- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2015

A professor emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin said he is resigning from his position for his own safety following the state’s new gun law that allows students to carry concealed on college campuses.

“With a huge group of students my perception is that the risk that a disgruntled student might bring a gun into the classroom and start shooting at me has been substantially enhanced by the concealed-carry law,” economics professor emeritus Daniel Hamermesh wrote in a letter announcing his departure, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“Out of self-protection I have chosen to spend part of next Fall at the University of Sydney, where, among other things, this risk seems lower,” he wrote.

Mr. Hamermesh currently teaches a course with 475 students enrolled, UT student newspaper the Daily Texan reported. He said he plans to finish out the semester before moving to Sydney.

Senate bill 11, which goes into effect Aug. 1 of next year, gives school leaders some flexibility to determine if any parts of their campus should be gun-free. Professors at the Austin university have been outspoken about the issue, with more than 380 professors signing a petition vowing to ban guns in their classrooms.

“The classroom in particular is a special space — a space that has extra reasons for us to keep it a safe space,” Joan Neuberger, a history professor at UT Austin who leads anti-campus carry group Gun-Free UT, told the Chronicle. “In order to teach them, we need to encourage them to say what they need to say. People get very heated. … If I know there’s a possibility that someone has a gun in the classroom, I’m not going to hold those same discussions. I’m not going to encourage students to speak openly.”

University spokesman Gary Susswein said the school is working with a campus carry group to determine how to implement the new law, the Daily Texan reported.

“We understand the concerns that Dr. Hamermesh and other faculty members have raised about their classroom and ask that the campus community continue to work with University leadership in developing policies for implementing this new state law,” the spokesman said.


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