University of Texas

Photo Credit: Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff

Whether you are from Texas or move to it, you know that Texas lives for football. It is a cultural fixture from Cotton Bowl Stadium in Fair Park to high school stadiums across the state. Nowhere is that tradition more celebrated than at the University of Texas at Austin.

UT’s football program is synonymous with Texas football.

It celebrates a history of famous victories and personalities tracing back to 1893. Legendary coaches and players decorate the memory of the successful program, from National Championship winning coaches Darrell K. Royal, namesake of the stadium, and Mack Brown, to players like Earl Campbell, Ricky Williams and the “Invincible” Vince Young. Throw in a winning record in the annual Red River Showdown against rival University of Oklahoma, and UT football can hold its head high.

The upcoming 2015-2016 season aspires to follow this tradition under the leadership of head coach Charlie Strong. The future looks bright with Strong’s philosophy of hard work and accountability poised to make his talented recruiting class “Stronghorns.”

In a statement to the Longhorn Network, Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford captured the team’s confidence: “Next year, 2015, we’re coming, and we’re coming to get everybody.”

The football program’s tradition and pride manifest in its vibrant game day culture.

Tailgating is the heart of game day. Eager fans surround the stadium with tents, cookers, and TV’s from the McCombs courtyard all the way to the Bob Bullock Museum parking lot. Fraternities, sororities, spirit groups, students, alumni, and fans all make tailgating the perfect time for students to experience the diversity of UT football fans and the energy of UT spirit.

Within the historic Darrell K. Royal Stadium, traditions and icons of Texas football culture abound. The lively “Showband of the Southwest,” more commonly known as the Longhorn Band, rallies spirit with “Texas Fight” as the Texas Cowboys fire Smokey the Cannon. Bevo, the longhorn mascot of Texas since 1916, rests on the sidelines as a century-old icon of UT pride.

Students engage in these exciting traditions together in seating groups throughout the stadium. The groups are a great opportunity for freshmen to come together with members of their dorm, academic organizations and social groups, while in the midst of the other 100,000 fans the stadium can hold.

With a successful history, exciting future and lively atmosphere, UT’s football game day is the perfect environment to relish student spirit. All UT students should make the most of the game day experience, but especially the incoming freshman class. The awe of finally being in college and the wealth of opportunities will never be greater — make the most of them. History, tradition, sport, celebration and spirit converge in the Darrell K. Royal Stadium. So, to all incoming freshman, the mantle passes to you to continue the rich culture and spirit of game day. Love it, and it will reward you with a new appreciation for this university and your peers.

Most importantly, have fun and hook ‘em!

Clark is a senior English major from Lake Highlands.

In an interview with The Daily Texan, Gregory Fenves, executive vice president and provost, discussed the goals he will have for the University when he takes office as president in June.
Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

As President William Powers Jr. prepares to step down, UT’s next president, Gregory Fenves, said his goals for the University center around addressing persistent issues, such as increasing access to research opportunities and engaging in more productive dialogue with the UT System Board of Regents.

In an interview with The Daily Texan, Fenves, executive vice president and provost, also said he hopes to explore issues of accessbility and affordability, closely echoing his predecessor.

Fenves said his initial goal will be to manage the cost of education, an issue Powers, UT System Chancellor William McRaven and previous chancellors and regents have acknowledged. 

“I think the most important issue that’s facing the University is, ‘How do we provide high quality education at a reasonable cost?’” Fenves said.

In an interview with The Daily Texan in April, Powers said the solution to affordability is not clear-cut. He said he was sure  that future administrations would continue to grapple with the issue.

“There’s no single bullet,” Powers said. “We just always keep trying [to operate the University] as efficiently and as high quality as you can.”

Fenves said one of his educational goals is to connect undergraduate and graduate students to campus research opportunities. 

“What I feel is the most important theme for education at the University of Texas is how we link our undergraduate education mission with our research mission,” Fenves said.

Fenves said his previous experiences as dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering and as provost have helped him form relationships with the regents and UT administrators.

