University of Texas architecture dean leaves post over new campus gun law


The dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas has resigned over a new state law that will allow students to carry guns on campus.

Frederick "Fritz" Steiner will leave the Austin university after 15 years in the role to take up the post of dean of Penn Design, the University of Pennsylvania's architecture school. The Pennsylvania university, Steiner's alma mater, announced the appointment yesterday.

Steiner said the incoming law, known as "campus carry", was the reason why he was leaving his post.

"I would have never applied for another job if not for campus carry," Steiner told nonprofit news service The Texas Tribune. "I felt that I was going to be responsible for managing a law I didn't believe in."

"Penn is a great institution and I am very happy to go to Penn, but I was approached," Steiner said. "If it wouldn't have been for campus carry, I wouldn't have considered it."

The new law, which was passed last year and takes effect on 1 August, will allow students, faculty and staff over the age of 21 with licences to carry concealed guns to bring their weapons onto campus, including in classrooms.

How the law will be implemented and concerns about safety have been a fraught subject at faculty meetings and among students, according to Steiner.

The rash of mass shootings that continues across the country have prompted some states, including Connecticut and New York, to tighten restrictions on guns and increase background checks on buyers, but other states like Texas have loosened regulations.

The law has caused divisions at the University of Texas, with the university's president Gregory L Fenves stating that the institution had adopted the law reluctantly.

"I do not believe handguns belong on a university campus, so this decision has been the greatest challenge of my presidency to date," he wrote earlier this month.

Some fear the law could cause creative professionals and intellectuals to leave the state.

Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster tweeted: "UT Architecture Dean departs due to campus carry law. Wow. Beginning of a Texas brain drain."

Students for Concealed Carry, a group that supports the new law, admitted in a statement published in The Texas Tribute that worries about guns on campus are taking "a real, measurable toll on the state's institutions of higher education."

But the group added that "campus carry is not to blame for the current atmosphere of fear on Texas college campuses".

UT Austin is ranked in the top 10 architecture schools in the US for undergraduate education, while Penn is among the top rated for graduate schools.

Steiner completed his graduate degrees at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school located in Philadelphia. He will take up his new post at the university on 1 July.

  • Architects Anonymous

    This guy is full of it. He’s going back to the school he was from, and just wanted to leave looking like he was making a big statement to make himself seem important. People like this disgust me.

    • davvid

      You’re probably a right-winger.

      • Concerned Citizen

        How much more prejudiced can you be?

        • davvid

          You won’t deny it because you probably are one.

          • Concerned Citizen

            Nothing worthy to admit or deny. If that’s your best argument, you have lost the argument.

          • davvid

            The argument is that you seem to be trolling in favour of guns on campus under multiple usernames.

    • james juricevich

      Why are you so cynical about it? Why don’t you believe him when he says he would rather not have left?

    • Anonymous IQ

      Yeah, we should totally give people guns man. Like, even kids… Yeah, give kids guns too. We’ll shoot our way to peace.

      What an ignorant and futile comment.

      • Concerned Citizen

        What is your proposal, then? We already see that the total ban of guns on campuses, even in entire cities is ineffective. Records show that the stricter the gun laws, the higher the murder rates by guns. The state of Texas, with some of the most relaxed gun laws also has one of the lowest murder rates in the country. Seems like Texas gets it.

        • hellfire

          You seem to have purposely disregarded gun-related deaths in general. Because by that metric, Texas is pretty terrible. Also there are no “records” that show stricter gun laws means higher murder rates. The facts don’t exactly back you up on that because a straight comparison between gun laws and gun violence has no actual metric to go by. In other words, it’s impossible to make those kinds of comparisons from state to state.

          What’s a decent proposal? How about purging America of its ridiculous gun fascination? I know, near impossible given how much of a gun-boner many Americans have. Short of that then, stricter gun laws will do just fine. When it’s harder to get a driver’s license than it is to get a gun, something is markedly off.

          • Concerned Citizen

            Check the city of Chicago. Of the large cities in the USA, Chicago, with the strictest gun laws, has the highest shooting and death by guns, by a large margin. Washington Post, supporter of suppressing the second amendment.

          • Neek

            The Chicago argument is tired and has been refuted many times by the obvious issue of relaxed gun laws throughout the rest of Illinois, including the city’s immediate vicinity.

            Try again to actually cite a reference in your favor that cannot be easily disputed.


