Horns up, horns down: Involving students in budget cut decisions; UT is the king of royalties

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Horns up: Involving students in budget cut decisions

The Senate of College Councils recently announced it will form student committees to help address college-specific budget cuts for the upcoming year. The committees, which will be known as the College Tuition and Budget Advisory Councils, will consist of a Student Government representative from each college, two graduate students appointed by Graduate Student Assembly President Manuel Gonzalez and three students appointed by the respective college council.

The college councils are groups consisting of students from a particular college that then lobby for student interests. Students must apply and be accepted to join college councils. The newly formed councils will also include some faculty. Of its potential members, only one will have been directly elected by students.

While representation via varying degrees of separation is not ideal, it’s better than no student input at all. Part of the motivation behind forming the councils was the decision last spring to lay off the school’s only Vietnamese language professor, effectively cutting the Vietnamese program.

Students’ most powerful tool in fighting upcoming budget cuts will be transparency. We hope these new councils will be a powerful tool in disseminating information about potential cuts and empowering the student body to take decisive action early in the process.

Horns up: UT is the king of royalties

On Thursday the Collegiate Licensing Company announced that the University of Texas was the highest-grossing university in terms of revenue from royalties. The University made $10.15 million this past year, up from $8.9 million the previous year. The increase has been attributed in part to the football team’s trip to the national championship.

The number is remarkable not just because it makes the Longhorns the most profitable collegiate brand in the country, but because it is believed to be the first time a university has eclipsed the $10 million mark, meaning Texas has had the most profitable year in collegiate history royalties-wise.

What’s especially laudable is that money from royalties goes to the University, rather than being funneled directly to an athletic department that is already flush with cash. At many universities around the country, unprofitable athletic programs are a burden on cash-strapped schools.

As the University’s budget continues to shrink, our school’s traditional obsession with football can be part of the solution. Here’s hoping the team makes another run for a national title, not just for our pride, but for our budgets as well.

Horns down: No hope for reform

Three years ago, in light of sexual abuse allegations at Texas Youth Commission facilities, state lawmakers took action to reform a troubled agency that had become the subject of a federal investigation. Four advocacy groups wrote to the U.S. Department of Justice on Aug. 24 describing, for the second time, allegations of violence and neglect pervasive at the commission’s facilities and encouraged the federal authorities to investigate the state agency again. Then, on Thursday, John Moore became the third independent ombudsman to resign this year from a position created in light of the 2007 scandal. Moore cited health reasons and another job offer as his reason for resigning.

Reactions to the advocacy groups’ letter and Moore’s subsequent resignation ranged from appalled to disillusioned. Saying that last week’s events inspire little confidence in TYC as an agency is an understatement. Given the previous shocking allegations and federal investigation, the notion that any reform efforts are genuine invites skepticism, as does the idea that any reforms could even be lasting without a complete overhaul of the agency’s internal structure.