“I can work with almost anybody, and I’ve had good working relationships with members of the board,” Fenves said. “In my current role as provost, and my previous role as dean, I’ve had a lot of interaction with them through the presidential search process and the selection process.”

One challenge preparing for the presidency poses is that issues and opportunities for change often remain unseen until one actually takes the position, according to former UT President Larry Faulkner.

“I don’t think any president should come in with a firm idea of what all [his or her] goals are,” Faulkner said. “I don’t think that you know enough until you’re in the job, what is really ripe, what are the best opportunities for the institution, and in fact, opportunities will appear while you’re serving.”

Faulkner said he would advise Fenves to take steps to learn more about the University but said Fenves is positioned differently than he was when he first came into the job.

“When I came in, I didn’t know the people, [and] I didn’t know the intricate issues facing the institution, and I had to learn about those,” Faulkner said. “Greg Fenves has been here for years now, and so he is more prepared on that scene than I was.”

Working with the state Legislature night pore a greater challenge for Fenves when he becomes president, Faulkner said.

“What I don’t think [Fenves] has had is an opportunity to talk to people in the state,” Faulkner said. “Even though Greg Fenves would have gotten some of that activity while he was dean and provost, it’s nothing like being president.”

Fenves said he has gained valuable experience working with the Legislature in previous roles at UT.

“I have considerable experience working with the Legislature,” Fenves said. “I’ve been working with the Legislature since soon after I joined the University of Texas. I think I’ve developed great relationships with many members. I understand the legislative process.”

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

The University will conduct a study about Asian-American quality of life in Austin funded by the Austin City Council. 

On Thursday, the Council approved to pay the University $139,758 for a one-year period of research. The study will focus on five major Asian-American subgroups in the Austin area: Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Indian and Vietnamese.

The fast-growing population of Asian-Americans in Austin — an increase from 3.3 percent of the population in 1990 to almost 5 percent in 2000 and around 6.5 percent today — inspired the study.

Social work associate professor Yuri Jang, the study’s principal investigator, said Asian-Americans have not historically been the focus of research to help identify community needs.

“Asian-Americans [are] a growing population that is underserved and understudied,” Jang said. “This is a unique opportunity to explore unexplored populations because the Asian-American voice is usually unheard.”

The study will primarily focus on Asian-American Austinites ages 18–70 and involve a compiled database of resources that could benefit Asian-Americans in the city. The goal is to have data for public policy recommendations in the future, as well as to improve overall quality of life for Asian-Americans in the city, said Richard Yuen, a forensic and clinical psychologist.

Yuen, who chairs the committee responsible for community research, said the Asian-American population is the fastest-growing ethnic minority group in Austin.

“Unfortunately, the city does not understand nor know much about this rapidly growing population of Austinites,” Yuen said. “Asian-Americans are not known to be activists in the community [and] not known to engage in voting or politics or community projects. Here, we want to have some strong public policy recommendations for programs in all areas that is supported by our research data, not only to benefit Asian-Americans but Austin as a whole.”

Different Asian-American student groups on campus have expressed interest in the study, including the Vietnamese Students Association and the Chinese Student Association, Yuen said.

Tram Ngyuen, mechanical engineering sophomore and president of the Vietnamese Student Association, said she feels that Asians are often overlooked in the city.

“We are looked as neither a minority or a majority,” Ngyuen said. “We are often used as tools to prove another point rather than an ethnic group that can stand on its own. This study is important to show how Asian-Americans have changed throughout this country’s history. We are not an invisible minority. We are a culture that has thrived and grown so much.”

Yuen said this study gives an opportunity to delve directly into the community to identify issues in a diverse population. 

“One of our most important issues … is being able to capture enough opinions from the various age groups so that we can disaggregate the data and understand there is acculturation and generational differences,” Yuen said. 

