Senate reconsiders campus carry bill
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 01:11
After more than an hour of debate, Student Senate voted decisively in favor of the Texas A&M Personal Protection Bill on Wednesday with a 38-19 vote, but because a senator’s motion to reconsider the bill, it was stalled and will be voted on again at the next Senate meeting.
The bills calls on the Texas government to mandate that concealed carry be allowed on campus and in buildings at pubic universities, and for A&M to align its policy with said legislation.
The Texas A&M Personal Protection Bill seeks to end the law that allows universities to create their own policies for concealed carry.
Texas A&M policy allows concealed carry on campus, but not inside buildings.
The student body voted against having guns on campus in two referendums that took place in 2009 and 2011.
Senators such as Trevor Brown, senior political science major, argued that student opinion has not been taken into consideration.
“If this bill was so important that our predecessors thought that they needed a referendum, then why now do we not have a referendum?” Brown said. “The reason they don’t want a referendum is because they know they are going to lose.”
Senators such as Cary Cheshire, junior political science major, argued that students should not be polled with a referendum on this issue because students elected senators to represent them.
Senator Jose Luis Zelaya, graduate student in education, said the opinion of faculty and staff was not taken into consideration for this bill.
“I think that is very disrespectful to not ask for faculty opinion and police department opinion when they are included in the bill,” Zelaya said.
The Graduate Student Council spoke before the meeting and said they were not in favor of concealed carry inside campus buildings.
A motion to amend the bill to include a referendum was made by Robbie Cimmino, senior agricultural leadership and development major, but the amendment failed.
A vote was then taken on the bill, which resulted in the bill passing with a 38-19 vote. Shortly after, Joseph Puente, junior telecommunication media studies major and writer for The Battalion, motioned to reconsider the bill.
Senate rules only allow senators who vote with the majority on a bill to motion to reconsider it. Puente strategically voted in favor of the bill so that he would be allowed to call for the reconsideration.
Puente said he motioned to reconsider the bill in order to give Student Senate more time to gather student and faculty opinion.
“I believe that within the next two weeks, we can get more students to say whether they are for or against it,” Puente said.
Speaker of the Senate Scott Bowen, senior chemical engineering major, said when a bill is reconsidered, it will be voted and debated on again at the next senate meeting.
Senate also unanimously passed the Support to Repeal the Student Success Fee Bill, which requests the repeal of the Student Success Fee, also known as the University Advancement Fee.
The bill’s author — Fernando Sosa, sophomore political science major — said there is a lack of transparency in the University Advancement Fee and that the Texas A&M System Board of Regents will discuss the issue Friday.