MARCH FOR GUN-FREE CAMPUSES
DATE: Friday, January 8, 2016
PLACE: 1:30pm Gather in Griffin Hall on the 2nd floor of the JW Marriott, 110 E. 2nd Street
1:45pm March from JW Marriott to Capitol Steps South
3:00pm Book Building and Rally on Capitol Steps South
PURPOSE: Send a message to the Texas State Legislature and UT Administration: Keep guns out of our campuses. All who oppose the carrying of guns in campus buildings are welcome.
In June 2015, the Texas state legislature passed Senate Bill 11, which threatens to force public colleges and universities in Texas to allow concealed handguns in campus buildings. The UT Campus Carry Working Group, which was charged with making policy recommendations to UT-Austin President Fenves, has concluded that under S. B. 11, UT must allow concealed handguns in the classroom. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has publicized his opinion that under S. B. 11 it will be illegal to ban handguns from student dorms.
Texas colleges and universities overwhelmingly oppose this law. Private colleges and universities are allowed to ‘opt out’ of S.B. 11, and most have. Over 1500 UT faculty and over 1800 UT graduate students have signed petitions against allowing guns in classrooms. UT’s Campus Carry Working Group state in their own report that not one of their members thinks guns should be allowed in college classrooms.
Nationwide, academic institutions and organizations agree. On November 30, the Modern Language Association (MLA)–the primary professional organization for American college and university faculty who teach modern languages & literatures–joined 28 other American scholarly societies in a public statement opposing campus carry laws on the grounds that they pose a threat to freedom of expression and to campus safety.
The Modern Language Association holds its annual convention in Austin from January 7-10, 2016. Gun-Free UT, with the co-sponsorship of the MLA, has organized the March Against Gun-Free Campuses in conjunction with the convention. Before UT-Austin President Fenves acts on the Campus Carry Working Group’s recommendations, and before S. B. 11 takes effect on August 1, 2016, we invite all MLA convention attendees, all those who work and study in Texas’s colleges and universities, and all concerned citizens to come together to defend the public’s right to a gun-free university.
All who believe that guns do not belong on college and university campuses are welcome to participate in the March for Gun-Free Campuses. You need not be affiliated with a university or a member of MLA.
Participants will gather at 1:30pm on Friday, January 8, 2016 in Griffin Hall on the second floor of the JW Marriott (110 E. 2nd street, Austin TX), where the president of the Modern Language Association, Professor Roland Greene of Stanford University, will speak about campus carry from a national perspective. At 1:45, we will leave the Marriott and parade down Congress Avenue carrying books. When we reach the Capitol steps, we will use these books to build a symbolic gun exclusion zone. If you have a spare book that you would like to use to build the zone, please bring it with you. Make sure it is a book you can afford to lose. Given our limited time at the Capitol, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to reunite all the books used to build the Zone with their individual owners.
From inside the zone, speakers will read from texts that they have discussed in a classroom, and speak about why these texts must be taught in a gun-free environment.
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
Click this link to pre-order a Gun-Free UT T-shirt, which can be picked up at Griffin Hall prior to the march. “No Campus Carry” buttons will be available for free at the MLA convention and in Griffin Hall. We invite participants in the March for Gun-Free Campuses to wear orange (the color adopted by Everytown For Gun Safety and Moms Demand Gun Sense in America), or one of the orange armbands available in Griffin Hall.
If you would like to get involved with the march, or if you have questions about it, please contact the organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org .