Rice University in Houston, Texas has rejected the state’s legalization of concealed carry on campus. This move is protected by the legislation, which allows private schools like Rice to opt out.
When the campus CCW bill went before the state legislature, Rice University President David Leebron made a statement noting the exemption for private institutions and that “For a private university to opt out of the campus carry law, it must first consult with its faculty, staff and students. Should the governor sign the bill, we would engage in such consultation in the near future.” Following the passage of the bill, the university community did just that.
According to a separate statement from Leebron, dated November 2015, the response was overwhelmingly negative: “In sum, not a single constituency consulted has endorsed having guns on our campus; in fact, each overwhelming opposed it.” The university president went on to cite unsourced claims that CCW on campus would have a deleterious effect on campus safety.
Rice’s decision may serve as a bellwether for other Texas school, including public institutions. Some student leaders have begun to lobby the state legislature to allow public universities to opt out as well. At the time of this writing, no legislation to that effect has been introduced.
The Rice University community has spoken, and their will has been made policy. The actual effect this will have on campus safety remains to be determined.