          • Concerned Citizen

            What’s the point? You are here just to argue the leftist point of view, lacking in any desire to learn, and to belittle all those who think outside the closed leftist mindset.

          • Neek

            The point is, I’ve come to the table with a few references that support my argument. You have not. I’m more than willing to read any actual reference you put forward.

            How have you been belittled by my response? I stated my argument against yours, backed it up, and challenged you to do the same. That is debate.

        • Camden Greenlee

          Not true. Texas ranks 23rd for highest murder rates according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report. You see, when you claim something as “fact,” you have to back it up with citations that can lead people to evidence. Even the state of New York (ranked 31st) has lower murder rates than Texas.

          • Concerned Citizen

            So, what’s your proposal?

          • Camden Greenlee

            My proposal is that you concern yourself with looking things up before sputtering false information under the guise of truth.

            I didn’t join this discussion to offer my opinion on the article, I joined it because I couldn’t let you get away with your absurd commentary.

          • Concerned Citizen

            A troll, then.

          • btng

            I do not think you understand what a internet troll is. Edit: yes, I made this account just to write that.

          • Concerned Citizen

            Thanks for proving my point.

          • btng

            Conversely, thanks for proving my point. I have a lifetime to get the last word in.

          • Conor O’Sullivan

            Don’t encourage that guy anymore. Not capable of understanding basic logic and stuck in his twisted right-wing view of life. Worries me that he probably possesses a gun too!

          • Concerned Citizen

            So, just a troll we can all ignore. Thanks for the clarification.

        • tony365

          Go away already. I forgot how annoying you were. Go troll somewhere else. This is a design website, Curbed LA is back, hint hint. It is a stupid law, and Texas does not get it.

          • Concerned Citizen

            Excuse me, but you are the troll, flying off topic and denigrating all those who can think without the direction of the left-wing nut jobs.

        • Neek

          Wrong. As mentioned by some others here, Texas is average. You’ll also notice that states with weak gun control laws easily outnumber the others states in terms of the death rate.

          Read this and take note of the trend. The worst states (for example, Wyoming, Alaska, Louisiana) have some of the highest rates of gun violence, coupled with very little gun control laws.

        • agagnu

          Assuming that you do want a way forward, then look to countries with a highest ‘happiness of life’ rating. America claims to have a constitution for the ‘pursuit of happiness’, yet the country is rated way down the list.

          People are not happy in America; the high stress of living with guns in the street is one cause. Look at the UK bobby on the beat; carries no gun, “good evening all” greeters.

    • hellfire

      He’s full of it? Full of what, exactly? I’m assuming that he’s hoping NOT to be full of holes. Because given the trajectory Texas is taking, any given day would just be one bad day away from some gun nut making a bad decision.

      • Concerned Citizen

        The facts make you a fool.

        • hellfire

          No, making up “facts” makes you the fool.

      • BG

        Each one to his own beliefs or pretentious. Not sure this is the place to discuss gun laws. This is art/design site that should not be politicised. I will keep my strong beliefs on the subject to myself.

        As for statistics, it was twisted every way possible to prove one’s point. My suggestion to both sides – learn the subject in-depth, especially the other side story and data and take your emotions out of this.

    • Architects Anonymous

      High energy

    • Student

      As a student at the school, I can tell you that your assumption is grossly wrong. The article misrepresents his intentions. “Campus carry” is one of many contributing factors in his leaving. If you checked almost any other source on the subject you would have found that.

      People like you that assume they know everything without being in the situation disgust me. Do your research before making claims.

      • Architects Anonymous

        Well, most architecture professors are terrible people, and treat there students with no respect for the amount of work they do, and give them projects that force them to stay up for absurd periods of time, and that can be avoided to an extent.

        They choose favourites, have huge false egos and talk about student projects like they have been endowed by a divine god of design. So, I suppose the dean of an architecture school might have more contributing factors that make him want to leave, which is probably fear of his life, but maybe he should reassess how he has structured his department and the treatment of the students and there own lives and emotions.

        Instead he runs like a scared child to another school where he can flaunt his ego with out fear of himself being shot by a deranged sleepless and unfairly treated architecture student. And furthermore, he makes a “noble” statement about it, showing off his super liberal views and asserting himself into the media.

    • Doubtful Dodger

      Are you going to help build “the wall”?

  • Rooster McCooty

    So it begins, the Texas brain drain.

