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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Campus Carry policies to be formed after climate survey

As A&M students prepare for the introduction of concealed carry on college campuses — legally beginning Aug. 1 this year — the A&M Campus Carry Task Force continues to sift through information in order to make their recommendation for which areas of campus should be “gun-free zones.”
Under Texas Senate Bill 11, the decision of which areas on public university campuses will be exempt is up to the universities. The task force assembled by University President Michael Young to study A&M’s campus climate on concealed carry has until April 30 to make its suggestions, and Young has until Aug. 1 to announce which areas on campus will be exempt. If no areas are established, concealed carry will be allowed in all campus buildings under SB-11.
“The task force was appointed by the president and represents a variety of  groups — we have general council from the system, student affairs, faculty representatives, chief of police and both undergraduate and graduate student representation,” said Chris Meyer, assistant vice president for the Office of Safety and Security and head of the task force. “We have a diversity of ideas and backgrounds. It is a good group that may not all see eye to eye, but work well together.”
The task force sent out an online survey in November, which was open from Oct. 27 to Nov. 9 and garnered over 16,000 responses. Meyer said the results of the survey have finished being processed.
“It took a very long time to code and classify the results because they were very open-ended questions — they asked people what they thought,” Meyer said. “We have just very recently received those and we are trying to factor that into all the things we are looking at, from facilities to categories of places that we would consider recommending to the president to exclude.”
Meyer said the task force is currently divided into subcommittees, each researching different aspects of Campus Carry.
“There are categories of facilities — such as Health Care Facilities — so the Health Science Center is very interested in what kind of exclusions should be recommended in a healthcare setting, and how do you define a healthcare setting, when does it apply and when does it not apply,” Meyer said.
After the last subcommittee finishes up around mid-February, the task force will gather and discuss the reports of each subcommittee before presenting the final recommendations to the president, said Meyer.
“This affects not only this campus but Galveston, the law school, the Health Science Center — there is a lot of places and a lot of things to consider,” Meyer said.  “We are making sure that making a rule for one place doesn’t upset the way things need to happen on another campus.”
The Office of the President declined to comment on the task force.
Meyer said there is a potential for the task force to be done early, however, there is still a lot of information to gather.
“In recent discussions with President Young, we have agreed to try to provide those recommendations well ahead of that deadline,” Meyer said.
Deborah Dunsford, a professor in the College of Agriculture, said she considers the task force taking its time to be a good thing.
“I hope it means that they are thinking carefully about all the input they have received and that they are taking a hard look at how this may change the campus and the university,” Dunsford said.
Kaley Jones, history senior, said she understands why the Task Force is taking their time with the decision.
“I respect them for taking their time and making sure they’re making a responsible decision for our university,” Jones said.  “Guns are a serious deal, and they need to make sure they think through every circumstance, no matter how long that may take.”

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