MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
March 21, 2011
VIII. NEW BUSINESS.
B. Resolution of Support for UT Chancellor Cigarroa's Letter on the Issue of Concealed Handguns on Campuses. (D 8577)
Chair Elect Friedman said he was originally scheduled to make the presentation of the resolution supporting Chancellor Cigarroa’s letter on the issue of concealed handguns on campuses; however, since he was asked to preside in Chair Newkirk’s absence at today’s meeting, the authors of the resolution would introduce it.
Professor Rose said she and Professor Carrington had spoke with colleagues in the Department of Sociology who were concerned about the concealed handguns on campuses legislation and determined that the one way they could help was to get information out about the proposal. She said one of their colleagues strongly believed that Chancellor Cigarroa had taken a major risk in writing the letter to Governor Perry so it seemed important to be supportive of his efforts. Professor Carrington said the resolution basically endorsed Chancellor Cigarroa’s letter and showed that the faculty were standing behind the chancellor. He said this demonstration of solidarity was essentially symbolic, but symbols could be very important. Professor Rose said the goal was that she would read the resolution into the record at tomorrow’s Senate hearing, and anyone who wanted to join her was welcome.
Professor Cummings said she had been trying to get people to attend the hearings, and the one tomorrow would be the last opportunity for people, including faculty members, to speak as individuals about the legislation. She said reading the resolution into the record was a great step forward, but she said greater numbers of attendees and those willing to speak were needed. She said at the six-hour hearing held last week, there were large numbers in attendance from across the state speaking in favor of the bill. She said there were a good many students speaking against the bill, but she thought faculty members needed to be there so their viewpoints could be heard in addition to those of the students.
Professor Pauline Strong (anthropology) thanked Professors Rose and Carrington for their leadership in producing the resolution. She proposed that the wording be changed to say “Chancellor Cigarroa’s letter of February 24, 2011, to Governor Perry” for greater clarity. Professor Rose accepted the suggested change.
Professor Gordon asked why the words “on balance” were included in the resolution. Professor Rose said the wording was used to follow the chancellor’s wording in his letter. Professor Carrington pointed out the first sentence included the words “strongly and unequivocally.” He added that “on balance” might have undercut the strength of the statement. However, Professor Barrish argued that ”on balance” should be left in the resolution. He said the original wording of the chancellor conveyed that he had given a great deal of thought and understood there were some arguments that could be made in favor of the legislation, given the split that exists on this legislation. He added that he thought it was important to strongly and unequivocally support the chancellor’s statement, but it could be counterproductive to change the tone that indicates there has been mature consideration of the proposal. Chair Elect Alan Friedman asked Professor Gordon if he wanted to offer an amendment, and Professor Gordon confirmed that he did. After the motion to amend the wording was seconded, Chair Elect Friedman restated that the wording change was to drop the phrase “on balance” from the resolution.
Since there was no further discussion, Chair Elect Friedman called for a voice vote. Because the results of the voice vote were uncertain, Chair Elect Friedman called for a show of hands. The motion to amend the wording of the resolution was defeated by a vote of twelve against and seven in favor.
Since there were no objections, Chair Elect Friedman called for the vote on the motion to approve the resolution. The motion was unanimously approved by voice vote.
Chair Elect Friedman suggested that those planning to attend tomorrow’s hearing might want to meet to coordinate their plans in order to assure that the new resolution would be read into the record as an expression of Faculty Council sentiment. He also suggested the group might want to read into the record the resolution passed at the February 2011 meeting that reaffirmed the one passed in 2009, which he said expressed the same sentiment in a slightly different way.