Schools prep for guns on campus

Tue, Jun 2, 2015 - 1:04pm

Local university officials are prepared to start planning how to restrict the carrying of firearms on campus as they await Gov. Greg Abbott to sign a bill allowing guns on college campuses.

The bill passed through the House and Senate over the weekend, which allows people with concealed handgun licenses to bring their concealed weapons into university buildings and classrooms. An amendment to the bill does allow university presidents to establish zones on campus where guns won’t be permitted, but the legislation says it can’t be a blanket provision to “generally prohibit” the guns.

Neal Smatresk, president of the...

College faculty members worry over campus carry bill

Tue, Jun 2, 2015 - 12:41pm

 It's the summer session, and things are quiet on the University of Texas at Dallas campus.

But there's a lot of fear and uncertainty about a concealed campus carry bill that cleared the Texas legislature this weekend. Gov. Greg Abbott has indicated he will sign Texas Senate Bill 11.

"The biggest part of it is really the fear factor -- the concern that something terrible could happen," said David Cordell, secretary of UTD's Academic Senate and a member of the UT System's Faculty Advisory Council. "I think the likelihood of anything happening is really extremely small, but in deference to the feelings of the...

Lawmakers approve $3 billion in construction bonds for Texas colleges and universities

Mon, Jun 1, 2015 - 1:36pm

Lawmakers on Saturday approved and sent to the governor a bill that will authorize more than $3 billion in bonds for construction and renovation projects at 64 higher education campuses across the state.

Schools in North Texas are slated  to get a sizable chunk of the bond program. The improvements to be funded will be the first new projects approved by lawmakers since 2006.

“In a growing state with a priority for an educated workforce, the need for classroom, lab and other academic space is clear,” said Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, sponsor of the measure.

Under the legislation, UT-Dallas will receive $...

House passes ‘campus carry’ minutes before midnight deadline

Wed, May 27, 2015 - 12:23pm

Texas moved closer to allowing concealed handguns in classrooms and other areas on public and private college campuses late Tuesday night, as House members gave tentative approval just minutes before the midnight deadline.

An hours-long debate over Senate Bill 11, known as “campus carry,” abruptly wrapped up as the deadline to pass Senate bills out of the lower chamber loomed and a vote was suddenly called on what some called a “watered down” measure.


House members approved the measure on a 101-47 vote after more than 100 amendments were suddenly dropped.

“Finally our students will be protected, our...

New law puts all campus police, public or private, on same footing

Tue, May 26, 2015 - 11:14am

If you ever wondered whether that campus police officer in your rearview mirror was “a real cop,” let’s hope you didn’t find out the hard way.

In Texas, the answer is: You bet they are, commissioned as peace officers and charged with enforcing state and local law. That applies at private universities and colleges, as well as public institutions. The law does not distinguish between the two for police powers, and soon the law will read the same for the records generated by those two types of campus cops.

Both houses of the Texas Legislature now have passed SB 308, by Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, that requires...