Retired Professor Cuts Ties with University to Protest Campus Carry Law

George Mason college student carries a gun on campus
Melissa Golden/AP Photo

Retired University of Texas (UT) Economics professor Daniel S. Hamermesh had agreed to teach through 2017 to give the school time to find his replacement, but he is now cutting ties to protest the new campus carry laws in the state of Texas.

Ironically, Hamermesh first taught at Michigan State University, and Michigan lawmakers are now considering a campus carry law similar to the one signed in Texas.

According to the Lansing State Journal, Hamermesh suggested that “guns have no place in an educational setting” and said that allowing law-abiding students to carry guns “does little to help faculty and others feel safe.” He did not address how much safer students in a Virginia Tech classroom in April 2007 or the Florida State University library in November 2014 would have felt if they had been armed for self-defense.

Instead, Hamermesh expressed bewilderment that he is the only professor cutting ties in protest of campus carry.

Inside Higher Ed quoted Hamermesh saying:

I cannot believe that I am the only potential or current faculty member who is aware of and disturbed by this heightened risk. … Anything that can be done to mitigate this risk should be implemented. Applying this law broadly will detract from both faculty well-being and from the national and international reputation of this university.

Hamermesh said professors face various risks in a room of 30 students, but because the size of his classes far exceeds 30, he believes he faces an even greater risk, and he is convinced that allowing law-abiding citizens with concealed carry permits to carry on campus only increases that risk.

Another UT professor, Javier Auyero, the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Endowed Professor of Latin American Sociology at Austin, spoke out against campus carry after the shooting that took the lives of nine innocents at Umpqua Community College (UCC). Auyero failed to note that campus carry was forbidden at UCC; he cited an Oregon provision allowing campus carry on university campuses without noting that it does not apply to community colleges.

UCC has the gun-free campus policies that Hamermesh believes reduce risk, which have contributed to relegating law-abiding citizens to sitting ducks.

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