The Consequences of our Indifference

The consequences of bringing guns to classrooms and dorms are  predictable: it will put a chill on public debate and it will increase the rate of suicides, accidents, and sexual violence on campuses. This law will impact the humanities most severely because it will intimidate faculty from tackling controversial issues in class. Most faculty will think twice before offering courses on controversial topics like race, gender, inequality, religion, slavery, empire, colonialism, etc. This law will force universities to spend millions in establishing gun-free spaces, money that should rather be used in salaries, equity, and tenure-track lines. The unintended consequences of the law will also affect universities across Texas: it will become a recruiting- and retaining-talent nightmare. Leading scholars will hesitate to relocate to campuses festooned with gun signs and gun lockers, which will be needed to carve out gun-free spaces. These were all points brought up by the Chancellor of the UT system and by our University President before the last state legislature, but it was all to no avail. The law was passed.

That we should be even discussing the virtue of having guns on campuses is itself a testament to our passivity. After every mass murder a radicalization of the second amendment discourse ensues. And every time there is a mass shooting, new laws are enacted to make guns even more available at every possible public setting. This is both paradoxical and obscene. Had we all collectively put pressure on our legislatures and on gun manufacturers (via our pensions funds), this ever expanding second-amendment laws would have never passed. Yet they did. It is time to act.

— Jorge Canizares-Esguerra