As a proud alumna of the University of Texas, I am disappointed in the article published by The Daily Texan, written by Daniel Hung, which I would argue misconstrues the role race plays in the top 10 percent admissions policy. African-American and Latino students currently account for roughly 24 percent of the student population at UT. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, African-Americans and Latinos are 51 percent of the Texas population. Furthermore, African-American and Latino students represented 59% of high school graduating seniors in the state of Texas. If race is an admissions factor, it is certainly not disproportionately benefiting the races and/or ethnicities Hung mentions. 

The source that Hung utilized to quote UT as being ranked 17th is U.S. News and World Report. In researching the methodology used by the publication when ranking universities, I discovered that several factors are considered. The range of academic offerings, cost and availability of financial aid, activities and sports, “feel of campus life” and the school’s mission are a few of the variables evaluated. To simply attribute the University’s ranking to the top 10 percent rule, or more specifically, Latino and African-American students admitted under this rule, is not only a misuse of deductive reasoning, but a gross generalization Hung fails to support. 

While retention and graduation rates are a factor, I would like to draw attention to the accountability report released by UT, which highlights that it currently has the highest four-year graduation rate in the state at 55 percent, the highest ever in the University’s history. Given this, I’d like to think we are a positive contribution to the university’s numbers.

— Ashley Hickson, alumna, in response to Daniel Hung’s Monday column titled “Nix the top 10 percent rule, affirmative action.”

Shaka Smart was introduced as the head men’s basketball coach at a Friday press conference. Smart joins Texas after six seasons at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

When men’s athletic director Steve Patterson was looking for a new head basketball coach, he said he felt Shaka Smart was the only man for the job.

“We said: ‘Who do we really want?’” Patterson said. “Somebody who’s a great, dedicated coach; somebody who plays an exciting style of basketball and is really interested in developing the entire group of student-athletes both on the court and off the court; somebody who is consistent in operating in an ethical fashion; somebody that we really wanted to bring to the University of Texas. We thought of Shaka Smart.”

On Thursday, Smart, the only candidate interviewed for the job, agreed to join Texas’ basketball program. He replaces former head coach Rick Barnes, who was asked to leave UT earlier after a 17-year tenure last week.

Patterson said Smart received a seven-year contract, with the first six years fully guaranteed, with an average annual compensation of about $3 million. As part of the buy-out with Virginia Commonwealth University, Texas will pay the Rams $500,000 and either play them in a home-and-home series or pay another $250,000.

Smart quickly became one of the hottest coaching commodities in the country when he led the 11th-seeded Rams from the play-in game to the Final Four in 2011. His teams were consistently good over his six years as a head coach. He won at least 26 games in every season and made the NCAA Tournament in each of his final five years in Virginia.

Many schools had tried to pry Smart away from VCU, but all were unsuccessful.

“To be honest, I didn’t know if I would ever leave VCU because of the relationships that I had there with the players and the coaching staff,” Smart said. “It really took a world-class institution, a world-class athletics program and a phenomenal place to convince my daughter, my wife and myself to make this move.”

But Texas was a “no-brainer,” Smart said.

“When the opportunity was presented to me to be the head coach here at Texas, I quickly realized this was something different,” Smart said. “This athletics department is all about championships, and I knew I was going to have the opportunity to work with a great group of young men.”

Smart is the first African-American head basketball coach at Texas. Texas will now be the third Division I school with African-American head coaches in both basketball and football, joining Stanford and Georgia State.

Smart said he feels the weight of his position as a “first.”

“I take that very seriously,” Smart said. “I grew up and was able to learn from and benefit from some terrific role models [and] some great mentors. … I hope that in this role as the men’s basketball coach at the University of Texas, I can play this role for someone else in this terrific state.”

Smart said he is going to bring his style of “havoc” basketball with him from Richmond, Virginia, which means a lot of pressing, fast breaks and overall aggressiveness.

“I can tell you right now, when you come to the Erwin Center to see us play, you’re going to see an exciting style of basketball,” Smart said.

However, Smart knows  he will have to adjust that style a bit with his new roster — one that has a plethora of skilled big men.

“That means maybe you adjust what you do to fit those guys’ strengths,” Smart said. “But at the same time, we’re not going to get away from what I believe in. We’re always going to be aggressive. We’re always going to be highly competitive.”

