Ryan Haecker

It was a mistake to place Ryan Haecker on The Daily Texan’s front page Friday. I understand that the UT Anscombe Society is unique, and I do not object to the group being highlighted. What bothers me is that Haecker is on the cover without mention of some of the sexist acts he has committed on campus. The first time I saw this man was at the Competitive Insurance Benefits Rally, which aims to get insurance benefits for the partners of UT’s faculty and staff regardless of sexual orientation. He was yelling at some of the organizers because of his objection to the queer community. He spent the rest of the rally standing behind the UTPD officers. I also remember he held up a sign on Feminist Action Day in the West Mall stating that feminism is foolish. I am also aware of his protest of The Vagina Monologues, where he stood outside holding a sign stating, “Monologues are indecent.” Apparently, the word “vagina” was too indecent for him to say even though it is a part of the female body and what he was protesting. The last incident that I am aware of involves his formal complaints against the academic classes associated with a peer educator program on LGBT issues. His actions have offended and angered the feminist and queer communities who already have to fight the battles against homophobia, transphobia and sexism on campus and throughout their lives. As a queer feminist woman, I am urging The Daily Texan to investigate exactly what kind of student leaders it is placing on the front page and to fight for the rights of the marginalized communities that exist on campus.

Lauren Cozart is a women and gender studies student

Ryan Haecker, a second year graduate student, is the founder and head of the Anscombe Society. The society supports celibacy and promotes modesty and charity.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Editor's note: This is the first in a series looking at distinctive UT student organizations.

A new student organization aims to educate the student body on the ideas of modesty, chastity, marriage and charity, said information sciences graduate student and founder Ryan Haecker. The UT Anscombe Society, which consists of roughly 12 students, was formed this semester following the lead of universities across the country such as the Michigan Institute of Technology and Princeton University. The Anscombe Society is working on a presentation to help explain their values to other students and encourage them to become members and hopes to become an official student organization in the spring semester. The Daily Texan sat down with Haecker to discuss the society’s origins and principles.

The Daily Texan: First, I was hoping you could talk to me about what the Anscombe Society is and what it does?
Ryan Haecker: It’s named after Elizabeth Anscombe. She was a famous philosopher at Oxford University. The Princeton Anscombe Society, which was the first Anscombe Society, chose Elizabeth Anscombe as the patron of the Anscombe Society and there are Anscombe Societies now on many campuses throughout the United States. My organization is communicating with other Anscombe Societies and we all have a similar aim, to promote modesty, chastity, charity and marriage. Principally what we’re concerned about is the sexual promiscuity that proliferates on college campuses and especially the way in which universities seem to have [ignored] this sort of lifestyle.

DT: Why did you decide to create a chapter here at UT?
RH: What concerned me is that college is a formative period in peoples’ lives. They come here and they learn all sorts of new things and they determine what direction they’d like to follow. I feel like a lot of people see it not so much in educational terms in a formal academic setting but in terms of experiences they can have, and they believe that having a wide variety of experiences is preferable to having a limited number of experiences. If people are meant to act virtuously, and I believe that they should, then I think that they need to restrain themselves. Aristotle describes this sort of restraint as acting moderately and I think that today, excess is praised rather than moderation. I would like to encourage people to act moderately and [with propriety].

DT: What have you seen about the culture of our University that concerned you or prompted you to found the Anscombe Society?
RH: The cultural norms regarding sexual restraint and possibilities of having sexual partners have been radically changed in the past few decades, and one question I think is helpful to ask when there’s a radical change, especially to something so fundamental to living as reproduction, we’re inclined to ask questions about what the benefits are of this lifestyle and whether this lifestyle is beneficient to society as a whole. I don’t really go to parties where people drink a lot of alcohol so I don’t know specifically what they do there but I hear stories.

DT: If you could sum up what you think the UT student body should know about the Anscombe Society, what would you say?
RH: I would say that the Anscombe Society is a non-denominational, student political organization that aims for the advancement of the ideals of chastity, modesty, charity and marriage. We believe that these ideals are integral to a healthy, flourishing and benevolent society and that they’re not partial to any sectarian political or religious creed, but we think they can be rationally demonstrated and universally beneficent to all people.

Printed on Friday, October 21, 2011 as: Anscombe Society promotes chaste values

[Corrected Oct. 16: Added "generic" before silhouette in 8th graf]

By November, the Transportation Security Agency is scheduled to install full-body scanning machines using the latest technology at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, according to a TSA official.

Jason Zielinski, spokesman at ABIA, said there are currently no full-body scanners at the airport and no specific date has been set for the installation of the scanners.

Despite the TSA’s stated effort to protect the privacy of traveling passengers, the TSA has greatly overstepped its boundaries regarding passenger privacy in the past, said Ryan Haecker, founder of the UT Anscombe Society, a group that promotes modesty, chastity, charity and marriage.

“They have recklessly disregarded the privacy of passengers from the beginning,” Hacker said. “There is no reason to trust them now.”

Haecker, an information studies graduate student, said his biggest concern with the TSA is their immunity from criminal prosecution and the potential injustice this causes for passengers who want to press charges against the TSA.

“If you can’t be protected from the people who are meant to protect you then I think they pose a greater danger than the dangers they wish to protect you from,” Haecker said.

Haecker said it is unacceptable for an unelected bureaucratic agency to force passengers to sacrifice their privacy for safety or else be prohibited from travelling on airlines.

Luis Casanova, TSA regional public affairs officer, said the new scanners are part of the TSA’s latest attempt to increase efficiency and security of the passenger screening process at airports across the country. The new technology, which only displays the same generic silhouette of each passenger and not a photographic image, is designed to protect the passenger’s privacy and streamline the screening process for TSA agents, Casanova said.

“This is part of TSA‘s effort to improve the privacy and safety of individuals without compromising security,” Casanova said.

The airports using the new technology will benefit by needing less agents involved with the scanning process, Casanova said.

Casanova said the older technology requires an agent present with the passenger at the machine while the detailed images of the body are viewed by another agent located in a separate area who has no visible contact with the passenger. He said with the new millimeter wave advanced imaging technology the same agent who is present at the machine is now also the same agent who views the machine’s result, which can also be viewed by the passenger.

“Now passengers see exactly what the operator sees,” Casanova said. “We anticipate that it will be more efficient and cost effective because we don’t need a separate room to view the images.”

Casanova said the average cost for one of these new machines is $150,000 and the TSA plans to increase this security and privacy strategy in the future.

“We are looking at investing in more technology to do these things quicker and more efficiently,” Casanova said. “In the future, you will see improvements in all of these procedures with advancements in technology.”