UT Professors’ Lawsuit Against 2A on Campus Heard, UT Fumbles

Patricia C. Ohlendorf Vice President for Legal Affairs

The lawsuit filed by two University of Texas professors and a Teaching Assistant Professor was heard in court on 4 August, 2016, in Austin Texas. The lawsuit is meant to prevent the exercise of the Second Amendment on campus. The lawsuit is full of irrational rants.  I expected it to be thrown out. Here are a couple of excerpts:

33. Compelling professors at a public university to allow, without any limitation or restriction, students to carry concealed guns in their classrooms chills their First Amendment rights to academic freedom.

How free speech is chilled, when the Texas law requires the pistols to be concealed, is not explained.  Illegally concealed pistols are likely in the classrooms already.

48. The Texas statutes and university policies that prohibit Plaintiffs from exercising their individual option to forbid handguns in their classrooms violate the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, as applied in Texas through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. These policies and procedures deprive Plaintiffs of their Second Amendment right to defend themselves and others in their classrooms from handgun violence by compelling them as public employees to passively acquiesce in the presence of loaded weaponry in their place of public employment without the individual possession and use of such weaponry in public being well-regulated. This infringement lacks any important justification and is imposed without any substantial link between the objectives of the policies and the means chosen to achieve them.

A right to violate others Second Amendment rights in public places.  That is a novel interpretation of the Second Amendment.  Positively Orwellian.

The initial arguments were heard by Judge Yeakel.  He could decide whether to grant a temporary injunction to the professors by next week. The professors asked that the law be suspended for a semester to allow a public trial.  From dallasnews.com:

AUSTIN — Three professors duking it out in court for the right to ban guns in their classrooms were told Monday they will be punished if they do, according to the latest legal back-and-forth prompted by Texas’ new campus carry law.

“Faculty members are aware that state law provides that guns can be carried on campus, and that the president has not made a rule excluding them from classrooms,” attorneys representing the University of Texas at Austin and Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote in a legal brief filed Monday. “As a result, any individual professor who attempts to establish such prohibition is subject to discipline.”

Filing a frivolous lawsuit against one’s employer, when you are a public servant, does not seem like a good career move.

But this is the University of Texas, Austin.  The UT lawyers claimed that there would not be any disciplinary action against the professors. If UT will not impose any discipline, the professors do not face any problems and can do as they will.  While the UT lawyer stumbled around trying to explain this to the judge, the professor’s lawyers said the policy should be struck down as vague, because even the UT lawyer could not articulate potential disciplinary actions.

If the professors put up “No Guns” signs at their classroom doors, the signs will not have any force of law.  Because they would be violating University of Texas policy, the professors could be disciplined, it seems. The plaintiffs claim that the possibility of discipline violates the due process clause. From the suit:

52. The Texas statutes and university policies that prohibit Plaintiffs from exercising their individual option to forbid handguns in their classrooms violates their rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Plaintiffs are threatened with possible adverse employment sanctions for violating state and university policies that draw impermissibly vague and uncertain lines about an individual professor’s exercise of control over the classroom by exercising the option of banning guns in that professor’s own classroom. 

 UT has been hostile to the law from the beginning.

If the UT administration does not follow their own policy, as allowed for and set in accordance with the legislative statute, UT might be liable for violating students Second Amendment rights under Texas law.  That could take considerable time to resolve, with much potential for shenanigans on the part of the UT administration.

Many lawsuits brought in the last 50 years have been made for media consumption. That seemed the case with this suit. But if the UT administration fumbles around on discipline, the implementation of the law could be confused for years.  The legislature might not be happy with such a result.

It is as if the U.S legislature forbid the EPa to put “No Women Drivers” signs on their vehicles. Then three EPA empoyees claimed that they should be allowed to place “No Women Drivers” signs on EPA vehicle visors, and sued the EPA and the US Government, complaining that to forbid the signage would be violating the employees’ First Amendment rights.  Then the EPA says in court that EPA management has no plan to discipline the employees who put the signs on the visors.

Texas AG Ken Paxton filed a well written and argued brief as to why there should be no preliminary injunction, and why the UT professors are likely to fail in court. From the brief:

Plaintiffs are seeking to enjoin enforcement of any statute or policy that requires them to allow adults who are licensed by the state to carry handguns to conceal carry in classrooms where Plaintiffs are teaching. But Plaintiffs have failed to satisfy any of the requirements for a preliminary in- junction. They are not likely to succeed on the merits of their claims, there is no substantial threat that they will suffer irreparable harm if an injunction does not issue, the balance of harms favors Defendants, and the public interest supports denying the requested injunction.