After the deal was announced, players said they agreed Smart’s confidence and style of play will have exciting implications for the program.

“My immediate reaction to hearing about Coach Smart was excitement,” junior forward Connor Lammert said. “We are turning a new page in the book and are real excited about it.”

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

For executive alliance candidates Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi, the University of Texas is a passion.

“Kimia and I both love this University so much,” Jones said. “I love the University of Texas so much that I believe it’s a critical year, with a new mayor, new governor, new president, new chancellor — that we need a student who will realize the importance of what a shared governance is.”

Jones said his mother went to Texas A&M University-Texarkana, and went as far as calling the Texas A&M admission office to get Jones to go to school there. He said he toured A&M and knew UT was the right place to be.

“I’ve always wanted to go to the University of Texas,” said Jones, a government senior. “When I got my acceptance letter to UT, my mom picked up the phone and called A&M.”

Dargahi and Jones are considered the front runners of the campaign. They said they are the two with the most Student Government experience, and they currently hold the lead in a Daily Texan online poll with 56 percent of the vote at the time of publication.  

“One thing that separates me is my tenacity,” Jones said. “I’ve always been the type of person who will set goals for myself. … I have the experience that allows me to do it. I have extensive involvement in SG.” 

Dargahi also said she turned down a full-time job offer for the opportunity to be vice president of SG, but she said it was worth it to be an influence at the institution. 

The Alliance is running on a campaign called “Let’s Talk Texas,” which focuses on hearing student opinion first and then determining what the University needs second.

“At the end of the day, our platform is not static,“ Dargahi said. “We just have to take it on a case-by-case basis.”

Jones and Dargahi’s platform points currently include working to strengthen tradition on campus, helping students to “build bridges” for the future and increase social advocacy and safety. Jones said he aims to form a “President’s Round Table,” a place where student presidents can come together and improve communication between organizations.

“The big thing we want to do is listen,” Jones said. “We want to start a conversation, hear what students want and watch their platform become our platform.”

Outside of the campaign, Jones said he is very close to his family and likes spending time with friends and being social.

“I’m not a person who is the lone kind; I never have been,” Jones said. “It’s not abnormal for me to walk up to strangers and say, ‘Hi, can I walk with you? What’s your name?’”

Dargahi is involved in multiple organizations on campus, including the Delta Gamma sorority and Orange Jackets.

Jones said the two work well together, despite their many differences.

“I love the fact that we’re completely different,” Jones said. “She’s more liberal than I am, I’m more conservative than she is. She’s a woman, I’m a man, obviously. She’s way better than I am. Gosh, it sounds like we’re getting engaged or something.”

According to Jones, their relationship is what makes their campaign work.

“We honestly don’t have many things that we share in common, and that’s what’s beautiful about it,” Jones said.

To read the candidate profile for David Maly and Stephen Svatek, click here.

To read the candidate profile for Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu, click here.

From left to right: Chemistry senior Leland Breedlove, electrical engineering senior Nick Engmann and management information systems senior Joyce Wang.

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

The University of Texas has had a rocky history on the subject of racism. From Stephanie Eisner’s 2012 Daily Texan cartoon describing Trayvon Martin as a “handsome, sweet, innocent colored boy” to the Young Conservatives of Texas’ affirmative action bake sale, or more recently, the Fiji fraternity border patrol-themed party, there is still a thread of bias here at UT.

Perhaps it is no wonder. Many of the school’s first benefactors and key people were intolerant of racial harmony. George W. Littlefield, a Confederate war veteran, funded many of the statues around campus like those dedicated to figures such as Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and other VIPs in the Confederate South.

As one walks through campus today, however, one is exposed to myriad races, colors and creeds, that co-exist within conflicting undercurrents; the region’s segregated and intolerant past and today’s trace of racial bias, however subtle that might be. The students on our present campus have the job of struggling to live within the University’s effort to create a melting pot of cultures from all over the world.

