By Will DeWitt
After a heated debate lasting more than an hour, Student Senate voted against allowing concealed-carry on campus. The Senate also voted on reopening the South Russell Hall basement and installing solar panels.
While the senate tabled five of the eight bills that were brought into second reading, senators had a lot to discuss. Student senators debated the issue of allowing concealed weapons on campus for well over an hour and ultimately decided against it.
“It allows students the right to self defense,” proponent of the bill and Sugar Land sophomore senator Cody Orr said. “Right now, if you have a concealed carry license you’re allowed to carry into movie theaters, you’re allowed to carry into grocery stores, you are not allowed to carry on campus.”
Those in favor of the bill presented statistics about safety on campus, such as how Baylor ranks 46 out of 50 for crime ratings among Texas universities, according to stateuniversity.com and how campuses around the nation that allow concealed-carry on campus have never had an incident involving concealed-carry, according to <a www.concealedcampus.org.
Those opposed to the bill said allowing students on campus with weapons would create many safety issues, and safety was a major factor in the Senate’s ruling.
“I am absolutely against concealed-and-carry on campus for a variety of reasons,” said Dallas senior Senator Alex Cole. “It’s not a warzone by any means, I don’t think it’s warranted to allow people to carry weapons.”
Senate also voted to reopen South Russell basement for use by smaller student organizations. Since the basement of South Russell was closed to student groups for safety reasons, the number of rooms in which a small student organization could choreograph routines for Sing was cut by a third. As a stipulation of reopening the basement, leaders of the student organizations have to agree to take a safety training course.
“This is like the only place where they can practice in since they don’t have enough money to afford other practice locations,” said Houston junior senator Brian Kim.
One major issue cited for the need to reopen South Russell’s basement was the difficulty that smaller student organizations have in finding space around campus.
“As a leader of a small organization that isn’t as big as a fraternity or sorority, it is very hard to find any space to choreograph anything,” Orr said.
In an effort to increase Baylor’s sustainability as well as attempt to lower student fees, Senate also passed a bill on solar panels. While the bill would not allow solar panels to be made using student funds, the university would ask for donations to create solar panels in the future.
The senate also tabled bills involving senator office hour credits, art building hours, student parking, printing in the Baylor Sciences Building and class attendance record availability.