• Davis task force receives an extension

    The task force assembled to review the Jefferson Davis statue has asked President Gregory Fenves for an extension, so it will release its recommendations by August 10.

    The task force originally planned to release its options by August 1.

    University spokesperson Gary Susswein said the task force needed the extension to review all of their options and information they received.

    "They needed extra time to go through all of the options and review all of the public input that has been submitted," Susswein said.

    Leslie Blair, communications director for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, said the chair of the task force Gregory Vincent will answer questions from the media at 2 p.m. in the Flawn Academic Center once the report has been submitted.

    To read about the full controversy around the statue, click here.

  • Appeals Court clears Perry of one of two indictments

    On Friday, the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals dismissed one of two felony charges against former Gov. Rick Perry.

    Perry was indicted on charges of coercion of a public servant and abuse of official capacity after being accused of threatening to veto funding to the Travis County Public Integrity Unit unless District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned after she was arrested for drunken driving. She refused, and Perry vetoed the funding.

    The court sided with Perry’s lawyers that the state’s law concerning coercion of a public servant “violates the First Amendment and, accordingly, cannot be enforced.”

    It upheld the charge against Perry for abuse of official capacity.

    The ruling comes as Perry is running in a crowded field for the Republican nomination for president. Perry can make an appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for the remaining charge.

  • UTPD arrests homeless man on the Drag

    Around 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, the University of Texas Police Department responded to an incident involving a homeless man at 2400 Guadalupe Street.

    UTPD spokeswoman Cindy Posey said the department received a report of an aggressive subject threatening people with a knife and shouting at them. Posey said she is aware of three people he threatened by telling them to "shut up" but believes no one was hurt.

    The police did arrest the man and Posey said they will have more information once they process him.    

    UTPD sent out emails and text alerts to students about the situation saying they were looking for a male subject with a tyedye shirt and asked students to avoid the area. The department followed up shortly afterward, saying they were in contact with the subject and he was not an ongoing threat.

    During the officers' search, a said second homeless man was questioned but was not taken into custody. Posey said she did not have any information about the second person. 

  • Records show many influential Texans helped underqualified students get into UT

    The Dallas Morning News reported Monday "dozens" of notable Texans, lawmakers, lawyers and even UT regents helped influence the admissions process for students deemed unqualified. 

    According to records The Dallas Morning News obtained, among the people who directly bypassed the admissions office and wrote to then-President William Powers Jr. and then-Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa were famed golfer Ben Crenshaw, former UT regent Scott Craven, Austin lawyer Roy Minton, Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler) and Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio).
     
    Other figures discovered to have helped included Texas House Speaker Joe Strauss, former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, and former regents Jess Hay and Thomas Hicks.
     
    Strauss wrote a letter in November 2012 to the director of admissions regarding the close daughter of a family friend.
     
    “I know [the student] well as our families are close friends,” Strauss said in the letter. “[She] is a multi-generation Longhorn legacy, dating back to 1924.” 
     
    A letter of recommendation from W.A. “Tex” Moncrief, a millionaire oil man in Fort Worth, said he did not know the student but came from a good family legacy.
     
    “I do not know this young man or anything about his qualifications, but I do know [the student’s] parents and I know his grandparents very well,” Moncrief wrote in the letter. “[The student] is certainly from a very fine and highly respected family. 
     
    These letters were spotlighted in an outside investigation known as the Kroll Report. Under this report, Powers directly admitted 73 students from 2009–2010 with GPAs less than 2.9 and SAT scores less than 1100.

  • Nineteen-year-old male dies after sustaining head injury in West Campus on Friday morning

    This article has been updated since its original publication.

    Update: KXAN has confirmed that the victim was named Stephen Sylvester, and the suspect in custody is Sylvester's boyfriend, Bryan Canchola. 

    According to the article, Sylvester and Canchola were in a physical altercation after a night of drinking downtown. Canchola is currently held in Travis County Jail on murder charges with a bail of $500,000.

    Original story: The Austin Police Department responded to a call at 5:49 a.m. and found a 19-year-old man unconscious with a head wound at the GrandMarc apartment complex. He was transported to the University Medical Center Brackenridge and later died.

    There is a suspect in custody, and the victim’s family has not yet been notified, police said. Until police can reach his next of kin, no other information will be released. Police are investigating the death as a homicide.

    UTPD did not notify students through email of the suspected homicide, sending out a single tweet at 2:33 p.m. Posey said that UTPD knew enough from the incident to decide it was not a danger to the campus.

    “When an incident occurs off campus, we are dependent upon APD for information,” Posey said. “UTPD knew enough information to determine the campus was never threatened and did not need a Safety Alert. UTPD publishes the previous day’s information in the crime reports called Campus Watch. UTPD posted information on social media when we had confirmed information from APD."

    UTPD did not respond to the call because the area is out of their jurisdiction, spokesperson Cindy Posey said.

    “APD is the primary law enforcement agency for off campus calls,” Posey said. “We assist as requested. If we are in the area and see a crime or one is reported to an officer on scene, we will respond, but APD is still considered primary.”

    Although no formal charges have been made, the suspect would most likely be charged with some form of homicide, according to APD homicide investigator Brett Bailey.

    “I think the range is too wide,” Bailey said. “The charges would likely be related to some form of homicide. That can range from criminal negligent homicide to murder. [Criminal negligent homicide is] the lowest classification of murder.”

    The suspect and victim knew each other, according to a letter residents received today from Neal Toddy, GrandMarc’s resident services manager.

    “An arrest has been made in the case and therefore should pose no risk to other residents,” Toddy wrote. “The management team here is currently working with local authorities while they continue the investigation and we will communicate additional information to you as necessary.”

    This is the 16th murder in Austin this year.

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