Harvard University

One reason why Harvard University constantly excels as a top university is its low student-faculty ratio. Remarkably, for each professor at Harvard, there are only about seven students. Those students therefore benefit from close learning interactions and mentorship from expert educators and researchers. Seventy-five percent of classes at Harvard have fewer than 20 students. 

The student-faculty ratio at Princeton University is 6:1. The ratio at the University of Pennsylvania is about the same. The ratio at Caltech is 3:1. At the University of Virginia, it is 16:1. At the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, it is 15:1.

How does UT Austin compare? Back in 2001, the ratio of students to faculty at UT Austin was 21:1. This proportion left much to be desired, so UT’s president, Larry Faulkner, announced a plan to add 300 tenured and tenure-track faculty to our University. Faulkner’s goal was to enhance education at UT by lowering our student-faculty ratio to 16:1. 

In 2006, UT’s new president, William Powers Jr., in his inaugural address, emphasized the importance of fulfilling Faulkner’s initiative. Moreover, Powers set a higher goal: to eventually reach 445 new faculty positions.  

So where are we now? 

At the start of the academic year 2014-2015, UT Austin had 2,462 full-time equivalent teaching faculty, that is, 435 more than when Faulkner began his initiative 14 years ago. So it almost sounds as if we reached our presidents’ goals. But unfortunately, that’s not the case, because our student population has also grown.   

To calculate student-faculty ratios, we divide “student full-time equivalents” by “faculty full -time teaching equivalents.” (It’s not enough to just divide student headcounts by faculty because some students are only enrolled part- time, and some faculty do not teach full-time.)

As of September 2014, UT Austin has 45,720 student full-time equivalents. Therefore, our student-faculty ratio is now 18.6:1. We have almost reached midway from the goal that we had hoped to reach by 2010.

That goal was reified in 2002 by the Commission of 125, a wisely convened group of 218 distinguished members, who earnestly sought to fulfill the mandate of the Texas Constitution of 1876 and establish “a university of the first class.” The Commission labored for two years to systematically evaluate UT Austin’s entire curriculum. Finally, their No. 1 recommendation was to “reduce the undergraduate student-faculty ratio to 16:1.” 

They rightly concluded: “The quality of education the Commission seeks for UT students can be achieved only if there is a direct and meaningful engagement between students and professors. Such engagement is essential if we are to prepare students for an increasingly complex world. The student-faculty ratio is an important and traditional measure of a quality undergraduate education.” 

Naturally, it was not sufficient to simply hire more instructors, because if enrollments also grew, then our student-faculty ratio might not be improved. Therefore, the Commission added another goal: “Decreasing the student-faculty ratio will require reducing enrollment while also expanding the faculty. But the latter objective must not undermine the University’s commitment to recruit and hire new tenure-track professors of the highest quality.” 

This issue has now been raised in Faculty Council. Our likely next president, Gregory Fenves, will face this challenge: How can we fulfill the important goals set by the Commission of 125 and by our past two presidents? 

My recommendation will be that instead of hiring a few new faculty members at ever-higher salaries, UT should hire more quality faculty at moderate salaries. 

Martínez is an associate professor in the Department of History.

Photo courtesy of the Palestine Solidarity Committee.

Editor's Note: The Texan received this piece around the same time as Walker Fountain's piece. They are not intended to be read as a point/counterpoint.

 

In February, Harvard University’s Hillel center for Jewish students co-sponsored a civil rights panel on “Selma to Ferguson” which included Jewish civil rights veteran Dorothy Zellner. Zellner is also an unapologetic supporter of the Palestinian people and their call for a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine. This caused confusion, however, because Hillel International (which I’ll call “International”) disallows engagement with individuals or entities which support BDS or “demonize” Israel.

 

International typically requires its chapters to react far more sharply to undogmatic speakers. In January of 2014, the Hillel chapter at UC Santa Barbara rescinded its invitation for Jewish author David Harris-Gershon to speak on his book about reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. Harris-Gershon committed the sin of backing the BDS movement (though he still supports the two-state solution), so Hillel decided his presence would lead to a “hurtful distraction.”

 

Shortly after the Harvard panel, Zellner and other civil rights veterans were barred from speaking at Hillel chapters at UMass Amherst and MIT. Just last month, the Hillel chapter at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania decided to host Zellner and others on a panel and was threatened with legal action by International.