To fully comprehend the life-long implications linked to an individual’s race, it is important to understand how we define racism in society today.

For Nick Engmann, an African-American electrical engineering senior, racism is “any use of stereotypes or biases to harm another individual based on the color of their skin or how they identify themselves.”

Veiled racism has reached Engmann in his classes: “Some people don’t think that you are capable of things because you have a certain background or how they identify you. The way you speak, the nuances you drop here and there. They don’t think you’re competent.”

But sometimes, racism is more overt than subtle. The Campus Climate Response Team is responsible for receiving and tracking student complaints concerning, among other things, racial bias. As it reported Feb. 9, complaints have increased by over 700 percent since the 2012-13 academic year. The increase is due not only to high-profile incidents such as the bake sale but also to more personal attacks.

Just last semester, Engmann encountered one such incident firsthand. 

“One of my African-American friends and I were walking around West Campus with some other friends and a truck drove by and bleach-bombed us,” Engmann said. “They threw balloons filled with bleach water and hit my black friend’s pants and shirt. I had heard about this occurring around campus and thought that it had been blown out of proportion, but then it happened to us. It just baffled me that this could happen so close to home. That racism is still here.”

Rachel White, a black marine biology senior, hasn’t been directly targeted at UT. However, she says that she sometimes feels uncomfortable in certain situations, such as at parties or even in a class where she may be the only black student. 

“Although many people don’t have to think about their race or have to search for someone like them in their class with whom to study, as a black woman, I do,” White said.

Some students have a different perspective and have not encountered racial problems at all. International business junior Brianna Spiller is among them.

“I’ve always had a really positive experience here,” said Spiller, who states that she has never experienced any form of racism on campus directed at her.

Spiller has also been comfortable in social situations. As she explained, “All of the parties I’ve been to have been really good. No parties, no organizations, no one has looked at me funny. This school is very diverse and I think that the people are very open-minded.”

When asked how the University might improve, she pointed out that “for African-American students, there aren’t enough places for them to go. Either I join a sorority, or there is really nothing else. We also need to focus on getting more African-American men who want to come here to study and to learn.” The African-American student population of the University currently stands at 4 percent, down from 5 percent in 2013.

Why do students like Spiller not have any problems while others do? When a person is raised with bigotry as close as the next news story, sometimes it is hard not to expect it. 

White explains, “Racism still exists in schools, in the workplace and on the streets with law enforcement. It even exists in my mind because of the fact that I have to be self-conscious about what others think of me.”

But racial bias isn’t just about black and white. Hispanics make up close to a fourth of the student population at UT, but as the Fiji fraternity party illustrates, insensitivity still occurs, cloaked in a joke.

About the Fiji incident, Mathieu Saenz, a Hispanic math senior, said, “It’s pretty sad. I kinda feel sorry for them — the fact that they haven’t been exposed enough to other cultures to where they think it’s OK. If you grew up having a lot of Hispanic friends or friends of other races, and you’re close to those people, I don’t think you would treat somebody like that or go to a party like that.”

Joyce Wang, an Asian-American management information systems senior, has not felt such bias directly but says she has seen it within certain groups who don’t accept others into their circle because of race or language barriers. 

“How they act or don’t act towards strangers, whether they choose to socialize with them... They might think that others are not fit for their group because of things like ethnicity or they might speak a different language,” Wang said. She has also felt empathy for other students who have been the focus of random acts such as bleach balloon bombings.

For its part, the University has an active outreach program focused on improving race relations and opening a dialogue.

“We need to look at how much progress has been made at UT,” said Gregory Vincent, vice president of UT’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. “In terms of numbers, the campus is much more diverse than it has ever been, and there has been a shift in attitudes over time. If you recall last year, there were two events that were racially motivated planned by the Young Conservatives of Texas. The campus community saw those as extremely derogatory and the response was immediate, forcing the YCT to cancel the events. However, UT is a microcosm of what happens in the world. As a nation, there is still much to be done and UT reflects that.”

