The 21st century reincarnation of “Make Love, Not War” has arrived.
When ’60s protesters were opposing the Vietnam War, they emblazoned the demand for sexual freedom over violence on buttons they wore on their chests. Come next fall, students at the University of Texas Austin will protest concealed handguns on campus by strapping “gigantic swinging dildos” to their backpacks.
“The State of Texas has decided that it is not at all obnoxious to allow deadly concealed weapons in classrooms, however it DOES have strict rules about free sexual expression, to protect your innocence,” reads the Facebook event created by music student Jessica Jin.
“You would receive a citation for taking a DILDO to class before you would get in trouble for taking a gun to class,” the page, which features the hashtag #CocksNotGlocks, continues. “Heaven forbid the penis.”
As of early Monday, 3,600 students had indicated online that they would participate in the action, alongside nearly 700 who are “maybe” joining in.
The “Campus (DILDO) Carry” event juxtaposes two regulations: the state bill signed this summer that will allow license holders to carry a concealed handgun throughout university campuses (including inside buildings), and the section of the Texas Penal Code which forbids individuals from displaying or distributing obscene materials.
Speaking on the Facebook page, Jin imagines that a just reconciliation of the two laws would look something like this:
“You’re carrying a gun to class? Yeah well I’m carrying a HUGE DILDO.”
Governor Greg Abbott’s Senate Bill 11, known as the “conceal carry law,” was signed on June 1 and will take effect next August. It includes a stipulation noting that universities still can determine how the law is regulated.
Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oregon and Wisconsin have passed similar legislation, while Idaho, Utah and Colorado allow concealed guns on campus regardless of the schools’ positions.
UT Austin students, faculty and staff have been vocal in their resistance to the bill for some time, albeit through less raunchy avenues.
They urged school president Greg Fenves to severely limit campus carry at two public forums last month, the Houston Chronicle reports. Last week, longtime economics professor Daniel Hamermesh announced that he would be leaving UT Austin because of the bill’s implications.
“With a huge group of students, my perception is that the risk that a disgruntled student might bring a gun into the classroom and start shooting at me has been substantially enhanced by the concealed-carry law,” Hamermesh wrote in a letter to Fenves.
According to the Daily Texan, the university’s campus paper, there are 475 students enrolled in Hamermersh’s class.
Joan Neuberger, a history professor at UT Austin, told the Houston Chronicle that permitting guns in classrooms will impede candid discussions in a traditionally “safe space.”
“People get very heated,” she said. “If I know there’s a possibility that someone has a gun in the classroom … I’m not going to encourage students to speak openly.”
The day the legislation was signed, UT Austin journalism lecturer David Smith-Soto put a “No Guns” sign on the door of his classroom.
Meanwhile, members of Students for Concealed Carry have argued that they would feel safer going to class with a gun. The national organization has pointed out that only concealed handgun license-holders would be eligible to take advantage of the bill — a small population considering most undergraduates are under 21.
“I don’t think UT will suddenly become the ‘Wild West’ with open carry and guns flying,” Allison Peregory, chairman of the Young Conservatives of Texas, told CNN.
The debate is especially fraught following this month’s mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, as well as shootings last week at Northern Arizona University and Texas Southern University.
#CocksNotGlocks organizer Jin is prepared to double down on her resources should interest continue to grow, she wrote on Facebook, recognizing that “quality dildos” can be expensive.
“I will personally take it upon myself to put in the time and legwork to find a dildo supplier sponsorship,” she says. “Come one, come all dildos.”