UT Austin: Activists Not Permitted to Hold 'Mock Mass Shooting' on Campus
The UT Austin campus is not open to hold the planned make-believe mass shooting this weekend by campus carry activists, the University said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
Updated: Come and Take It Texas posted on facebook Wednesday evening that, after getting UT Austin's message about not trespassing on its campus, would meet with "the Dean of UT" Thursday to do a walkthrough of the group's planned location.
"UT will be the backdrop to this event," the group said.
Within the university community, the campus is a place for the vigorous exchange of diverse viewpoints, which is an essential part of the educational experience. The property or buildings owned or controlled by UT Austin are not, however, open to outside groups for assembly, speech, or other activities, including theatrical performances, as are the public streets, sidewalks, and parks. Only the university itself, faculty, staff and student groups may engage in such activities on campus. This applies equally to an outside protest group, an outside theater troupe, or any outside group wishing to use the facilities or grounds of the university.
Many groups seek to use the university’s facilities each year and they are all treated equally and are turned away. For example, we have not allowed the Westboro Baptist Church to protest on campus and have not allowed labor groups to protest on campus. We have told outside sporting groups that they may not use our sporting facilities.
Further, the University said that if outside individuals violate the rules by coming onto campus without permission, they'll be asked to leave, and if they then do not leave, it becomes criminal trespassing.
The people planning the 'mock mass shooting' are campus carry activists with the groups Come and Take It Texas and Don’tComply.com.
Below: Before the university released its statement, KUT's Nathan Bernier spoke with one of the event's organizers, Matthew Short of Come and Take It Texas.
Spokesperson Matthew Short of Come and Take It Texas says they’ll use cardboard weapons and fake blood, and the actors playing the roles of the victims will be wearing shirts that say Gun Free UT.
“We’re going to be mocking the fact that people want to have these gun-free zones where people die all the time. The shooting that just happened in California was in a gun-free zone,” Short says.
Short says it’s to call attention to their belief that gun free zones can be targets for mass shooters.
“We call them victim disarmament zones or victim killing zones. And we want more guns in the public because an armed society is a polite society.”
A state law takes effect in August allowing concealed handgun license holders to carry a weapon into campus buildings. Public universities may create gun-free zones on campus, but not if it has the effect of banning guns campus-wide. Texas College Democrats and UT’s University Democrats accuse the pro-gun groups of dehumanizing tragedies, and they're urging UT president Fenves to prevent it from taking place.
Texas College Democrats President Kat Hoang said in a statement that "Groups organizing this abhorrent event should be ashamed of themselves."
We strongly condemn the mock mass shooting that gun activists are organizing this weekend at UT Austin. #txlege pic.twitter.com/EvVDIzLW0x— Texas College Democrats (@CollegeDemsTX) December 9, 2015
Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com have not yet responded or released a statement on social media since UT Austin spoke out.
We will update this story with any new information.