Frederick Steiner, thank you for making us see this issue.
Steiner, the dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, is planning on leaving on July 1st in part due to the recent “campus carry” laws introduced by the state of Texas.
It is always astounding to me when people are so deeply passionate about their personal beliefs — passionate enough to make this big of a statement.
The state of Texas decided on June 1, 2015 to implement S.B. 11, known as “campus carry.”
“Campus carry” is not “open carry,” but the basic idea behind it is students and staff are allowed to bring firearms into the classroom and other public spaces around the public universities of the state.
Private institutions have the decision whether they want to implement the law, and many are saying no to “campus carry.”
Also the idea has been opposed by around 80 percent of faculty at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Steiner gave us his reasoning:
“The way I was brought up there is a place for (guns), an appropriate place, that that was for hunting. There are all kinds of very stressful situations at a university, and I can’t conceive of how someone would think that introducing a firearm into that context would be constructive in any way.”
This is something that many forget. Teachers, educators, deans — they all have their own opinions.
If you believe that having guns in the hands of students and staff is going to fix the problem, then you are entitled to that opinion. Teachers may have other ideas though. We must respect their opinions.
Mass shootings, and particularly school shootings, are disgusting — each one a personal tragedy for the community and families affected.
We must be smart though. Forcing personal beliefs on educators who may not feel safe or comfortable with guns in their classrooms is not being smart. It seems rather un-American.
Imagine if one day someone forced you to drive a Prius? Some people, including myself, believe that this would help the environment. This is America though; you have a right to your own beliefs.
There are plenty of great gun owners out there. In the great state of North Dakota, there are plenty of responsible people who own guns with only the highest of respect for the laws and their firearms.
That doesn’t change educators feelings, and of course student’s feelings.
Georgia State University (Georgia being another state which has passed “campus carry”) student Veselin Simonov commented “I just don’t feel safe on a campus awash with guns. It’s something that makes me extremely nervous. It’s fear, it’s just genuine fear.” The opinions of staff and students simply can’t be ignored. We can’t allow laws to be passed without taking into account their thoughts and beliefs on guns.
No matter where your own personal beliefs stand, be mindful of students and educators.
Let us have an intelligent conversation about guns. Let us look to other countries and look at their examples. Let us consider smart, and responsible, gun-owners. Let us consider both sides of the argument. These are all smart things to do. Hopefully we can actually take steps in the right direction together, instead of apart.