  • sorperdida

    Sooner or later, these devious Texas armed kids will leave their seminary rooms in blood. The idea of going to study with a firearm in your hand is somehow contradictory to the generally acknowledged concept of what a college student should be: idealistic, pacifist, liberal… What is wrong with this state? What is it wrong with the remaining professors at the University of Texas who tacitly sign up to this primitive law?

    • Concerned Citizen

      Texas has one of the lowest murder rates in the country. What do you miss about that?

      • Paul Lloyd Johnson

        No, murder rates for Texas are pretty average actually.

      • Camden Greenlee

        According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, Texas ranks 23rd in the highest murder rates per capita of all 50 states. Just google “murder rates by state.” It’s not that hard and you’ll save yourself from looking like a fool.

        You should start “concerning” yourself with looking things up before making commentary.

  • Texas Trump

    America needs to sort itself out. Allowing its citizens to carry cheap guns just to make money for an inflated industry (and don’t hide behind that sorry excuse for a f*cking constitution) is a joke.

    Americans should hang their heads in shame given the amount of massacres its culture and wider society nurtures.

    In fact, America IS shamed by many other civil societies. How fitting that the “world’s greatest country” can’t see what is so obvious.

    Guns are cheap and anybody can get hold of them. Even if there were strict laws in place, the black market is so saturated with guns that they would be easy to get hold of for years to come.

    America, brace yourself. More massacres will happen. And equipping your little darlings with concealed guns will not protect them. It will just give everybody a false sense of security.

    What a disastrous and shameful policy. I’m also disgusted by the comment posted by Architects Anonymous.

    • Concerned Citizen

      The facts make you a prejudiced fool.

      • Camden Greenlee

        Please cite your references.

      • Doubtful Dodger

        What facts?!

    • The Liberty Disciple

      I am ashamed by the massacres at the bloodied hands of my political leaders.

      For nearly a century now, they have torn the world apart in an imperial conquest that is currently missing from the headlines due to a bunch of politically connected moralists who are unable blame a shooting on a mentally ill shooter. As long as this debate (data fuelled by the immoral war on drugs) takes place over the real massacres (90% casualty rates of innocent men, women, and children in poor Muslim countries by million-dollar US drone strikes) college educated, white, wealthy professors can fein martyrdom by pretending to do something to protect those they feel are too stupid to lead their own lives by themselves.

      Americans need to sort this out. It will only happen when people are fed up being controlled by an elite few.

      • Doubtful Dodger

        I’d prefer the “elite few” of the government to keep people like you in your place to be honest.

        Advocating guns is just mad but I understand it is a part of American culture. But then again, it is a part of Swiss culture too. In fact, many cultures have a fond affiliation with firearms. But there is nowhere that champions them so inconsiderately and ardently as America.

        When a nutter goes mad with a gun in Norway, it is big news because it is rare across Europe, despite guns being widely available.

        When it happens in America, well it’s just another day for the NRA to push more guns down your throat and keep you scared of the government.

        What world are you living in, seriously?! Step outside from the media maelstrom. Have you travelled? I’m really trying to see things from the other side here, but all I’m getting back from gun advocates on this thread is unfounded stats and conspiracy theories.

        I do understand that you would like to arm yourself if you’re feeling threatened. But what I don’t see is anybody looking to resolve why people feel threatened in the first place.

        • The Liberty Disciple

          This is where belief and history begin to blend. My human right to self-defence is not based on how I feel, but based on the history of humanity. Centralised power attracts sociopathic people like moths to a flame. It is in the individual’s fight for liberty that armed defence has proven to be the most effective.

          I’ve travelled enough to know that comparing a community based ethnically and culturally homogenous society like Norway, to a spread-out culturally and economically diverse society like the United States of America is foolish. I also know that living in a country considered a super power, has much bigger influence on internal political affairs that create many of the upsetting socioeconomic disruptions.

          Arms manufacturers make more money off the sale of foreign military arms by the politicians who feign moralist positions on restricting citizen gun-rights at home. It’s a con, and I hope more people see through this empty debate.

          This is basic logic and reasoning. If you want to understand my side (not the side of people who tow NRA sound bites) read the history of arming oneself in defence. Read about the 16th Century German Peasant’s War. The men who wrote the 2nd Amendment in the United States of America were inspired by this event. The power of an individual in the face of all armed threats begins with the ability to defend without limitation.

