Faculty members met with college officials to discuss upcoming gun law

Natalie Murphy



Faculty members expressed their concerns over the implementation and logistics of SB11, also known as “Campus Carry,” during a faculty town hall event April 21.

Matt Perry, chairman of the English and Philosophy Department, and Teresa Klein, professor of psychology, were among the most vocal faculty members at event, held at the Center for Economic Development.

The event was hosted by Beth Lewis, provost and vice president, with the help of Tammy McDonald, executive director of human resources and administration, and Augustin Rivera, general counsel to DMC.

Lewis used the meeting to clarify information about the nine proposed gun-free zones.

“I think the term ‘zone’ may be misleading,” Lewis said. She explained that while some areas will always be gun-free like the Early Childhood Education Center and the Collegiate High School campus, others will be more fluid.

Lewis, with help from Lauren White, interim chief of security, also stressed that SB11 is concealed carry only.

“You should never see a firearm. If you see a firearm, contact security or call the police,” White said. “I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

Perry sought clarification on one aspect of the law in particular. SB11 states that there will be no firearms allowed during any formal adjudication processes.

Perry pointed out that the formal process cannot start until the student and professor have had an initial meeting and the process has been requested.

“Students tend to be more upset, more emotional at that initial meeting,” Perry said.

Rivera suggested calling security in situations where students might be upset, but Perry said there are situations that will only escalate if that happens.

“Students are here not just learning in class, they are learning how to navigate the world,” Perry said. “Calling security should be a last resort.”

Lewis said the college still has a few things to finalize before DMC President Mark Escamilla presents the final policy to the board of regents in May, but the campus carry website for the college will remain open with policy information regarding SB11.

After the board approves the measures, signs will start being placed around campus to reflect the status of each building.

“I just want to make sure (the administration) considers our concerns,” Perry said. “I’m not going to change the way I teach or interact with students.”

The law goes into effect on Aug. 1 for two-year colleges. For more information visit www.delmar.edu/campuscarry/. Security can be reached at 361-698-1911.

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