Fritz Steiner, the dean of UT-Austin’s architecture school, has officially resigned in light of a new state law that allows students and faculty to carry concealed handguns inside the classroom. Steiner announced Thursday that he “would have never applied for another job” if the Texas governor hadn’t signed the law.
The new rule takes effect in August and public universities are required to enforce it. Private universities, on the other hand, can opt out of the controversial new rule.
“I felt that I was going to be responsible for managing a law I didn’t believe in,” Steiner told the Texas Tribune. Reactions surrounding his decision vary.
Supporters of the campus carry law quickly criticized Steiner. The group Students for Concealed Carry acknowledged in a statement that worries about guns on campus are taking “a real, measurable toll on the state’s institutions of higher education.” But people spreading unreasonable fears about the law are at fault, not the law itself, the group said.
“Just as witches were not to blame for the Salem witch trials, and just as vaccines are not to blame for the negative results of the anti-vaccine movement, campus carry is not to blame for the current atmosphere of fear on Texas college campuses,” the group said.
He will become dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design this summer. “Penn is a great institution and I am very happy to go to Penn, but I was approached … and, if it wouldn’t have been for campus carry, I wouldn’t have considered it,” he said.