Annette Barraza, Paisano
Three UTSA professors have organized a peaceful demonstration for a Gun Free UT and a Gun Free UTSA.
The demonstration is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 15, 1:30-4:30 p.m. on UTSA’s Main Campus near the Rowdy statue.
The demonstration was planned to protest the passage of SB11, the controversial campus carry legislation to take effect Aug. 1, 2016.
The three professors – Dr. Ritu Mathur (political science) , Dr. Walter Wilson (political science) and Dr. Jackie Cuevas (English) – have a number of expectations for Thursday’s demonstration.
The trio wants to “emphasize President Romo’s authority to establish rules that can keep our classrooms, labs, offices and dorms gun-free,” a reminder to the public of a provision in SB11 that grants university presidents the discretionary power over where guns are allowed on campus.
“We want to foster and nurture a culture of open engagement and dialogue amongst faculty, students and staff to work in gun-free environments, and without the unnecessary threat of accidental and unintentional gun violence,” the group states.
The three organizers believe the new legislation will discourage open dialogue and hinder the learning environment as “universities are places of learning, to reason, debate, listen, even as we agree to disagree. Universities seek to empower students with words and not weapons.” Valuing weapons over words has tremendous social implications and will foster “an unhealthy environment which will compel each of us on this campus to view each other as a potential threat,” according to the professors. The group observes “SB 11 protects the rights of those that want to exercise their right to campus carry but ignores and marginalizes the rights of other to work in a safe environment.”
In addition to negative social consequences, there are potential economic outcomes to the campus carry policy to consider. The professors claim that, “SB11 and those that pushed through with this bill have deliberately practiced discrimination in the education and learning environment between public and private universities in Texas. Public universities are compelled to follow SB11 unlike private universities.”
The professors identify the public-private divide as discriminatory stating, “It is common knowledge that families with limited resources send their kids to public universities while wealthy families have the options to send their kids to private universities.”
Under the current law, only public universities are mandated to implement campus carry, so, the stigma and discrimination of public and private university education will only be reinforced.
The professors articulate that despite the aforementioned consequences, “These conversations and insights have strengthened the resolve of faculty and students at UTSA to demand gun-free classrooms and offices.”
Such conversations have led and emboldened faculty and students to mobilize peaceful demonstrations.
Dr. Mathur, Dr. Wilson and Dr. Cuevas encourage students to attend and participate in the peaceful demonstrations, join Facebook groups (Gun Free UTSA) and use organizations to take a stand.
The professors insist on the importance of involvement no matter what their field of study is. To sign the gun-free UTSA petition visit: