Dr. Phil Schubert, president of the university, and the Senior Leadership Team decided to opt out of campus concealed carry during the Christmas break.
Last year, the Texas Legislature passed a law that allows license holders to carry their handguns concealed onto university campuses and into campus buildings. The new law goes into effect on Aug. 1, but it allows private institutions in Texas to opt out of the legislature after a comprehensive consultation process.
For its consultation process, the university tasked ACU Police Chief Jimmy Ellison and Associate Dean of Students Chris Riley to determine the ACU community’s opinion on the issue.
Ellison outlined five main aspects of the consultation process in a presentation last semester. The five aspects were:
- Consultation with the Faculty Senate
- Consultation with the faculty in general session
- Consultation of the Staff Senate
- Consultation of the Students’ Association; and
- Consultation with the students through campus-wide emails asking for input and opinions.
In the Faculty Senate consultation last fall, 119 voted in favor of banning guns on campus and 71 voted for no ban. Last spring, SA voted with 27 in favor of the ban and three opposed.
“Through the consultation process, I was impressed by the amount of dialogue and discussion that occurred,” Ellison said. “I was very impressed and thankful for the overall spirit of openness and respect. We heard a lot of constructive, insightful and respectful comments and ideas throughout this process.”
After Ellison and his team presented the findings of their consultation process to the senior leadership team, Schubert and the team made their decision.
“After carefully considering your feedback, the Senior Leadership Team has chosen to opt out of the Texas state law for campus carry, which means that other than law enforcement personnel, a person with a handgun license will continue to be prohibited from carrying a gun – whether concealed under clothing or holstered openly – on ACU campuses,” Schubert said in an email to faculty, staff and students.
Ellison said ACUPD plans to implement advanced communication with the ACU community throughout the spring semester and through the summer so everyone is fully informed and prepared when the law goes into action. Ellison also said ACUPD will work with the university to erect the correct signage around campus indicating that ACU is still a gun-free campus.