 

International stated that the panel would be acceptable so long as the discussion was restricted to American civil rights and did not take up BDS and the occupation of Palestine. At Harvard, Zellner explained the problem with this perspective: Her support for BDS is simply a continuation of “the work that I learned from black people” in the civil rights movement. International’s standards thus cause a serious contradiction for civil rights activists and their underlying principle of justice.

 

The Swarthmore Hillel realized this contradiction in December of 2013 and made a choice to err on the side of justice, passing a resolution to “become an Open Hillel.” They charged International with trying to present a “monolithic face” which does not represent American Jewish diversity, falsely equating Israel with Judaism and generally obstructing open discussion with its restrictive standards.

 

The legal threats by International have culminated in Swarthmore Hillel’s effective expulsion from the organization. Open Hillel has since become a larger movement of Jewish students who believe that dialogue with Palestinians and anti-Zionist Jews is important and should not be subject to International’s authority.

 

Justice-minded students at UT Austin now have a similar choice to make. The Palestine Solidarity Committee has formed the UTDivest coalition, which calls on UT to end its multimillion dollar investments in corporations that facilitate the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

They hope to pass such a resolution in Student Government and demonstrate student support through a petition. Of course, International is against such activism and so the Texas Hillel chapter is campaigning against UTDivest for its similarity to the BDS movement. They have formed a “Unify Texas” campaign which, on its Facebook page, calls for “open dialogue” and “peace and justice.” They do not provide any alternatives to BDS. They do not mention Texas Hillel and did not answer repeated requests from the author to publicly or privately clarify their relationship.

 

That relationship is incredibly important for understanding Unify Texas, as outlined in an anti-BDS email that Texas Hillel circulated. Even while acknowledging that some of its members “struggle with some of Israel’s policies,” Hillel advocates International’s standards of restriction and states that its members “must speak with one voice,” particularly a pro-Israel and anti-BDS voice. The unity and open dialogue that Unify Texas is calling for is a sham, as it rests on a core of restrictive standards and official dogma.

 

Moreover, as UTDivest supporter and SG representative Mohammed Nabulsi explained to The Daily Texan, the first prerequisite of open dialogue is justice. Nabulsi explains that “BDS is a step toward leveling the negotiating playing field so that the Israeli government is forced to take Palestinian demands seriously.”

 

PSC has consistently followed this standard of open and just debate, having recently hosted public demonstrations and events to discuss Palestine and BDS when their criticisms of Texas Hillel were ignored or deleted. They will host yet another public forum Wednesday to discuss UTDivest and BDS with the UT community before their SG resolution is voted on next week.

 

Students who actually care about justice should stand with movements like Open Hillel, UTDivest and BDS. This is not simply a “foreign policy squabble”, as the Texan editorial board wrongly framed it.

 

Those who stand against justice on the basis of “open dialogue” are not only paradoxical, but also on the wrong side of history. We should all reread Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous Birmingham letter in which he rejects the deception of white liberal calls for patience and unity, because freedom “must be demanded by the oppressed.” Do not forget that King himself was a striking point of disunity, having been overwhelmingly hated by white America and sabotaged by the federal government for his radical allegiance to justice.

 

We should honestly consider the statements on Palestine by South African anti-apartheid leaders such as Nelson Mandela, who stated that “we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” Do not forget that Mandela was considered to be a terrorist by the United States for decades. Justice is justice even if it goes against the will of power, and all peoples deserve it, including the Palestinians.

 

Rathi is a computer science honors junior from Austin.

Bain Attwood, a professor in Australian studies from Harvard University, gives a lecture on New Zealand’s indigenous history on Friday. Attwood discusses his findings about the Maori people’s relationship with the British government.
Photo Credit: Charlotte Carpenter | Daily Texan Staff

In its early days, New Zealand was plagued by conflict between its indigenous people and the ruling British government, according to Bain Attwood, a visiting professor of history at Harvard University.

Attwood said his findings on the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, and their relationship with the British government represent the “perennial question in the British imperial historiography.” He said the issues between these two groups stem from their disparate levels of access to the legal system.

