Texas Wesleyan President Fred Slabach attended Thursday’s Student Government Association meeting to get feedback on whether or not the university should allow guns on campus starting next fall.
“My purpose for being here is to gather the thoughts on this as part of our consultation,” Slabach said.
All Texas institutions of higher education, including Wesleyan, have to decide by Aug. 1, 2016 whether or not to allow guns on campus, so Wesleyan has this entire year to engage in consultation, Slabach said.
“You may remember that over the summer a survey was sent out to faculty, staff, and students to get feedback,” Slabach said. “Because not everyone was here over the summer, Wesleyan wants to take its time and go through at least the fall to add more opportunities for discussion. Then Wesleyan will probably have another survey to get feedback from the faculty, staff, and students.”
Wesleyan’s current rules are that no guns of any kind are allowed on campus, although students can have guns in their cars, Slabach said.
If guns are allowed on campus, it will apply to concealed handgun license holders 21 and older and with a certain amount of training, Slabach said.
“So, it’s not just anyone who decides to go out and buy a gun can bring it onto campus. It will have to be a concealed handgun license holder,” Slabach said.
Wesleyan could require those with licenses to register with the university, Slabach said.
“My hope is that if we decide to not opt out that we would have the same right that public universities have to create gun-free zones, he said.
The open forum that will be held on Nov. 3 is to allow everyone on campus to have the opportunity to comment on the issue, Slabach said.
Wesleyan has a proposal to hire retired police officers as direct employees; they would be armed, Slabach said. This should happen in the spring.
“Right now the way the security system operates is that Wesleyan contracts with private contractors and has a high level of training required of the officers, but they are not armed,” Slabach said.
The SGA voted to spend $700 to help fund Stellaween, which this month takes place on Oct. 29.
“Student Life wants to add Hallowfest to Stellaween to be more than just a haunted house this year,” Director of Student Life Dewey Foley said.
Last year this evet was run by several other organizations, but this year it is run by Student Life, Foley said. This year Stellaween will be the only event happening on campus so that there isn’t any competition. Student Life is trying to add the Hallowfest part to Stellaween.
“Some people thought that Stellaween was just a haunted house and Student Life wants to provide more than just haunted house,” Foley said.
Stella-Russell Hall has advertised on the Facebook page that this event is for residence on campus and commuters, Foley said.
“As long as you are a student here, you are allowed to attend,” Foley said.
Hallowfest will be put in place while students are waiting for their turn to go through the haunted house, Foley said.
SGA Vice President Zahraa Saheb said that the finalized criteria for students who want to apply for the Travel Abroad Scholarship will be online soon.