Update from President Michael K. Young on Campus Carry

MICHAEL K. YOUNG
PRESIDENT

April 13, 2016

To the Texas A&M University community:

As you know, the 84th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 11, which is effective August 1, 2016, and expands the areas on public university campuses where those with appropriate licenses are authorized to carry concealed handguns. As President of Texas A&M, I am deeply committed to creating the optimal environment for learning, discovery and work. At the same time, as a state institution, we are subject to the demands of the law and will necessarily comply.

After considerable efforts to engage the broad university community and gather feedback regarding the unique culture at Texas A&M, and with concern for safety and security guiding their decisions, members of the Campus Carry Policy Task Force comprising students, faculty and staff have made 14 recommendations, all of which I am pleased to fully endorse and almost all of which I have adopted intact and submitted to The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. However, after discussion with A&M System legal counsel, as well as advice from the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, I modified the recommended rule related to campus carry in private offices. That proposed rule, as well as the other proposed rules can be viewed at http://www.tamus.edu/proposed-campus-carry-rules/

Absent further action by the A&M System Board of Regents, which will review these rules in April 2016, these rules will go into effect on August 1, 2016.  The Task Force report is available at http://www.tamu.edu/statements/campus-carry.html

The task force recommendations were formulated based on several key factors:  results of the campus-wide survey of students, faculty and staff conducted last fall; feedback from individuals who might be directly affected by the legislation; careful review and analysis of the text of Senate Bill 11; legislative intent of the law; the 2015 Attorney General Opinions; January 26, 2016, discussions between members of the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs and University System Chancellors; as well as recommendations from other public institutions of higher education.

I am confident that the real concern expressed throughout the process is reflected in the task force's recommendations, which are tailored specifically to the needs of our campuses, and are the most appropriate way to fully implement the new law at Texas A&M. Key recommendations include adoption of governing factors and principles; establishment of a working group to address implementation and ongoing issues; identification of specific license holder responsibilities; guidelines for campus community outreach and education; and regulations specific to residence halls; prohibition of handguns in compliance with existing federal and state statutes; and prohibition of concealed handguns in particular locations, events and situations on campus. Such exclusions to the law include individual private offices, as approved by me in light of the standard articulated in the rules, child care facilities, youth camps, counseling centers, legal clinics, clinical care facilities, research laboratories, maritime vessels, sporting venues and events, and premises where administrative investigations are conducted.

I am immensely grateful to the 22-member Campus Carry Policy Task Force and its chair, Assistant Vice President for Safety and Security Chris Meyer, for their thorough review of all aspects of upholding and implementing the new law and their commitment to ensuring the safety and security of our students, faculty, staff and campus visitors. My position on these issues is a matter of public record from the time I served as President of the University of Utah, but, as President of Texas A&M, I am committed to ensuring Texas A&M University is in compliance with the law and intend to implement this law and related university rules as efficiently and smoothly as possible.

Michael K. Young,
President