Texas Tech University plans to ban guns in its recreation center, chapel and some dorms, but won't prevent students with concealed handgun licenses from carrying in classrooms, the school announced Tuesday.
The policy, which was finalized by Interim President John Opperman, will be reviewed by the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents in April. Under state law, the board doesn't have to approve the policy but can change it if it sees a need.
"I am confident we have submitted a set of recommendations that respects the spirit of the law while reflecting input from our community," Opperman said.
Each university in Texas has been given the task of coming up with its own rules to comply with the state's new campus carry law, which allows concealed handgun license holders to carry their guns in campus buildings. Schools are allowed to impose some limited gun-free zones, as long as those zones don't have the cumulative effect of making it impossible to carry a weapon on campus. The law goes into effect Aug. 1.
That limited rule-making power has sparked debate at colleges across the state. Many professors have urged their leaders to ban guns in classrooms and faculty offices. Others have asked to ban guns in dorms. But some supporters of the law have questioned whether those rules would violate the spirit of the law.
Tech seems to be trying to find a middle ground. Guns will be allowed in dorm rooms that are "suite style and apartment style," specifically the Carpenter Wells, Murray, Talkington and West Village residence halls, according to the policy. They will be banned in all other on-campus residencies.
Students who are assigned to rooms where a firearm is stored will be allowed to request a transfer to another room, the policy says.
Texas Tech officials indicated that they considered allowing faculty to ban guns in their individual offices. But administrators eventually decided against that.
"While this 'local option' seemed reasonable to the committee, further research revealed that such personal decisions would
violate the spirit of SB11 which allows only the president of the institution to declare gun-free zones," the policy says, referring to the law, Senate Bill 11.
Disclosure: Texas Tech University is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.