Finding a balance: a case study using framing and sensemaking theory to analyze the implementation of campus carry law at four South Texas community colleges


2017-12, 2017-122017-122017-12


Ortega-Feerick, Diana
Ortega-Feerick, Diana


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The issue of guns and gun control is very complex especially since the passage of Campus Carry Law in the state of Texas. The purpose of this qualitative case study is to explore how decision-making administrators at four nonresidential community colleges in South Texas implemented Campus Carry Law. This study further seeks to examine how 10 decision making college administrators at four nonresidential community colleges in South Texas found a balance between following the state law, respecting individual rights, and at the same time maintaining a safe and secure campus community. Using qualitative research methods, the collections of data was conducted through an in-depth, unstructured interview. Analysis of the data presented three super ordinate themes supported by eight subthemes.

The study, ultimately, concluded that participants found balance and made meaning of the law by being self-aware of the influential and conflicting inner perspectives. The study also found that one’s positionality can bias one’s epistemology and to remain neutral one must remain open minded. The study also found that participant’s rationale to remain neutral helped make sense of the implications of the law and not have their personal feelings influence their decisions. Lastly, the study found that participant’s knowledge, experiences, beliefs, and values as professionals constructed meaning to the challenges faced by the ambiguity of the law. While the findings of the study added to the literature on Campus Carry, Sensemaking, and Framing further qualitative studies are warranted. To gain an insight into the multifaceted perspectives of Campus Carry, sensemaking, and framing theory, the following recommendations for future studies include qualitative methods to inquire and uncover the perspectives of students, faculty, and staff regarding campus carry law; qualitative methods to inquire how institutional leaders make sense of reform demands and adapt them to their institutional environments, and qualitative research which will look at the mobilization of people into action through frame analysis.



campus carry, community colleges, decision-making, framing, higher education, sensemaking