“The British sovereignty withheld legal discourse as a resource drawn upon to get leverage over the indigenous peoples,” Attwood said. 

Up until the 20th century, Māori people were rarely recognized as legal owners of much of the New Zealand landscape — an injustice Attwood puts at the center of his research. 

Attwood said many historians question whether British leaders’ vernacular helped trick the Māori tribes into signing an unfair treaty. Though some question the Māori’s understanding of the treaty, and of the concept of sovereignty as a whole, Attwood said answers are indefinite because there is little historical proof to support a given interpretation of what happened. Attwood also said the British downplayed the Māori’s strong military power. 

The Māori people have flourished as time has passed, according to Attwood. In 1769, only about 100,000 Māori people filled New Zealand territory. With the weakening of British power, the Māori people have grown to account for 15 percent of today’s New Zealand population. 

On April 25, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Menand visited campus and delivered a lecture titled “The Condition of the Humanities.” An English and American literature and language professor at Harvard University, Menand previously taught at the City University of New York and is a writer for The New Yorker. In his most recent book, “The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University,” he poses questions about “the large social investment” Americans make in institutions “whose purpose is simply the production and dissemination of knowledge — that is research and teaching.”

Menand talked to the Texan about his ideas about higher education in the context of battles the UT System Board of Regents and the UT administration continue to wage over the future of our University. That conversation, during which Menand spoke frankly about the online world’s pressure on traditional universities, can be found below, edited and condensed. 

Daily Texan: Are you familiar with UT and the conflict between the UT System Board of Regents and the University’s president?
Louis Menand: I know there’s a conflict. I don’t know all the details.

DT: The UT administration, faculty, governing regents and state lawmakers are wrestling with big questions about higher education institutions and how they should function and for what purpose. Given your arguments in your 2010 book that 21st century professors are essentially trying to to function in a 19th century system, what do you advise as the path forward for a large public university subject to the influence of a large, conservative southern state legislature and a very empowered governor?

Menand: (Laughing) That’s a loaded question. I wasn’t referring in that phrase about it being a 19th century institution to the issues that are confronting people at UT ... 

[T]here’s always sort of the same tug of war, handoff regarding whatever the state governing agency, regents or whatever they might be, the governor or the legislature. In [the case of the City University of New York it is] the mayor and the faculty administration of the institution. And it’s always the case that the public officials want to see enrollments, graduation rates, job placements in pretty concrete empirical terms in judging how much they’re going to invest in the institution, because CUNY was 95 percent public money, and the university and the faculty are pushing back and resisting that, because they know perfectly well that not every education can be quantified in those terms and if you try to do that, you’re going to ruin what makes universities places that can produce in all kinds of unpredictable ways people that are very creative and productive members of society.

DT: So who’s right and who will win? In the big picture, because you’re saying it’s not just at CUNY, it’s not just at UT.
Menand: It’s a large public university question ... and it’s usually the flagship that gets a lot of flak. At CUNY I taught in the graduate center, one of 20 campuses. In bad financial times [the graduate center] got an enormous amount of criticism because we didn’t teach that much, we were paid more, we admitted students from out of New York City, all the accusations of being elitist and expendable. But it wasn’t ... First of all, it was a way of providing an excellent education for a number of students, and secondly, it was a way of giving the system a high profile, which was important. UT is thought by everybody in the United States to be one of the great universities in the country, so I don’t know why you’d want to mess with it, really.  

DT: Why is it one of the best universities in the country? What makes that the case?
Menand: The quality of the faculty.

DT: And, so, is there something incorrect about the argument that it’s not necessarily to the benefit of public university students in the best way possible?
Menand: It’s a legitimate question to ask: Is your public university system educating people who will become productive workers in Texas (ideally), or wherever they may go? Or is this a very expensive post-high school something? The university system has to be accountable to the taxpayers through the officials.

DT: So what is an example of it working? And why is it a question that’s being raised so angrily right now, at UT, but also at Illinois and Virginia?
Menand: So, I think that the period since 2008 has been a period for states of a lot of financial constraints and pressures that cause them to look at the various things that they fund and to try and see if they can reduce costs or increase the effectiveness of what they’re doing. So that’s one piece of it. The second piece of it is the MOOC [Massive Open Online Courses] phenomenon. So the MOOC phenomenon gives people the idea that you could actually educate people a whole lot cheaper by having everything streamed through a computer and you wouldn’t have to pay faculty who are less efficient and can teach much smaller numbers of students ... Unfortunately, that’s become the leverage of this argument — that the MOOCs are going to solve the problem for us, basically automating the teaching process.

