Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp told Lt. Governor Dan Patrick he has no objection to the Campus Carry Bill now pending in the State Senate. In a letter to the Lt. Governor, Sharp wrote, “I have complete trust and faith in our students.”
Patrick had asked Sharp to appear before the State Affairs Committee which is hearing testimony on the bill on Thursday. Sharp was unable to attend the hearing but sent a letter to Patrick. Breitbart Texas obtained a copy of this letter and it is attached below. The letter was copied to Governor Greg Abbott, House Speaker Joe Straus, and Senator Rodney Ellis.
“Having licensed gun owners in possession of legal weapons on our campuses does not raise safety concerns for me personally,” Sharp wrote in the letter. “The real question is this: ‘Do I trust my students, faculty and staff to work and live responsibly under the same laws at the university as they do at home?’ Of course I do!”
Sharp stated he has encouraged his university presidents not to become involved in this issue. He urged them to focus on funding issues including: Restoring formula funding to the FY 2010-2011 appropriated levels; Funding Hazlewood costs; funding the Competitive Knowledge Fund or its successor; and, funding critical capital projects.
Sharp wrote that the opinion expressed about campus carry is his own. He said the Texas A&M University System would not have a position on this issue and “will not oppose campus carry.”
This stands in sharp contrast to actions taken at the University of Texas (UT) in Austin. A UT Faculty organization sent out an email to the entire faculty of the university asking them to attend the hearing and testify, according to a Breitbart Texas article by Sarah Rumpf. The email was sent out using an official taxpayer funded email system by mathematics professor Bill Beckner.
“The views of faculty members are important and the Senate will benefit from hearing those views,” Beckner wrote. He then added what some believed to be, marching orders on how to testify. ““As I expect that you are aware,” writes Beckner, “both President Powers and Chancellor McRaven have expressed their opinion that this measure will not enhance safety for students, faculty and staff on our campus.”
Another UT professor spoke to Breitbart Texas anonymously and expressed concerned about the high pressure tactics of this email. “When you’re considering who you’re going to make a permanent part of the faculty, you take that kind of thing into consideration,” said the professor, calling it “human nature” to have a negative view of someone who was “not going to toe the party line.”
It is expected the State Affairs committee will vote on the bill after the completion of testimony on Thursday. In a related matter, a member of Open Carry Texas was seen being led out of the Capitol in handcuffs. It is not known what charges he will be facing at this time.
Price is a senior political writer for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.