The judge is allowing all sides to submit further briefs on the  disciplinary policies before he rules on the preliminary injunction.  Judge Yaekel has a reputation as a careful jurist.  He was appointed to the position in 2003 by President G. W. Bush.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Gun Watch

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

2nd Amendment supporting students should get replica guns that are brightly colored and squirt water and carry them into these profs classrooms. Set them front and center on their desk so the profs see them. And bring a Depends and some diaper wipes as a gesture to take care of the profs when they soil their britches.


in addition to their lawfully carried real sidearms, well concealed.

One would then have to wonder whether the liquid on the floor came from the toy squirt guns or from another source……a much warmer source.


That is what the Depends and diaper wipes are for.


Yes, those items would be appropriate for a Professor of Excrementalism.


As a young police officer attending a well-known university, I had a Sociology professor tell me (when I attended the class in uniform and while armed) he would not teach the class while I was there with a “gun.” I politely responded that “He was an employee, hired/paid to teach the class; I was a customer who had paid to receive the instruction, and if he didn’t teach the class I would sue him and the university for breach of contract for his refusal to do his job.” Guess what – after much huffing and puffing, the clown finished the… Read more »

Don Bailey

@Michael-I’m not sure what the laws are in your state, but typically, as certified peace officer, you should be allowed anywhere with in your uniform while armed. That sociology professor, as far as I’m concerned, had no legal right to not allow you in his classroom. Furthermore, it is rather comical, if not sad, how terrified some people are of firearms. The hysteria that public education and our academia crowd has created about firearms is ridiculous.

Wild Bill

@Mike and Don Baily, I like both arguments. The enlightened professor was just being a garden variety “obstructionist”.


you are correct, that wimpy “prof” had no legal right to bar this officer’s possession of his duty weapon in that space, and he KNEW it. Else he’d have taken action to enforce his silly will.

Hat’s off to this officer who stood up not only for his own rights bot those of everyone else in that room. Makes me wonder how many others began carrying after having that go down…… amusing thought. I know I’d have done…..

Gene Ralno

Use of the term “their” by this exalted one generally presumes the professors own the classrooms and rights are “theirs” exclusively. I doubt that she’s read John Lott’s latest book that clearly proves concealed carry licensees are safer than policemen and much safer than the general public.

Wild Bill

@Roy, Yes, I see your point,and of course, you are right the professors do not own the class room nor their office. I meant to write the office assigned to them. I did not mean to imply ownership. Thank you.

Wild Bill

Maybe those people could just lecture by closed circuit TV from the safety of their office. That way, no one’s Constitutional and statutory Civil Rights would be violated and those so called professors delicate sensibilities would not be offended. If this were not acceptable to those professors, then I would suspect that they have other motives

Don Bailey

Maybe she could deliver her sermons from the safety of a steel reinforced concrete office with a three inch plate door. These are the same kooks who demand a safe place to hide when danger knocks on the door. You can bet that even with all of that armor, she would still hide under her desk every time she heard a thump.


Actually – as more and more people begin to rebel at the unbelievably high cost of a “college education” we will see more and more “electronic” courses offered as opposed to the “brick and mortar” classroom option. No driving and no parking (saves gas, reduces pollution – the libtard said should like that), no traffic, no interaction with people you normally wouldn’t want to interact with anyway (and please – no psycho babble about how on campus college courses “expand” your mind and your “life experiences”), plus you reduce the possibility of being mugged/raped/murdered or otherwise bothered by the scum… Read more »


Tempest in a teapot. Its a frivolous suit that will not be upheld. There have always been concealed handguns (and other weapons) at UTA – just not legally. If the professors are so concerned that what they teach will so completely offend their students who will then open fire on them in disgust/anger they may wish to reconsider their teaching methods. Or they can grow a pair and carry on secure in their own minds that they are presenting vital information that may result in martyrdom (excuse me – martyrdumb)… Or they can resign and seek employment at another institution… Read more »

Danny Willard

I especially liked the hypocrisy in the last two words of this sentence, passively acquiesce in the presence of loaded weaponry in their place of public employment without the individual possession and use of such weaponry in public being well-regulated.
The carrying of a concealed hand gun is well regulated. I carry one now and they were being carried on that campus as far back as the early 70’s. I know, I was there to see it in person. 🙂
If these idiots do not like the law then they are free to teach in another state.


Remember, however, that the term “well-regulated” in the 2nd Amendment does not mean (never has meant) “controlled.” As used in the late 1700s, the term meant – and was UNDERSTOOD by all Colonists to mean – only and exactly “armed and equipped according to military regulations.” And no, I’m not kidding.


