Senators who have been in a standoff are now at a draw.
Two senators in particular, Amanda Domaschk, political science senior, and Michael Guzman, economics senior, have battled over the matter. Domaschk said guns do not belong on a college campus and Guzman is pushing concealed carry for the third time.
“Concealed carry has been a debate brought upon by Michael Guzman,” Domaschk said. “Originally it would be an official response from the student body to say we support concealed handguns on campus to the Texas Legislature. We are not allowed to do that, so he changed it to where it would be a request to the administration that ASG support it.”
Domaschk said students have come out against the bill, entitled “Enabling Self-Defense.”
“When it came up again this time, I thought it would be best to write another piece of legislation that would take it to a referendum for students, faculty and staff,” Domaschk said. “I want to really see how people would feel about it.”
Domaschk said she asked Guzman to include the referendum in his legislation, but he wrote back via text message, saying a referendum would take too long, and the Texas Legislature would have already decided the issue by then.
“I decided to write the legislation that would take it to referendum, but it is against university policy from what I know to use university resources — which would be the referendum — to vote on something that is against school policy,” she said.
Joanne Smith, vice president of student affairs, said a student referendum generally calls for changing something already in place and serves the university. She said the university will not do a referendum that goes against Texas State policy.
However, she said ASG could do a survey calling for a university vote.
“I then decided to ask senators through e-mail, to go into their classrooms and ask their teachers if they could take a poll,” Domaschk said. “This is what I did: I explained to everyone in class, ‘Hi, I am an ASG Senator, and we are voting on concealed carry.’”
Domaschk was able to get votes for four classrooms, alongside those of contributing senators’.
“You would think ASG would listen to the students,” Domaschk said. “Guzman replied to the senators saying that it would be a stupid idea. He does not think students are informed enough to vote on this decision.”
Guzman sent an e-mail to the senate in response to Domachk’s suggesting they “ask how informed” students are on the issue, not “how they ‘feel’” about it.
“Ask people to raise their hands if they know that one in 76 Texans are licensed to carry a concealed firearm,” Guzman proposed in the e-mail.
He said a majority of students do not know the facts.
“We are a representative democracy (a republic) not a direct democracy,” Guzman said in the e-mail to senators. “If we were a direct democracy we would simply use polls to decide every major decision in our various forms of national and local government.”
Domaschk called for Guzman to be censured at Monday’s ASG meeting as a result of the e-mail conversations.
“A censure is basically saying that we as a senate do not approve of your actions,” said Jason Moore, ASG vice president. “It is saying that we feel you are out of line. If a senator says a curse word during a meeting, they might be censured because they are out of line. There is no formal reprimand. It is basically making a documentation in a public matter against what that person did.”
Domaschk said Guzman does not have student-body interests in mind.
“My e-mail in no way said not to ask students their opinion,” Guzman said. “What I said was to add questions to the survey. All her questions were asking how they would feel about the issue, not how much they know about the issue. I simply asked to find out how much they know or are informed about the issue. In no way was I saying not to take surveys.”
The senate took the censure by way of dividing the house, issuing a standing vote. Only three individuals stood to censure Guzman.
The remaining voted against it.
Guzman’s bill “Enabling Self Defense” was voted down at Monday’s meeting.