          • Camden Greenlee

            I see your point and I appreciate your reasoning. I agree that it is a mistake to compare internal policies of extremely different societies. The biggest grey area here (regarding the 2nd Amendment) in my opinion, is with regards to the language that includes “a well regulated militia.” The amendment was intended to protect the rights of citizens from a potentially violent tyranny.

            Context is important here, and the men who wrote the Constitution knew that. The vagueness of this single sentence is intentional (and enormously frustrating when arguments use it to strong-arm a specific view about firearm legislation). The wisdom of the founding fathers was in their understanding that the context of the Constitution will change over time and thus, its interpretation. My biggest gripe is with those who do not allow for changes in interpretation (I’m not insinuating that you are guilty of this at all) and use the 2nd amendment as an argument of the 21st century, rather than an argument that took place in the 18th century.

  • DanH

    Officials at several universities, including the University of Utah, Utah Valley University, Dixie State College and Utah State University told that though carrying guns on campus has been legal for nearly a decade, they haven’t seen evidence that their schools are less safe.

    “We haven’t had much problem with it,” said Steven Mecham, head of the Utah State University Department of Public Safety. “It’s just not been an issue.”

    Reached via email, University of Utah spokeswoman Maria O’Mara told, “We have had no incidents on campus regarding this law.”

  • Davide

    What on earth makes people think it be a good idea to have people carrying guns on campus?!

    • DavidGoldiee


    • Concerned Citizen

      The fact that states with more permissive gun laws have lower murder rates.

      • Camden Greenlee

        Please cite your references. If you’re going to state that the “facts” make everyone look like a fool, then you should have the sense to cite them.

  • The Liberty Disciple

    A noble excuse. Give me a break.

    • guest

      I suppose you think the US government is going to take your freedom away or some southern nonsense? Or is it that you are going to be a victim of crime yourself, so why not combat that by blowing the threat’s head off?

      America is such a young country – I actually have furniture that is older – that it is no wonder many of the citizens still have that simplistic pioneer mentality.

      You want to keep hold of your guns because they make you feel safe, they feed a huge industry and it is your right to do so, largely because a scrap of paper from a bygone age says you can.

      That scrap of paper was written when US citizens needed weapons. It was an unstable nation that could’ve been snatched away from the citizens at any moment.

      This isn’t the case any longer and yet people like you still insist on the status quo.

      • The Liberty Disciple

        As a victim of campus gun violence, I can say that barring students, staff, and faculty their right to self-defence is absurd in the 21st century. The liberal notion of governing one’s self is new. If it was not for new ideas, we might all still be serving feudal lords. Your ideas are conservative and come from the distant past.

        This is about an educator in Texas who is using an issue to slip out of his duties at a university. A better protest would be to stay and to fight for his students. Instead he turns tail and runs back to his own comfort and past. Ego overcomes his supposed duty to higher education.

        College is about new ideas, debate, controversy, experiment, and expanding knowledge. This is an empty political scheme. Your false moralist argument on collective safety feeds a larger industry that murders tens of thousands of innocent people yearly. The right to oppose this imperial conquest cannot be protected by any document.

        • Doubtful Dodger

          What do you need to defend yourself from? Tell us what you are scared of, please.

  • Sim

    People need to feel free and safe in a university in order to develop fully. Guns don’t fit into that.
    I can only applaud the decision. It must have been hard to uproot his house and family.

  • Jess Thinkin

    Awwww! Poor lil’ fella.

  • Jess Thinkin

    Who’s this guy kidd’n? He leaves Austin, Texas – with one of the lowest 50 gun-related murder rates in the country – wearing his oh-so-noble leftist ideology on his sleeve – headin’ for the protective climes of one of the most gun-restrictive cities in the US with the fourth highest gun murder rate in the country. Don’t all you sophomoric arty types just love sweet irony? You don’t even need to design it, it just sneaks up on you and bites you on the butt, in all its unsophisticated beauty!

    • T-dog

      Sophomoric arty types! Lol. What are you doing on Dezeen magazine? Haha. Trawling the net for gun arguments probably.

      • Jess Thinkin

        Doggy, or do I call you T? Nah, I’m just hangin’ around on the Dezeen site waiting for posters, not unlike yourself, to exercise their oh-so-progressive, tolerant stereotypical generalities when given half an opportunity.

