The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students allowed protest rights but not wearing empty holsters

By Sara Pintilie/entertainment editor

TCC is one of two schools to prohibit a student organization from wearing empty holsters on campus.

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus is currently holding a nationwide protest at 300 colleges, including UT-Arlington.

Protesters are wearing empty holsters to class April 21-25.

“These empty holsters are designed to show the current state laws and campus policies leave students defenseless, with nothing but an empty holster,” Brett Poulos, a South Campus student and a national media liaison for SCCC, said in an e-mail to The Collegian.

The protest regulations, posted on www.concealedcampus.org, cite multiple times not to put anything in the holster and not to carry anything looking like a firearm.

The guidelines also state to mind campus policies.

“You and you alone are responsible for knowing the applicable state/municipal laws and school policies affecting your campus,” the guideline states. “Do not do anything to violate those laws or policies.”

The protest is planned on South Campus. TCC is allowing the group the use a free speech zone but not allowing them to wear holsters on campus.

“I believe that my Constitutional rights have been violated by this limitation,” Poulos said.

UTA is allowing participating members to wear both T-shirts and empty holsters on its campus.

Tarrant County College administrators thought empty holsters would disrupt the learning environment, Juan Garcia, vice president for student development services, said.

Poulos believes his freedom of expression is being hindered at TCC. “The administrative officials, specifically Juan Garcia, will not provide a reason for prohibiting this harmless fashion display,” he said.

TCC is concerned for how students would react, Garcia said.

“Sometimes you can’t tell if a holster is empty,” he said. “And after the recent events in Northern Illinois and Virginia Tech, we are looking not to have any disruptions.”

The Tarrant County College Policy and Procedures Manual states, “The college district may limit student expression in manner, place or time by means of reasonable and equally applied regulations.”

Every campus has a designated free speech zone where any student or organization can meet and voice their opinions if the director of student activities is notified at least 24 hours in advance.

“Little does Mr. Garcia know, but he is violating my right of free speech, my freedom of expression, and now he thinks he can get away with charging me for speaking freely on a state-funded campus,” Poulos said in the e-mail.

Garcia said TCC has not charged and does not charge for the use of the free speech zone. His memo to Poulos included the official policy but did not say Poulos would be charged.

SCCC has South’s free speech zone 7:50 a.m.-3 p.m. all week.

“This empty holster is no different than the political T-shirts I see on campus every day,” Poulos said.

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