I think you are taking ‘well regulated’ a bit too far. Adequately equipped or properly functioning or properly able to function is enough. Armed according to military regs takes it beyond the usage of the time. It had no connection to firearms or military regulations. Well regulated was used in referring to education, discipline, sound thinking.
And NO. I am not kidding.
As you say it, Only people trained by the military or to military standards can bear arms.


In so far as the meaning and intent of the Second Amendment and the Founders are concerned you are wrong. Start reading.


What is my error ? Well regulated has no bearing on military training or regs or equipment. It means that properly equipped, trained, or such is necessary to preserve a free state. The people are the protectors of this free state. They need to be able to be properly equipped and trained to be those protectors of this free state. They do not need military training or firearms distributed by the military. Nor is this ‘well-regulated’ condition a requirement for them to bear arms. JoeUSooner makes it sound like this military training and equipping is the basis of bearing arms.… Read more »

Wild Bill

@ Joe, Vann, and Idad, I thought that if they showed up one a year, were able bodied, their weapon worked, and they demonstrated that they knew how to use it, then the met the definition of “… well regulated”.


Wild Bill, I agree but they do not even need to show up once a year for training. Occasional training in the field behind the house is adequate. Don’t let the anti-gunners try to say regular training is a prerequisite for bearing arms. Access to firearms without restriction is key. Training can happen any time if firearms are already in possession. But, if one does not have a right to possess firearms, no amount of training will help preserve the free state. Firearms ownership comes first. Training can follow as needed. btw, I have a dozen or more ancestors whose… Read more »


“well regulated” means functioning according to the need. It applies to timepieces, pumps, interstate commerce (NOT the sense so wrongly applied these days by overactive government nannies, but simply “make sure it happens”, don’t restrict trade between the states. It does NOT apply to government agencies “regulating” every article that is made in one state and did, COULD, or MIGHT move into another state, or was made at least in part of material/components originating in another state. Nor does it apply to current restrictions/rules concerning insurance, financial dealings, our Mother May I Cards, cars not meeting special smog specs of… Read more »

Wild Bill

@Idad, Oh.. I’m good with that!


Tionico, Wow, did you go off the reservation. Nothing in the Constitution says car emissions cannot be regulated, nor banking or insurance. Yes, many regulations go beyond the needs of the people and only serve special interest. Congress has toyed with an Enumerated Powers statute but has never been able to get it passed. It sounds redundant to the Constitution but is needed. If every law had to have a preamble that shows where the Constitution allows Congress to enact such a law, we would be started in the right direction.


The full quote:

“The phrase “well-regulated” was in common use long before 1789, and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to the property of something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected. Establishing government oversight of the people’s arms was not only not the intent in using the phrase in the 2nd amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the founders wrote it.”

As you can see it had nothing to do with government training or issuing of equipment.


Vanns40, You said to keep reading. Read what I wrote. I already said what you quoted.
Maybe you should have targeted your reply to JoeUSooner. He was in error. My and others replies were trying to correct him.
Keep reading.


It was the comma and then capital that got me confused. Sorry.


Well regulated during the time our Constitution was authored means in good working order.

“I say, your timepiece is well regulated”


Perhaps you might be of good use as a witness in this case. Since you were on that campus as (you?) and others carried with no incidents, you could be a first hand witness to the FACT that the simple act of carrying a loaded handgun in a classroom poses no danger to anyone other than some mental disturbance to some pantywaist perfessers who are likely in need of psychiatric treatment for their inordinate fear of weapons and their fetish for controlling everyone round about them. Such sick people seem increasingly to be the norm in our “education” system. No… Read more »

Michael Perrin

Why isn’t Paxton in prison yet? Illegally selling unregistered securities to his pals seems beneath the dignity of the AG’s office, but here is this fool, continuing on as if he respects the law, any law.


How about because he hasn’t been convicted in a court of law yet? Or do you think those pesky rights only apply to people you like?


So I am clear. There are people who claim they can not obey a law because they don’t like it or think it could harm them. Hmmmm. Let’s reverse that and say I believe college professors who don’t teach conservative values threaten me and should be barred from the campus. I win, they won’t teach conservative values. So they cannot come on campus. Stupid is as stupid does.

Harry in Ohio

After reading the thought processes of this “profrssor”, it makes me think it would be more suited for her to clean toilets for the university. That way she could find all the crap she needs to promote her opinions. However, the TSA may want her since she has the ability to see concealed weapons without use of x-ray equipment.