significant concerns about how the law will affect our ability to recruit and retain faculty and students," Fenves wrote in his email. "If problems develop, we will work to understand the causes and make adjustments to the policies, rules, and practices, consistent with the law."