UPDATE: Blinn College Trustees Approve Campus Carry RegulationsFeatured Stories, News Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
Update from Blinn College:
The Blinn College Board of Trustees approved amendments regarding campus carry to Policy CHF(LOCAL) during its regular meeting Tuesday.
Senate Bill 11, also known as the “campus carry” law, was passed during the 84th Texas Legislature and allows concealed handgun license holders to carry concealed handguns at Texas higher education institutions. The law became effective for four-year public universities in August 2016, and will go into effect at Texas community colleges on August 1, 2017.
While concealed carry will become active on that date, the open carrying of firearms remains illegal at Texas public universities and community colleges.
Senate Bill 11 allows college presidents and CEOs to establish reasonable rules for restricted zones on campus while incorporating feedback from faculty, staff, students, and the community. To assist in this task, Blinn established a 34-member Campus Carry Task Force representing administrators, faculty, staff, and students from the College’s four campuses. This task force presented Blinn District President/CEO Dr. Mary Hensley a 245-page report detailing its research and public input, and outlining its recommendations for campus carry guidelines at Blinn College.
“I would like to commend the Campus Carry Task Force for the countless hours of research and discussion that provided the foundation for Blinn’s campus carry policies,” Hensley said. “The Task Force’s efforts have helped to ensure that all Blinn College locations remain a safe environment for students, employees, and campus visitors.”
The Task Force designed its recommendations to allow campus carry unless specific extenuating circumstances required exceptions. Whenever possible, Blinn’s Task Force recommendations matched the policies established at Texas A&M University to prevent confusion for the significant number of students who co-enroll at both institutions.
Blinn’s amended policy prohibits concealed carry on the second floor of the Health Science Center Campus due to the presence of hands-on labs that require physical contact, as well as MRI and x-ray machines that pose a safety risk with the presence of firearms.
The policy also bans concealed carry at UIL-sponsored events and sporting events, where firearms are already banned by Texas Penal Code Subsection 46.035(b)(2).
Concealed carry will be banned during any grievance process, appeal proceeding involving a disinterested third-party committee gathering testimony from the involved parties, or the formal hearing portion of the total process, as detailed in Board policy and administrative regulations.
Signage in accordance with Texas Penal Code 30.06 will be posted clearly identifying locations where concealed carry is prohibited. All such signage will be posted by the Blinn College Police Department.
Blinn’s campus carry policy includes no specific firearms ban in:
· campus residential facilities, provided the student acquires a mandatory, approved storage device;
· single-occupant offices, though faculty members may follow an appeals process to seek exclusion;
· areas where minor children are present, based on Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Opinion KP-0120;
· classrooms that include dual credit students, although rules for off-campus sites will be applicable;
· the Star of the Republic Museum or the Dr. W.W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center;
· campus health clinics or the Post Office Campus in Bryan;
· or in Blinn College vehicles.
The Blinn College board of trustees has been given 250 pages of background information as part of recommendations for a concealed handgun policy that would start August first.
A 34 member task force produced the report. The group represented seven Blinn campus locations, 18 departments, and 11 divisions.
Trustees will consider the recommendations during Tuesday night’s meeting in Brenham.
Beginning of draft recommendations from page 248 of the task force report:
A license holder may carry a concealed handgun, on or about the license holder’s person, on all Blinn College campuses or in a college vehicle, unless prohibited by state or federal law, college policy, or procedure. Campus, for purposes of this policy, means all land and buildings owned or leased by Blinn College.
All license holders must secure their handgun when it is not on or about their person.
A license holder is responsible for complying with the applicable federal and state law prohibitions.
Recommendations from pages 7 and 8 of the Blinn College campus carry executive summary:
Campus Residential Facilities: No firearms ban, provided the student acquires a mandatory, approved storage device.
Single-Occupant Offices: No firearms ban, though faculty members may follow an appeals process to seek exclusion.
Laboratories or other Hazardous Areas: The second floor of the Health Sciences Center should be gunfree and feature appropriate signage to that effect.
Areas where minor children are present: No general restrictions at present based on Attorney General Ken Paxton’s opinion (see Appendix p. 236).
Child Care Facilities: Blinn College has no facility designed solely for this purpose.
Dual Credit Classrooms: No specific ban, although rules for off-campus sites will be applicable.
The Star of the Republic Museum or the W.W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center: No general ban.
UIL-Sponsored Events or Sporting Events: By state law, these already are prohibited areas but may require appropriate permanent or temporary signage, as applicable to location.
Other events or programs: Programs or divisions that wish to have restrictions to campus carry must request such prohibitions through the appeals process.
Patient Care Areas: No ban recommended at the Brenham and Bryan Campus health clinics or the Post Office Campus in Bryan.
Formal Hearing Areas: Concealed carry shall be banned during any grievance or appeal proceeding involving a disinterested third-party committee gathering testimony from the involved parties, or the formal hearing portion of the total process, as detailed in the Blinn College Board Policy Manual and the College’s Administrative Procedure Manual that provide for an appeals process. Temporary signage regarding the ban is to be posted outside the location of such hearings at the hearing committee’s request.
Appeal Process: A request/appeals process should be established for any temporary or permanent restriction of concealed carry in single-occupant offices or at special events not otherwise covered by statute.
Notification and Signage: Any gun-free area signage should be created and posted by the Blinn College Police Department.
Campus Vehicles: No firearms ban in Blinn College vehicles.
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