Horns Up: UT Nearing eight-year fundraising goal
On Monday, UT President William Powers Jr. announced that the University reached another major fundraising milestone, raising $2.75 billion in the Campaign for Texas — the University’s eight-year effort to raise $3 billion. Thus far, more than 257,000 alumni, friends, foundations and corporations have given in this capital campaign. Their contributions not only help UT create scholarships, revamp the curriculum and improve students’ overall educational experience, but they also enable the University to grow and expand — the new Dell Medical Center is a prime beneficiary of such contributions, for example. Reaching this new milestone puts UT well on its way to its $3 billion goal. And in a funding climate where legislative appropriations to higher education are going nowhere but down, the money may also provide a much-needed budgetary cushion in the years to come.
Horns Up: APD adopts stricter standards for Taser use
The Austin Police Department is adopting a policy that will treat Tasers as serious weapons “capable of inflicting harm,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. Under the new policy, deployment of a Taser will receive the same level of examination within the police department as the use of a baton or a gun. Previously, use of a Taser by an officer received the same level of scrutiny as the use of pepper spray. Though Police Chief Art Acevedo still called Tasers “effective” tools, he also said that the new oversight could eventually suppress the use of the weapon. In November, a 17-year-old student in Bastrop County entered a coma after falling to the floor as a result of a police officer’s use of a Taser. That accident clearly demonstrated the need for more stringent policies surrounding the stun guns, and we’re thankful that the APD has adjusted their policies to, as Police Chief Acevedo put it, take the weapon more “seriously.”
Horns Up: Students approve positive SG changes
In last Thursday’s campus-wide elections, students voted to approve two new SG referendums that would change the constitution to increase transparency, give the SG President veto power and increase the assembly’s size by changing the method used to determine the number of representatives per college. Right now, colleges receive one representative for every 2,500 students enrolled, yet some colleges choose to only include undergraduates while others include both undergraduate and graduate students in their head counts, skewing the proportions. Though the referendums must be signed by administrative officials including the dean of students, vice president of student affairs, President William Powers Jr. and the members of the UT System Board of Regents to become official, if approved, the change may lead to a more active and representative SG in the future.