Horns up, horns down


<strong>Horns down: Recession drives up grad school applications<strong>

A report released Tuesday by the Council of Graduate Schools revealed that the number of students applying to graduate programs has skyrocketed since the economic recession began in 2008. According to the report, there was an 8.3-percent increase in overall applications from fall 2008 to fall 2009. In the five years preceding 2008, there was less than 1-percent annual increase in applications.

The recession has been especially harsh for college graduates — the unemployment rates for recent grads are at their highest levels in decades. Faced with an unforgiving job market, it follows that a record number of those students would look toward graduate schools in hopes of delaying the job search until prospects look brighter.

That choice is a gamble, though. If the economy does not improve in the next few years, then those graduate students will face the same bleak job market, and it’s possible that they’ll be saddled with thousands of dollars of student loan debt.

Graduate school is a worthwhile option for students who are passionate about a subject and willing to invest the time and money for an advanced degree. It should not, however, be a holding pattern for anxious undergraduates.

<strong>Horns down: Debate looks unlikely<strong>

On Aug. 27, five major Texas newspapers jointly called for a gubernatorial debate between incumbent Gov. Rick Perry and Democratic challenger Bill White.
Earlier this month, this newspaper, along with nine other Texas college newspapers, joined in that request for a debate.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that a debate will take place. Gov. Perry has placed conditions on the debate, most notably by demanding that White release his personal tax records from 1993-1998. White has so far refused, though he released his returns from his time as mayor of Houston months ago.

The governor demanded that White release the records by today, and, barring a 180-degree change by the White campaign, that won’t happen.

This year’s gubernatorial race is remarkable for being simultaneously vicious and hollow. Most of the discussion surrounding the candidates has focused not on policies or platforms but on labels such as “trial lawyer” and “career politician.”

We had hoped that a collective push by Texas’ major newspapers might create enough public pressure to drive the candidates into a debate — one which would hold them accountable to Texas voters for their ideas, a radical idea in today’s political world.

<strong>Horns down: GLBT harassment on college campuses<strong>

About one in four students, faculty and staff who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender experiences harassment and discomfort on their college campuses, according to a survey released this month.

More than 5,000 people — most of whom identify as GLBT — from 100 institutions across the nation participated in “The 2010 State of Higher Education for LGBT People,” a national survey conducted by the Q Research Institute for Higher Education.

About 25 percent of those who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual and more than 33 percent of those who identified as transgender and “gender non conforming” reported that they have experienced harassment on their college campuses, compared to 12 percent of those who identified as heterosexual.

It goes without saying that it’s completely unacceptable that a significant portion of the GLBT community in the United States does not feel comfortable on college campuses. Here at UT, we can take steps to create a more welcoming campus by providing domestic partner benefits. A strong endorsement from UT administration could even set a powerful example.

College campuses should set a standard for the rest of society and provide an atmosphere of respect for all; anything less is embarrassing.