DT: What do you think about that?
Menand: I think it’s a bad idea if that happens. But I think it’s going to happen.

DT: When?
Menand: Look, I don’t like to predict things, so it’s hard to say. I think that one thing that could happen — not in Austin but at other schools in the UT System — is that they will stop hiring faculty because they’ll be able to for nothing get online instruction from people at Stanford, Harvard and UT-Austin, who will create these MOOCs. And that’s a very low-cost way of getting high prestige faculty to teach your students for you even if they don’t go to that university. Insofar as governors and legislators think that this is a good solution, it’s definitely in the wings.

DT: And why do you think it’s a bad idea?
Menand: Because, for one thing, it’s going to really disrupt the professional ecology of the academic business because our graduate students, the people we’re training to continue to teach what we teach won’t be able to get jobs. Those are the schools where people get jobs. And if those jobs are starting to disappear because those faculty are being turned into basically teaching assistants or they’re being phased out, then our graduate students won’t be able to get work done and the profession will start to wither because we need something like a robust economy. The second reason why, I think, is that for many fields, obviously there’s some courses in some areas where MOOCs are probably an adequate form of pedagogy, but for many fields, certainly the stuff that I teach, you can’t do it that way, you need to have interaction in a classroom with human beings.

DT: What forces exist today that you think will contend with the force that is the argument in favor of MOOCs? What optimism do you have that it won’t become totally automated?
Menand: I think that the reason I would worry about it is that there’s always been distance learning, and for most of the time, the elite institutions have always just looked down their noses at distance learning. Now, suddenly, who are the people who are the big movers in the MOOC world? Stanford, Harvard, [UT-]Austin, Wesleyan — the big name schools are trying to get involved. And they have the capital to make it happen. [Harvard] plunked down $30 million to be part of edX, which is our MOOC, [and UT’s], so we can get in where smaller schools and less wealthy schools can’t get into the game, we can get our brand product out there. So when you’re taking a course on Henry James and you want to MOOC it, you’ll get the Harvard Henry James.

DT: This digital revolution in the context of higher education is one area, but is there any other historical precedent, not for the digital revolution, but for these kinds of changes?
Menand: Well, one parallel is in the 19th century when the research university became the model institution and replaced the old college. And the research university was, as the name implies, founded on the assumption that the chief business of the academic mission was to produce research and scholarship, and so teaching was always part of that but the main thing was to produce knowledge. And the norms for knowledge production at that time were heavily scientific. ... There was a real struggle in that period to try to establish a place for the arts and humanities and the non-hard sciences in the university system, which is really set up ideally to produce science and scientific knowledge. And it was partially successful. But basically, the research model won. That’s the model that we have.

If UT students visit the White House’s College Scorecard, web page, they will find first that the average cost of attending UT as an in-state undergraduate runs about $14, 629 a year — a price tag that, according to the page’s nifty graphic, registers as a low medium. 

Second, they will find some 80.9 percent of full-time UT students receive their bachelor’s degree within six years, a very high graduation rate, according to the website.

Third, they will find 4.7 percent of the UT students who were borrowers defaulted on their federal student loans within three years of entering repayment, as compared to 13.7 percent of students nationally.

Fourth, UT undergraduate students and their families typically borrow $22,673 in federal loans, an amount that has them paying off the debt over 10 years at a rate of approximately $260.92 per month.

What doesn’t the White House’s College Scorecard which was first launched last month, tell UT students? Probably what they most want to know: What kind of job UT students get when they graduate. The webpage offers this explanation instead: “The U.S. Department of Education is working to provide information about the average earnings of former undergraduate students at UT Austin who borrowed Federal student loans. In the meantime, ask UT Austin to tell you about how many of its graduates get jobs, what kinds of jobs they get, and how much those graduates typically earn.”

