Department of Spanish and Portuguese releases student-supported statement asserting disapproval of campus carry

Kahlil Said

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese released a statement, backed by the signatures of 70 UT students, voicing their opinion on campus carry.

Jossianna Arroyo, interim chair of the department, wrote on behalf of the group asserting their firm disapproval of campus carry.

“We strongly believe that concealed guns should not be allowed in any building, or on the perimeters of the campus of The University of Texas, Austin,” Arroyo said in the statement.

Arroyo said the group feels the idea that allowing students to carry guns will make classrooms safer is incorrect.

“As an intellectual community, we simply reject the premise that guns will make our classrooms, offices and social spaces safer,” Arroyo said. “As a racially, culturally, ethnically and sexually diverse department, we are aware of the social-power dynamics behind gun culture and the potentially disruptive and dangerous state of affairs the law allowing concealed weapons in campus buildings will bring to our courses, pedagogies, freedom of speech and finally, our security and lives.”

UT alumnus Patrick Lawrence said he agrees that a college campus is not the place to allow guns to be carried.

“A line has to be drawn, and that line is here,” Lawrence said. “Academic and educational facilities require a sense of safety and trust. People shouldn’t have to be thinking about whether the person next to them in class or in the library has a gun on them.”

Lawrence said other measures can be taken to combat mass school shootings.

“People argue that allowing campus carry might make shooters reconsider shooting up a school,” Lawrence said. “While that might be true in some cases, other measures can be taken by law enforcement and security officers rather than allowing students to carry guns.”

UT alumnus Sam Saldivar said he supports campus carry for several reasons.

“Campus carry requires a concealed carry license, which subjects applicants to background checks and firearm safety courses,” Saldivar said. “Prohibiting campus carry would not stop a criminal from taking a gun to campus, and it is a way to deter shootings when police response is not as rapid as necessary.”

Sarah Goetz, first-year UT law student, asserted her support of the statement released, stating that guns should absolutely not be allowed on campus.

“It’s unfathomable to me that anyone could think campus carry is a good idea,” Goetz said. “Especially after the amount of school shootings this past year.”