Rice University is the latest private college in Texas to announce that it would opt out of the state's new campus carry law.
“There is no evidence that allowing the carrying of guns on our campus will make the campus safer,” Rice President David Leebron said Monday in an email to students announcing the decision. “The most knowledgeable professional groups believe that guns will make campuses less safe."
Leebron said he consulted with a working group including staff, faculty and students to decide to opt out and that multiple university organizations overwhelmingly opposed campus carry.
The campus carry legislation, passed this year by the Texas Legislature, allows people with concealed handgun permits to carry guns on Texas college campuses. It takes effect Aug. 1. Private universities can choose not to allow concealed handguns on campus. Rice follows Texas Christian University, which announced Nov. 13 that it would opt out.
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Administrators at multiple private schools, including Trinity University, Paul Quinn College and Southern Methodist University, have indicated they plan to opt out, too.
At a Texas Tribune higher education symposium on Nov. 16, Baylor University President and Chancellor Ken Starr said campus carry is a “very unwise public policy” and he has “little doubt” that the rule will not pass on his campus.
The debate continues for public universities who are discussing rules for gun-free zones because they cannot opt out of the bill and have to allow guns on parts of campus.
The Faculty Council at the University of Texas at Austin has passed a resolution opposing guns in “classrooms, laboratories, residence halls, university offices and other spaces of education.”
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. Rice University was a corporate sponsor of the Tribune in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Southern Methodist University was a sponsor of the Tribune in 2013. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.