Drew Gilpin Faust, the president of Harvard University, in a recent blog post for The New York Times, concludes that federal policy makers should not focus on college graduates’ first-job and first earning statements. “The focus in federal policy making and rhetoric on earnings data as the indicator of the value of higher education will further the growing perception that a college degree should be simply a ticket to a first job, rather than a passport to a lifetime of citizenship, opportunity, growth and change,” Faust writes.

At Harvard, according to the White House’s calculations, the cost for the average undergraduate is $18,277 a year, 94.7 percent of the students graduate, 1 percent of them default on federal loans, and they and their families pay on average $88.61 per month over 10 years to pay off that debt.

In her Times blog, the Harvard president mentions Bryn Mawr College, from which she graduated in 1968. There, the cost for the average undergraduate equals $25,791 per year, 87.3 percent of the students graduate, 1.6 percent of them default on their federal students loans, and they and their families p ay on average $239.79 per month over 10 years to pay off that debt.

Faust says her first job after Bryn Mawr at the Department of Housing and Urban Development provided her a low starting salary but inspired her to pursue public service and eventually put her on the path to her current position. “Should Bryn Mawr have been judged based on what I was paid in my first year at HUD?,” she asks.

The answer is definitely no. Nor should UT students evaluate their school experience by their first post-graduation job and its paycheck.

But the White House and UT should continue working on getting that data, because it’s possible that, like in the case of Faust, a student’s first job out of college helps determine their life’s path. (Regardless of how much that first job pays.) A deeper evaluation of the data, which we didn’t do, and which may lead to calls for corrections, would help Americans to understand the true value of a college education, not just the number they’ll earn upon graduation. 

Mexican President to teach at Harvard

Mexican President Felipe Calderón will be joining Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the school announced Wednesday.

The announcement comes after months of speculation that Calderón had been in talks with UT officials about a post-presidency teaching position. In August, the Dallas Morning News reported that Calderón and President William Powers Jr. had met twice to discuss the idea of teaching at UT.

Calderón’s six year term ends this week and he will step into his role at Harvard as the Inaugural Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow in spring 2013.

In a Harvard Kennedy School press release, Calderon said he looks forward to using the fellowship to examine his time in office and share his experiences with others at the school.

“This Fellowship will be a tremendous opportunity for me to reflect upon my six years in office, to connect with scholars and students at Harvard, and to begin work on the important papers that will document the many challenges that we faced, and the policy positions that we developed during my administration,”Calderón said.

Calderón received a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School in 2000.

In September, when Calderón was rumored to be a candidate for a teaching position at UT, students and community members interrupted a conference on campus voicing their opposition to the Mexican president.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Dozens of Harvard University students are being investigated for cheating after school officials discovered they may have shared answers or plagiarized on a final exam.

Harvard officials declined to release the name of the class, the students’ names or the exact number being investigated, citing privacy laws.

The undergraduate class had a minimum of 250 students and possible cheating was discovered in roughly half the take-home exams, university officials said Thursday.

“These allegations, if proven, represent totally unacceptable behavior that betrays the trust upon which intellectual inquiry at Harvard depends,” President Drew Faust said.

Each student whose work is in question has been called to appear before a subcommittee of the Harvard College Administrative Board, which reviews issues of academic integrity, said Jay M. Harris, dean of undergraduate Education. He emphasized that none of the allegations have been proven and said there’s no evidence of widespread cheating at Harvard.

“The facts that are before us are that we have a problem in this one course,” Harris said. “I hope that doesn’t sound overly naive, I don’t want to be naive, but this is what we have. The rest would be speculation.

“Looking at the students we have and the work that they do, I would be loathe to say this is something that represents Harvard students generally.”

The spring course included undergraduates at all class levels, Harris said. A teaching assistant noticed some possible problems on the tests, including evidence that students collaborated on answers or used the same long, identical strings of words. The exam had clear instructions that no collaboration was allowed, Harris said.

The assistant notified the professor, who referred the case in May to the administrative board. After interviewing some students, the board found what Harris characterized as “cause for concern.”

Depending on the offense, the punishments range from an admonition, a sort of warning for a first offense, to being forced to withdraw from Harvard for a year. It wasn’t immediately clear what sanctions any student who has graduated may face.

There’s no timeline for when the investigation will be finished, Harris said.

“We believe in due process for students and fairness,” he said. “Everyone wants it done yesterday, but we have to be patient. It’s going to take as long as it takes.”

