The Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 11, a new law requiring the state’s public colleges and universities to allow handguns in campus buildings for those with concealed handgun licenses (CHL). This law takes effect for community colleges in the summer of 2017, and we are taking preparations for this very seriously. This web page will serve as a hub for detailed information on this issue, along with resources to prepare for a worst-case scenario.
Lawmakers authorized college presidents to develop campus carry rules and regulations specific to their campuses, for final approval by the Boards of Trustees. While our university colleagues had a shorter timeline than we do, Collin College has already begun the discussions about next steps. Collin’s Faculty Council has formed a Concealed Carry and Campus Safety Committee to discuss potential gun free zones, emergency procedures, and other matters. I assure you that we will listen to and discuss concerns, so we can implement the law as wisely as humanly possible.
In 2013, the legislature passed HB 1009, which created a new category of law enforcement officer—the school marshal. This allowed school districts without the resources for permanent police officers on campus to designate school employees to carry concealed weapons. The marshals are only authorized to respond to an active shooter or other emergency situations that threaten the lives of public school students on campus. They can only act before police arrive. The college is looking into the benefits of this law to ensure our safety.
We know that some students and employees absolutely believe a handgun is necessary for their own personal safety. Others are passionate in their belief that handguns on campus are a threat to their personal safety. We have to do whatever it takes to provide a safe learning environment for our students and employees. To that end, the college is investigating training opportunities that can assist with that overarching goal.
The best way to prevent campus violence is to insist on a high level of civility at every level and to treat one other with respect and mutual deference. Even so, we have to be prepared for the unthinkable. Vigilance and preparation will help to keep all of us out of harm’s way. Collin College is a special place and an education haven for students, faculty, and staff. Thank you in advance for your perspective and dedication to keeping our campus community safe.
H. Neil Matkin, Ed.D