When asked if diversity can ever take on a negative form, Vincent responded, “On every level, diversity can be considered positive. Much research has confirmed that diversity in educational settings improves the experience for all. Studies of diverse scientific teams and workplace teams have shown that they produce stronger research and make better decisions. As a professor of higher education and law, I see this in the classroom over and over. The more opportunities we have to get know others of different races, the more stereotypes are broken down. In our increasingly global society, being able to work on teams of diverse people and possessing cultural competence are extremely positive.”

As race relations continue to improve here at UT as well as elsewhere across this country, understanding each other’s perspective can bridge many barriers. According to White, “Minorities have to tip-toe around the everyday issues that we experience in order to make our peers feel more comfortable, and a lot of people don’t realize this. We are afraid that we will be viewed as too sensitive or will be told that racism doesn’t exist and we are just too easily offended. It is something that is changing and there are efforts towards improvement, but awareness is so important.”

Ridout is a French senior from Garland.

Students, staff and faculty wait for the lights to come back on at the entrance to the PCL on Tuesday morning.
Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

The University of Texas does not have specific protocols to deal with blackouts but will begin to form new procedures for dealing with possible future power outages, according to University officials.

“We have protocols in place to deal with emergency situations [but] not specifically to blackouts,” University spokesman Gary Susswein said. “Whenever there is an emergency on campus, the president convenes the top leaders on campus to figure out what to do. They were gathering information and trying to decide what the course of action was..”

Tuesday morning, the University experienced a campus-wide power outage. The University will form new protocols for dealing with blackouts because of Tuesday’s power outage, according to UTPD spokeswoman Cindy Posey.

“That’s the great thing about these incidents when nothing too bad happens — nobody was hurt and we learned a lot,” Posey said. 

Posey said UT’s communication system stopped working during the blackout, forcing her to find new ways to communicate with students, faculty and staff.

“We couldn’t get any emails out,” Posey said. “I learned to turn to other methods, and we did. We went to Twitter because the systems weren’t working. We also texted a message out. I learned to not spend so much time trying to get an email out on a system that doesn’t work. I kept trying, and Plan B is Twitter and text.”

Although University officials did not cancel classes, professors are permitted to cancel class if they see fit, Susswein said.

“Professors always have the discretion to let out class if needed, and many, many professors did that,” Susswein said. 

The University of Texas is planning on conducting a survey through the Association of American Universities in order to learn more about the nature of sexual assault on campus. UT is one of 28 other schools distributing the survey after the other 32 American universities in the AAU decided not to participate. In addition to the AAU survey, which will cost the University approximately $87,500, UT will be conducting its own survey later in the year, the price of which has yet to be determined. While some are critiquing the surveys for their hefty cost, the move should also be praised for making UT a safer campus, especially for the female students. 

College campuses are frequently cited as dangerous places for women, and with the recent indictment of two ex-UT football players on charges of sexual assault, Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander, this issue of safety on campus is becoming all the more important. According to a 2001 report from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, women on college campuses are more likely to be assaulted than women in the general population. And Katherine Hirsch’s study titled “Fraternities of Fear: Gang Rape, Male Bonding, and the Silencing of Women” estimated that one in four college women will be assaulted during their academic career. While this reality is sobering, UT is taking the first steps toward addressing the issue through the surveys.  

By conducting the survey, the University is aiming to create a more secure campus by determining the nature of sexual assault on campus as well as possible preventive measures. While immediate change cannot be expected, the move is a step in the right direction for UT, especially with many other school deciding to forgo the survey.  

So far, the move has been met with general positivity from women on campus.  

“I like that they’re doing it!” neuroscience and psychology senior Dax Fisher-Garibay said. “I appreciate that they are trying to make the campus safer...and looking for answers.”  

Neuroscience junior Tasmin Akhtar also seemed optimistic, saying “[the surveys] should make the campus safer and more comfortable for not only victims and sexual assault survivors but also people vulnerable to assault.”  

However, the survey has also been received with some apprehension. “I don’t know if a survey would make me feel safer,” advertising senior Kate Dickerson said. “It would depend on what they did with the results.” 

