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UTRGV to host campus carry forum Wednesday Town hall meeting aimed to gather feedback from students, faculty and staff

MARIO GONZALEZ/RIDER GRAPHIC

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will host a Campus Carry Town Hall Meeting from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Main Auditorium in Harlingen to discuss the implementation of Senate Bill 11.

“We’re going to discuss, first, the implementation process that we’ve been following with other UT System schools and we’re going to also discuss Senate Bill 11 and explain what it is,” said Ben Reyna, associate vice president of security and campus affairs for UTRGV.  “Then, we’re going to allow anyone who has any comments regarding how Senate Bill 11 should be implemented at UTRGV to comment with an open mic.”

SB 11, which was signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on June 13, allows license holders to carry a concealed handgun while on the campus of an institution of higher education in the state.

“We want to make sure that persons who have comments regarding Senate Bill 11, known as the campus carry bill, can provide comments related to how it should be implemented at UTRGV,” Reyna said.

SB 11 takes effect on Aug. 1, 2016, at universities and Aug. 1, 2017, at junior colleges. University and junior college presidents have until those respective dates to adopt rules and regulations.

The law allows higher education institutions to establish rules, regulations or other provisions concerning the storage of handguns in dormitories or other residential facilities that are owned or leased and operated by the institution and located on its campus.

University presidents must consult with the campus community regarding the rules and regulations, according to SB 11.

Reyna said that by December a recommendation will be presented to UTRGV President Guy Bailey.

“He, just like the other schools’ [presidents], will submit the recommendation of how our institution will implement Senate Bill 11. It will be submitted to UT System administration and then, in the beginning of next year, the board of regents will consider each campus’ Senate Bill 11 implementation plan for approval.”

Bailey established a Senate Bill 11 Campus Carry Working Group that includes representatives from UTRGV and local community members to lay out the framework for the development of the implementation plan of SB 11.

“The framework is consistent,” Reyna said. “We’ve been working consistently with all the other schools. … Right now, there’s been a lot of discussion as it relates to defining the areas that may be excluded from campus carry, but what will happen now, the next phase, is we will seek input from all of our campus community.”

The members of the working group are as follows:

–Reyna (chairman)

— Alberto Adame, UTRGV Student Government Association president

–Karen Adams, UTRGV chief legal officer

–Marcus Barrera, Barrera & Sanchez, P.C., attorney

–Rose Benavidez, South Texas College trustee and president of the Starr County Industrial Foundation

–Eugenia Curet, assistant dean for student support/counseling and wellness for the UTRGV School of Medicine

–Rebecca Gadson, UTRGV interim associate vice president for Student Life and dean of students

–Ygnacio D. Garza, CPA, of Long Chilton LLP

–Sergio Martinez, UTRGV director of Residential Life

–Israel Rocha, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance chief executive officer

–Richard Sanchez, UTRGV associate vice president of Governmental Relations

–Manuel Vela, chief executive officer of Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville

Additional town hall meetings are scheduled from 9-10 a.m. Oct. 21 in the Student Union Theater in Edinburg and from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Oct. 28 in the Student Union’s Gran Salón in Brownsville.

Campus and community member may send feedback, ideas or suggestions to campuscarry@utrgv.edu.

 

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