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Faculty Senate discusses controversy over carve-out zones

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Members of Faculty Senate discussed the prospect of classifying the president’s house as a carve-out zone—an area where guns are not permitted—after Senate Bill 11 goes into effect next fall.

Texas State’s campus carry task force sent an email to faculty and students regarding draft recommendations for the implementation of SB 11, otherwise known as the campus carry bill.

The recommendations included areas on campus that would be considered carve-out zones if the Texas State University System Board of Regents ultimately approves the draft.

One of the recommendations is that the president’s house should be a carve-out zone because it is where many university events are hosted, according to the president’s website.

Michel Conroy, Faculty Senate chair, said there has been a lot of controversy among faculty about this particular recommendation.

“The question is if (President Denise Trauth) would want that,” Conroy said. “Because then it would be something a future president would have to worry about.”

Barbara Covington, health professions associate professor and senator, proposed the idea that the Faculty Senate should ask Trauth about the prospect of her house being a carve-out zone.

“You don’t have to have a concealed license to have a gun in your house,” said Dana Garcia, biology senator. “So maybe that’s the deal here…it wouldn’t necessarily infringe on a future president’s rights.”

Alex White, Faculty Senate vice chair, said there may be public relations consequences if the house were to be issued as a carve-out zone. White said he would personally like every location on campus to be gun free, and was stricken upon discovering the president’s house would be a carve-out zone.

“I am not in support of questioning within the board’s decision,” said Vedaraman Sriraman, engineering technology professor and senator. “I think the reasoning behind this is well…all of us are not compelled to live on campus, but she is.”

Garcia said no one in the senate is in favor of questioning the decision to make the president’s house a carve-out zone.

“The question should be: do you support this recommendation and how do you feel about it,” Conroy said.

Sriraman said the president’s house is easily accessible. He said a few years ago, a Christmas party was held at the president’s house, and a student walked up to the door ranting about construction on campus.

“I think it’s very difficult to look at this objectively,” Sriraman said. “We don’t get knocks on our door about construction issues.”

Conroy said the only thing Trauth could say is that the process is not complete and the task force still has revisions to make on the recommendations before they are complete.

“I think it is an appropriate question to ask her how she feels about her house being a carve-out zone,” Garcia said. “I don’t think it sounds aggressive. And it’s a good point to note that none of us have to live on campus like she does.”

Concealed carry for someone who is comfortable with the practice is a routine part of life, Covington said. For people who have a concealed carry license, Covington said it is as second nature as putting on a boot.

Faculty Senate meets with the provost once a month, and their next meeting with him will be Dec. 2, Conroy said.

The senate voted on the proposal to ask the president at the next meeting about her thoughts on a carve-out zone being implemented at her house.

With the vote failing to reach a majority, the question regarding the carve-out zone did not meet the amount of votes to reach the agenda for the Dec. 2 meeting.