• Evans named new dean of LBJ School of Public Affairs

    The University announced Tuesday afternoon that Angela Evans has been appointed as the new dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

    A former deputy director of the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, Evans has served as a clinical professor at the LBJ School since 2009, and previously worked for the United States Congress for 40 years.

    “Angela is the right person to lead the LBJ School at this time,” UT President Gregory L. Fenves said in a press release. “Her deep knowledge of the school provides a strong basis for increasing its impact by educating public affairs leaders through scholarship and research in domestic and international affairs.”

    Evans will begin serving as dean on Jan. 16 and will also be a fellow of the J.J. “Jake” Pickle Regents Chair in Public Affairs as part of her new role.

    “I am honored to be part of this amazing community and to serve as its dean," Evans said.  

    Evans will replace Robert Wilson, who has served as interim dean since Robert Hutchings, the former dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs, stepped down from the position earlier this year.

  • Mock shooting event would constitute criminal trespassing

    A mock shooting scheduled on campus this weekend  during a final exam period would be considered trespassing, according to University spokesman J.B. Bird.

    The “crisis performance,” which  gun rights groups Come and Take It Texas and Dontcomply.com have planed to hold Saturday, is intended to protest against gun-free zones on campuses, according to Dontcomply.com.

    While university, faculty, staff and student groups may demonstrate on University grounds, Bird said outside groups are not allowed to hold such events on campus.

    “The property or buildings owned or controlled by UT Austin are not, however, open to outside groups for assembly, speech, or other activities, including theatrical performances, as are the public streets, sidewalks, and parks,” Bird said.

    The groups will be asked to leave, and if they do not, it will be a “criminal trespass matter,” Bird said.

    According to Bird, the UT Dean of Students Office is contacting the groups to ensure they are aware of UT’s policies.

  • Fenves announces plan to increase tuition

    UT President Gregory Fenves announced Monday plans to increase tuition by around 3 percent over the next two school years.

    In the plan Fenves announced to the UT System, he recommended a 3.1 percent increase in 2016–17 and an additional 3 percent increase on 2017–2018. Fenves also included an additional $5 per semester to replace the Green Fee, a $5 fee from student tuition for environmental projects and research at Texas universities. The Green Fee is expected to be cut next summer.

    If the UT System and Board of Regents approve this plan, it will cost Texas residents $152 more for tuition in 2016–2017 and an additional $152 from 2017–2018.

    Fenves said in a University-wide email that the University is trying to reduce costs where they can and increase financial aid.

    "I want you to know that I do not take lightly the issue of raising tuition," Fenves said in his email. "Families are counting their dollars and expect us to keep UT affordable and accessible to students from all backgrounds.”

    In October, the Board of Regents approved a plan for proposed tuition increases starting at 2 percent. The Tuition Policy Advisory Committee made recommendations to Fenves on Dec. 3, proposing a tuition increase of 3 percent for undergraduate and graduate students.

  • Graduate students oppose campus carry in letter to Fenves

    As faculty members from Gun-Free UT continue to debate the safety of the University leading up to the implementation of campus carry, graduate students made their voices heard Tuesday in a letter to University President Gregory Fenves.

    More than 1,000 graduate and professional students across UT expressed their opposition to Senate Bill 11, which allows people 21 years and older to have a concealed handgun. The Texas Senate passed the bill in May and Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law in June.

    In an email the group said these students chose to remain anonymous during their campaign as they call themselves “Coordinators for: UT Graduate Students Oppose Guns in Classrooms.”

    “Graduate and Professional Students operate as both students in classrooms as well as educators in their roles as Assistant Instructors and Teaching Assistants, and they are therefore particularly affected by the implementation of SB 11,” the group said in an email. “We have managed the campaign with the help of a number of volunteers who are also graduate students at UT Austin.”

    The group said that the online petition has been open to the public since Oct. 16, with the goal to send a letter to Fenves and the Board of Regents
    on Dec. 1.

    This petition will be available online through August 2016 and the group said in an email they expect the number of signatures to grow as media outlets report about it and more student groups become involved in discussions regarding campus carry.

    Campus carry goes into effect on Aug. 1, 2016, which is also the same day as the 50th anniversary of the Charles Whitman shooting that killed 15 people and left 32
    others wounded.

  • Resolution to block Syrian refugee assistance fails

    A resolution to block funds assisting Syrian refugees in their resettlement in the Austin area failed to pass a vote in the Public Safety Committee on Monday evening. As a result, the resolution will not reach the full Council for consideration.

    Austin City Council member Don Zimmerman drafted the resolution in the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris in order to prevent the city government from monetarily facilitating Syrian refugee resettlement. The resolution failed on a 2-1 vote in committee with the only vote in support coming from Zimmerman.

    Austin’s refugee resettlement programs are primarily funded by nonprofits and do not depend on the city treasury, however, the city does spend money to provide health services for refugees, the Austin-American Statesman reported.