An esteemed economics professor at the University of Texas at Austin resigned in the wake of a new open carry law that could allow people to have concealed weapons in college buildings.
The law's supporters argue it will help protect students and faculty in the event of a shooting. But, Daniel Hamermesh, who is the Sue Killam Professor Emeritus, wrote in a letter to University President Greg Fenves that the law enhanced the “risk that a disgruntled student might bring a gun into the classroom.”
“The issue is not people like me, I’m small potatoes, the real issue is that for Texas, for people who are thinking about coming here, they have lots of alternatives. The ones we want to hire here do have alternatives,” he wrote in the letter, which was published by Texas’s KXAN.
The law goes into effect Aug. 1, 2016 and would allow licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons into classrooms and university buildings.
According to his bio, Hamermesh taught at the University of Texas from 1993 until 2014 when he retired. He was set to teach a course every fall until 2017, but given the change in the law he’s decided not to maintain the contract.
In a letter to the President, Hamermesh explained that he’ll be spending some of next fall at the University of Sydney where “the risk seems lower.”
Hamermesh added that he cannot believe he’s “the only potential or current faculty member who is aware of and disturbed by this heightened risk” and urged the school to take additional steps to mitigate risks that could be associated with the law.
According to the UT campus newspaper The Daily Texan, the university is working on how to effectively implement the law on campus
“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,” a University Spokesperson Gary Susswein told the paper.