DYSTOPIA–As part of its continuing efforts to ensure that “every space on campus is a safe space” for student engagement, Dystopia College will now require all students, faculty, and staff to carry loaded firearms at all times, President Overly Payeed-Admyn has announced.
The ready accessibility of these “moderating influences” will make it possible for any member of the college community who suspects that anything “potentially concerning” is about to be said or done can employ an immediate “trigger warning” to alert everyone of “impending possible discomfort,” Payeed said. He added that the college has been working toward ensuring the “safety of its spaces” for several years, but the recent legislative action allowing guns on campus has “finally provided a practical mechanism” for doing so.
Adjunct Asst. Prof. of English Des Peratphurjhob, who teaches English 101 and 102, says she frequently employs trigger warnings in her freshman composition classes, especially when she is about to go over the reading and writing requirements outlined in the syllabus. Because she knows that those requirements can be traumatic for students, she always begins by letting students know that “it can be hard learning about the horrific details of what they they are often expected to do in college.”
The difficulty in the past, she said, has been that students “don’t really pay attention” when she talks about the syllabus and are often “too busy on their phones and laptops” to notice her warnings; thus, they are often “startled, and sometimes traumatized” when they discover the requirements later in the semester. She said she expects the college’s new firearms requirement to solve this problem because “there’s just something about somebody waving a loaded gun at you that encourages you to pay attention to what they are saying.”
Intermittently employed almost-tenured Asst. Prof. of Psychology Sigourney Froyt said she too welcomes the new policy. She said the topic of suicide, which she has “always found compelling” often comes up in her classes and can cause discomfort for students who are feeling, or have felt, suicidal themselves, or who have lost a friend or family member to suicide. She said that taking out and openly acknowledging the loaded handgun that she keeps in her handbag “just in case” lets students know that she has “a sympathetic ear” for their concerns.
Asst. Prof. of Spanish Jesus H. “Cris” Cristo, however, said that the new policy creates “a bit of a sticky situation” for him. The problem, he says, is that whereas the college’s new policy requires him to carry a loaded firearm, the terms of his probation prohibit him from carrying one. He said he has consulted his attorney, Finn D. Loople of Loople Villain Free, but is still awaiting advice.
Freshman history major Lev N. Pahst, who was chased at gunpoint by Cristo, said he favors the new policy because it “levels the playing field.” But Samantha Sabrina Eastwick, coven leader of the student organization African Lesbian Satanic Witches for Peace, said she finds the new policy “insulting” because it implies that her witchcraft skills are inadequate.
Dystopia Albatross starting quarterback Troyan Fubaa said he has some practical concerns about the policy: “I’m just trying to throw the football because Coach says I just need to throw the football, but it’s kinda hard to do that, ’cause I’m scared somebody gonna tackle me and accidentally shoot my balls off or something.” Student Ian Somuchneed, who was accused of sexually assaulting a melon salvaged from a dumpster, said he too is concerned. “I’m in a shitload of trouble already,” he said, “even though it was just a fucking, well, fucked, I guess, melon–and I’d be in even deeper shit if I had had a gun on me at the time.”
Native American student Paul O. Standingwater said he isn’t sure yet about the policy since “white people with guns” have traditionally posed “a little bit of a problem” for his people, but, in the meantime, he is making inquiries about whether a bow and a quiver of poisoned arrows meets the firearms requirement.
Senior psychology major Si Kopat said he thinks the new policy “will make certain things easier,” but sophomore chemical engineering/floral design major Abdullah Ibrahim Mohammed Hakim Badr-Asim “Bad-Ass” Al-Abad said that he feels the new policy is a violation of his religious freedom, because his idiosyncratic, vaguely Buddhist religious principles eschew all forms of violence, and thus all potential means of perpetuating violence. Junior Stone D. Ongress, who has finally settled into “the business-major rut,” said he thinks “requiring everyone to smoke weed” would work better than requirement them to carry guns.
Fifth-semester freshman Trig Ryder, a hunting aficionado who is also president of Dystopians for Jesus, said he’s “kinda torn up” about this one, because, on the one hand he loves his guns, but on the other hand, he thinks “Jesus probably wouldn’t have carried one, except maybe for, you know, target practice or something.”
Freshman Cocoon Ohmskooler was hiding under her bed and would not come out to comment, but according to her roommate, Ohmskooler is “scared to death” by the new policy and is looking into the possibility of having herself “locked into a nunnery, if that is even still possible,” despite the fact that she is not religious at all.
Andro Janus, president of ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ Dystopia, said he fully supports the maintenance of safe spaces, which many members of his organization desperately need, but that he is also concerned that the new policy “might create opportunities for the direction of hate-based violence toward people of queerness.” Joey DiMarco, a member of the group who claims to have been sexually assaulted by aliens, is another student who feels ambivalent about the policy. He said that he will probably “feel a little safer with a gun to defend myself” but also fears that “the aliens might have weapons that are a lot more sophisticated.” He said his idea of a true safe space is one in which “the aliens can’t get to me.”
Freshman chemistry major Solo Wallflower said he isn’t particularly concerned either about guns or about the safety of expressing his opinions in the classroom in the unlikely event that he ever chooses to speak, but that he wouldn’t mind “a comfy room with a good music system and a supply of soothing pharmaceuticals.”
President Payeed said he sees both sides of the “safe spaces” issue, but ultimately believes the old “safety first” saying “still makes sense.” He said it’s no doubt true that “we have some overly sensitive students who don’t want to leave their comfort zones and don’t realize that college is supposed to draw them out into engaged debate,” but it’s equally true that “those oversensitive students pay tuition, and tuition keeps us in business.”
“Fucking business again,” said Asst. Prof. of History B. K. Tracker, fixating on the part of Payeed’s comment probably of least relevance to the present issue.
Provost Eddina Field said that she, as always, “supports whatever inane policies that man comes up with,” but acknowledges that students who have “non-coercive learning styles” might find the firearms policy “somewhat frustrating.”
The college’s director of mental health services, Dr. Loba Ptomei, said counselors are “already seeing an influx of students worried about getting shot,” and even college organist Cadenza Black-Keys has been affected by the policy; she is working on music for a requiem Mass for “the inevitable casualties” that will result from the policy.
In the meantime, “for the convenience of everyone debating the policy,” Verb Czar Obie Seth Witverben has authorized the use of “safespace” as a verb, as in the statement, “It is essential that the college safespace student individuals who self-marginalize.”
Marketing Director Celine Snakeoyle said she welcomes the new policy because she believes it will serve as “a great marketing” tool for attracting both students who need safe spaces and students who are looking for campuses where their weapons are welcome.
T. Allen Culpepper