TikTok ban causes UT-Austin students to examine University priorities, push for safer campuses

Gabi Mathison, General News Reporter

The University of Texas at Austin recently blocked access to the popular social media app TikTok on UT Wi-Fi in accordance with Gov. Greg Abbott’s Dec. 7, 2022 order that required government agencies to remove the app from all state-issued devices. 

With rules like the right to carry on campus remaining in place, many students disagree with the recent ban on TikTok.

The decision led to some students criticizing the priorities of the University on social media, such as government sophomore Joseph Ho-Shing, who frequently uses TikTok.

“(A ban) on something as frivolous as TikTok just seems kind of absurd to me,” said Ho-Shing, membership director of  University Democrats. “(As for) the priorities with the University, I feel like they should fight more on not having weapons on campus.”

In 2015, Abbott signed a Senate Bill permitting campus carry at public universities. As long as the holder has a license to carry, they can carry a concealed handgun on school grounds, according to the bill. The allowance of these concealed handguns combined with the recent TikTok ban struck a nerve among UT students, such as social work sophomore Angel Huang. 

“It’s funny how the University doesn’t put more time and effort into addressing the issue (of campus carry) and focus more on the TikTok ban,” Huang said. “(Campus carry) is a normal everyday fear that most people have in the back of their mind.”

Students agree that there are other ways of protecting oneself, and carrying concealed handguns makes some students feel unsafe on campus, as they wonder who could be carrying a weapon, Ho-Shing said.

“It’s like everyone is walking around like the Wild West or something, which is not something I’m particularly safe with, ” mathematics junior Elijah Criswell said.

Because of shootings across Texas, such as the UT Tower shooting, the El Paso Walmart shooting and the recent Uvalde shooting, carrying concealed handguns worries students, Ho-Shing said.

“I’m from the Valley so I feel very much with those areas,” Ho-Shing said. “I feel like if we allow people to carry their guns everywhere, it’s just a trigger waiting to happen.”

As TikTok remains off the campus airwaves, UT students continue to voice their resentment toward the University on other social media platforms. The banning of the social media app continues to spark frustration among students, pushing them to speak out about important issues like campus carry.