Some students are critical because they think the survey will not produce tangible results. Fisher-Garibay couldn’t help worrying the survey “won’t change anything.” She worries that the University of Texas may not be willing to go through everything necessary in order to properly prevent sexual assault.  

“[The answers to ending assault] are too broad. I’m nervous UT won’t know what to do with the answers,” Fisher-Garibay said.  

Akhtar expressed concerns as well. “I do feel better that the campus is focusing on prevention,” she said, “as long as they’re educating about rape culture and avoiding victim-blaming.”  

According to Paul E. Pezza and Ann Bellotti in their study entitled “College Campus Violence: Origins, Impacts, and Responses,” the best way to prevent violence is through developed and strong communities and thorough educational programs. Other suggestions to prevent assault have included a more present police force. Each of these things will no doubt be expensive, and, if the survey concludes UT needs them, some students aren’t sure that the University will follow through if the cost is deemed excessive.  

While the survey is a good step in the right direction, it will only make a difference if UT is willing to follow up on the results. If UT is willing to spend so much to discover solutions to the issue of on campus violence, it should also be willing to spend in order to follow through with these solutions. While a step in the right direction, the surveys are not the be-all and end-all to solving the issue of safety on campus.  

“UT needs to own up to the level of safety on campus,” Dickerson said. Depending on how UT handles the results of the surveys, perhaps it will. Hopefully, once it receives the results of the survey, UT will keep in mind that it can’t put a price on the safety of its female students.  

Ferguson is an English and art history junior from Austin. Follow Ferguson on Twitter @LaurenFerg2

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

Abigail Fisher’s lawyers filed a petition Tuesday for her case, Fisher v. University of Texas, to be heard by the Supreme Court a second time.

Fisher, a rejected undergraduate UT applicant, filed a lawsuit in 2008 after claiming the University discriminated against her based on her race. Fisher said the admissions policy was in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. After losing at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2009, the case reached the Supreme Court in 2012. 

The Supreme Court ultimately vacated and remanded the case in a 7–1 decision, ordering the 5th Circuit to examine UT’s race-conscious admissions policy more carefully to determine whether the University’s policies were necessary to achieve a “critical mass” of minority students. A three-judge panel sided with the University last year, and the full, 15-person court declined to rehear the case in November.

The petition states the 5th Circuit “again failed to apply traditional strict scrutiny” to the admissions process.

The petition, asking the Supreme Court to grant Fisher a writ of certiorari, which means the Supreme Court would entertain the case, states, “At every turn, the majority was ‘persuaded’ by UT’s circular legal arguments, post hoc rationalizations for its decision to reintroduce racial preferences, and unsupported factual assertions.” 

Fisher’s case attempts to counter affirmative action, a policy or action that favors typically discriminated against groups of people. 

The Supreme Court must accept a writ of certiorari from the lower court before hearing a case. 

If at least four justices vote to grant Fisher a writ of certiorari, they will hear her case in the spring or near the beginning of the next court term. 

Fisher was not in the top 10 percent of her high school graduating class and was not granted automatic admission. Her application was then placed under holistic review, alongside approximately 16,000 other applicants who were not in the top 10 percent. In holistic review, applicants are chosen based on academic and personal achievements as well as a long list of individual characteristics, including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

The University released a statement in defense of the courts’ past decisions, saying the University will file a brief in opposition to the petition.

“The University of Texas uses race as one factor in a holistic admissions policy that allows us to assemble a student body that brings with it the educational benefits of diversity,” the statement said. “Our policy is narrowly-tailored, constitutional and has rightly been upheld by the courts multiple times. The university will file a brief in opposition to the latest petition.”

Fisher’s lawyers argue that an admissions process using an interest in “qualitative diversity” relied too heavily on requirements based on stereotypes about “less-privileged applicants.”

According to the petition, “If not reviewed, the Fifth Circuit’s decision will signal to universities and courts throughout the nation that strict scrutiny is a pro forma exercise and that Fisher I is a green light for racial preferences in admissions decisions.”