December 18, 2015
To the SMU campus community,
For the past several weeks, I have solicited input from students, faculty and staff regarding Texas Senate Bill 11, more commonly known as the “campus carry” law. The law contains an option for private universities to opt out and ban concealed handguns after initiating discussion within the campus community.
After hearing from more than 1,300 students as well as from faculty and staff, I can now inform you that SMU will remain weapons free, as it has been since at least 1994. Although the final decision rested with me, it was made in consultation with the SMU Board of Trustees.
The process we followed was inclusive. Representatives from the SMU Offices of Legal Affairs, Student Affairs, and Police met with the SMU Faculty Senate, SMU Student Senate and the SMU Staff Advocacy Council this fall. Additionally, the SMU Debate program sponsored a student debate on the topic, and many of you provided feedback in response to a campus-wide letter from me and one from Student Senate leaders.
The results were overwhelmingly in favor of SMU remaining weapons free when the law goes into effect Aug. 1, 2016. More than two-thirds of students who responded to the Student Senate letter said they favored SMU remaining a weapons-free campus. In addition, faculty, staff and students supported SMU remaining weapons free by 10 to 1 in their online responses. The Faculty Senate also supported opting out by a large margin, with 17 voting in favor, three against and three abstaining.
Thanks to those of you who participated in this discussion and especially to those of you who provided feedback. We can now move forward knowing that SMU will remain weapons free for many years to come.
President R. Gerald Turner
Southern Methodist University