African and African Disapora Studies Department
African and African Disapora Studies Department

AADS Faculty Issue Statement on Pending Campus Carry Law

Thu, October 29, 2015
AADS Faculty Issue Statement on Pending Campus Carry Law
I want a gun free UT because...

October 29, 2015

In this country, which devalues black life as one of its founding principles, the expansion of citizens’ rights to bear firearms facilitates the violent deaths of Blacks. Accordingly, the faculty of the African and African Diaspora Studies Department (AADS) opposes the implementation of Texas SB11. This law will allow the more than 800,000 Texas Concealed Handgun License holders to carry their concealed weapons into buildings on our campus.

Allowing firearms on campus places UT’s Black population in a particularly vulnerable position. Many of us are concentrated spatially, politically, and intellectually in Black Studies. Ours is a particularly controversial discipline that deals with provocative themes such as anti-blackness, white supremacy, patriarchy, homophobia, economic oppression, and crosscutting differences and power. Black Studies grapples with these issues and the Black experience in general as a part of scholarly endeavors that aim to promote social justice and equity. Educational exchanges around such subject matter are often highly charged, difficult, and consequential.  It is not uncommon for AADS faculty to be the object of documented threats and harassment in our offices and lecture halls. The presence of firearms will not only stifle the free exchange of ideas but can be the basis for deadly violence against us in these often fraught settings.

Moreover, African Americans are disproportionality affected by the saturation of our society by firearms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the death rate due to gun violence for Blacks is more than twice that of whites.  Vigilante and extra-judicial killings of Black people, as well as the police-involved shootings that saturate our news coverage and our daily lives, point to the distinctly vulnerable position of Black people when it comes to firearm violence. Applied to our situation here at UT, in the presence of firearms the probability that bullets will find us is higher than for any other campus population. At the same time, racial bias functionally excludes Black people from accessing the rights afforded by campus carry legislation, as we would be more likely than our white counterparts to be perceived as actionable threats by fellow citizens and police officers alike.

When it comes to Black lives and the matter of guns in UT buildings, the State and the University have a responsibility to protect and defend those who are most vulnerable. Therefore, we demand that firearms be banned in all spaces occupied by Black people on our campus.

We also stand with other groups on our campus who are often impacted by firearms and other forms of violence, particularly members of the University’s LGBTQ community, other people of color, and all women. Accordingly, we would join with them in any request that guns be completely banned from the UT campus.

Signed (in alphabetical order):

Omoniyi Afolabi
Charles O. Anderson
Jossianna Arroyo-Martínez
Germine Awad
Dotun Ayobade
Keisha L. Bentley-Edwards
Daina Ramey Berry
Keffrelyn Brown
Anthony Brown
Simone A. Browne
Brenda Burt
Charlotte Canning
Ben Carrington
Ruramisai Charumbira
Tshepo Masango Chéry
Kevin O. Cokley
Toyin Falola
Caroline V. Faria
Kevin Foster
Lyndon K. Gill
Edmund T. Gordon
Kali Nicole Gross
Charles R. Hale
Louis Harrison
Juliet Hooker
Yasmiyn Irizarry
Omi Osun Joni L. Jones
Xavier Livermon
Minkah Makalani
Robin Moore
Moyo Okediji
Marcelo J. P. Paixão
Richard J. Reddick
Matt Richardson
Cherise Smith
Christen Smith
Eric Tang
Kevin Thomas
Lisa B. Thompson
Shirley Thompson
Omise’eke Tinsley
Almeida Jacqueline Toribio
Juliet E. K. Walker
Jennifer M. Wilks
Helena Woodard

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