What to expect

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Editor’s note: We have listed below brief descriptions of campus, statewide and national developments that we expect to follow in these pages in the upcoming year and that we hope will prompt UT students to dislodge their ear buds, look up from their laptops and pay attention.

1. See if UT pursues more transparent research practices to prevent episodes like the one we reported on this summer, after a UT professor oversaw the publication of a study that concluded hydraulic fracking doesn’t contaminate groundwater, but failed to reveal his tie to an oil and gas company, which was engaged in fracking shale. A three-person panel is reviewing the study, but the onus is on the university to prevent future apparent conflicts.

2. Track pending federal court cases about Texas’ legislative re-districting maps and the state’s proposed Texas voter identification law. The Texas AG pledged yesterday, after a federal court rejected his request for a declaratory ruling approving the voter identification law, to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

3. Undoubtedly you won’t miss (and neither will we) the November 6 election, when Texas voters will pick among other leaders a President and a new U.S. Senator.

4. Keep eyes trained on the Texas Legislature, for which the next regular legislative session begins Jan. 8, 2013. The lawmakers could cause all sorts of trouble and cutbacks. Note in particular that the interim charges for the House Committee on Higher Education, included an assignment to: “Evaluate proposals for the state’s next master plan for higher education beyond 2015, including a review of various metrics to measure successful outcomes in higher education.”

5. Don’t miss any of the fun unfolding with the Regents and the university administration. In the past 12 months, the fireworks have popped nonstop and they always have consequences for UT students.