      • tony365

        Yes he is.

  • JayCee

    3D-printed guns, of course. No self-respecting architect gun-nut would be seen dead carrying a gat they hadn’t downloaded from thingiverse.

  • Colonel Pancake

    Nobody who is truly worried of gun violence moves to Philly.

    • ron

      That’s such a true statement he will probably be mugged twice and will hear gun fire while peddling his bike to school within a year.

  • oldschool

    Every other western democracy has gun control laws, thankfully… The NRA seems to have pulled a Jedi mind trick on everyone in America, but hey whatever.

    If they are fine with a mass shooting every week of the year, let them think that having zero gun laws is going to make them safer.

    Considering the US is the only western democracy with this outrageous frequency of mass shootings, it is pretty obvious to anyone that it “doesn’t make you safer”.

    • Doubtful Dodger

      I couldn’t agree more. Well said.

  • Mark

    American’s are nice people but go all crazy town over guns, I don’t get it. It seems like a debate that never goes anywhere, despite crazy high gun death rates and regular massacres.

    • Jess Thinkin

      We’re a feisty bunch Mark. When our forefathers left Europe they took that DNA with ’em, along with a streak of independence and entrepreneurial spirit that left European societies somewhat bereft of all three.

      • Mark

        They also brought with them racism, slavery, and imperialism, plus my ancestors left Europe too, and I don’t get the crazy-eye gun stuff, but then again I don’t get the appeal of Trump. All the best with the feisty stuff. :)

  • Eric Morehouse

    Why don’t we stick to design and not someone’s political beliefs…

    • Jess Thinkin

      Scratch an artist Eric, and ya gotcha a political philosopher.

  • Peter W

    I feel so much better about living in Australia when I read these sort of stories, at least we have proper gun laws!

  • agagnu

    No thanks to Justice Scalia (RIP), he deconstructed the singular sentence of the Second Amendment and replaced a comma with a full stop into two misleading sentences. So much for American English when it suited a biased judge with eyes wide open.

  • BSM_08091213

    Odd. West Philadelphia is extremely dangerous. And, of course, that city has very strict gun laws. I know, I’m from Philadelphia living in Texas.

    • Doubtful Dodger

      Do you not think that is because of any number of complex issues? It’s too simple to draw direct correlations between gun laws and levels of crime. It’s one-dimensional thinking and to be quite frank, silly.

      Economic issues, employments rates, education, diversity, opportunity – they all play some part in this issue.

      • Jess Thinkin

        Yeah Doubtful. Somehow, based on your specious list of time-worn, ill-considered, academic and politically correct excuses, I figured you’d leave out the most obvious statistically provable cause and effect relationship… Ethnicity! Mustn’t get too close to some perspicuous tho’ uncomfortable truths, must we?!

        • clive

          If only there were more people with your intelligence in positions of power.

      • BSM_08091213

        No, as someone who has lived in Philadelphia for 18 years knows that if law abiding citizens could easily pack hit, the number of violent crimes would go down. Way down… Hence, why I now permanently live in Texas. Stop being such a hipster.

        • Giles

          Ah well, if you know that that would put an end to crime, then why not go ahead ay!? Everyone, somebody has the solution! Carry guns and crime will go “way down”.

          It scares me that people like you are allowed to vote. You have no evidence to support your claim and you’re completely disregarding other methods of crime prevention.

          There are wider cultural issues America needs to deal with. The nation’s love affair with firearms is toxic and lethal.

  • odd

    What a crazy conversation! Why are people so attached to weapons that can kill?

  • Yuan Wen

    I’m totally shocked by some of the commends here. I graduated from architecture school. Yes, professors can be very hard to deal with in jury. But they were just try to help you improve, not intending to insult you.

    Secondly, people have the right to accept or refuse to certain facts. And he just refused to accept the fact that people were allowed or even “encouraged” to bring weapons to an education facility. And that makes him a coward and blamable? I simply don’t understand your logic.

  • Nick

    I am in favour of the new law and I would also consider resigning if I were in that position. The political climate is transitional and very volatile right now nationwide. Collegiate faculty should consider what situations they might need to manage in their efforts to protect students.

    I bet on occasion and if this law sticks, it will aid a decrease of innocent victims in college shooting. I don’t know if it will aid the decrease of gun violence on campuses but rather give individuals the option to protect themselves when campus police are nowhere to be found.