A Harvard spokesman said he knows of no incidents in recent memory of possible cheating at the university on this scale.

In response to the allegations, a Harvard committee on academic integrity led by Harris will present recommendations on how to enforce faculty-wide expectations of academic honesty.

In an email Thursday, Michael D. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, urged faculty members to clarify policies on student collaboration and work to “foster a culture of honesty and integrity.”

The school plans to initiate broad conversations on campus about academic honesty, including why it’s vital to intellectual inquiry. It is also considering instituting an honor code. Such codes at other schools, for instance, set standards for honesty and require students to sign completed work, attesting that they followed those standards.

“We really think we need to work harder,” Harris said. “We do think it’s an opportunity to really put out before the community how much we value integrity.”

As Fisher v. Texas — the affirmative action case involving a Caucasian female denied admission to UT — makes its way to the Supreme Court and gains prominence in the media, other similar university admission policies are being criticized. A different demographic, Asian-Americans, are challenging the status quo of legacy admissions policies at institutions including Harvard University and Princeton University.

In 2008, an Indian-American student, among the top students in his California high school class, claimed Harvard and Princeton rejected his application because of his race.

This student’s case is part of the growing debate about whether elite universities’ admissions processes discriminate against Asian-Americans. Tied with Fisher v.

Texas, some view these complaints as a contest of affirmative action practices at universities that favor blacks and Hispanics. However, this student’s challenge should instead address the unfair admissions policies of legacy preference at elite universities.

Advocacy groups defending this student’s case argue that Asian-Americans, the fastest growing and most affluent demographic in the United States according to Bloomberg, face higher obstacles to university admission despite having the highest average SAT scores, according to a 2009 study.

Their race is not considered in affirmative action practices, and they often lack legacy status at elite schools, as many of them are first-generation Americans. Affirmative action practices are in place to create equal footing for students whose socioeconomic backgrounds limit their access to essential resources — such as SAT tutoring or adequate college counseling — and thereby hinder their chances of being admitted to universities. Though Asian-Americans do not fall into this category, they still may not have high representation at elite universities because of legacy preferences — that is, applicants who are children or siblings of university alumni and consequently have an advantage in the admissions process. While some critics argue that legacy status plays a small role in admitting applicants and is on the decline, others contend that the practice is still rampant and emphasizes the income inequality and status obsession of our country. The reason that this practice is in use is because private institutions, such as Harvard, use the prospect of legacy admissions to generate donations from alumni.

For Asian-Americans, who are often first-generation Americans, this practice is unfair because these students do not have the same privileges and position in society as those with alumni parents. When a student with higher test scores and an all-around better application is rejected in favor of a student whose father attended the college and recently offered a generous donation, it breeds an environment of elitism and nepotism that will hinder our country’s growth. Donations from alumni should come from a desire to expand and enhance the school, not to exercise power over the school.

Many of the rejected, yet deserving, students could have flourished at these schools and might have become part of the nation’s next generation of leaders, further increasing the participation rate of Asian-Americans in fields in which they are still underrepresented, such as politics. Any first-generation American without such status or any American whose parents went to a different university than he or she wishes to attend are in a similar position. Rather than simply accepting a large percentage of legacy applicants — as Princeton did in 2009, when it accepted 41.7 percent of legacy applicants, compared with 9.2 percent of the overall applicant pool — universities should commit to admitting students based on merit.

Waliany is a Plan II and government senior.

With an election 10 days away, City Council candidates are trying to secure all of the votes that they can, including those from University students. Early voting started Monday and continues until May 10. Eleven candidates are running for three spots. All places are elected at-large by the entire city and each member serves a staggered three-year term.

We asked them: Why should UT students vote for you?


Place One

Chris Riley (Incumbent)

Riley was born in Austin and attended Harvard University. He attended UT’s School of Law and moved downtown after passing the bar exam in 1990. He worked as an attorney at the Texas Supreme Court for five years and cofounded the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association. He has served on Austin’s Planning Commission and other city boards. Riley was elected to council in May 2009.

“I was born in West Campus, graduated from UT Law and still live just a few blocks away. As a lifelong Longhorn, I care deeply about issues affecting UT students, and I’m committed to ensuring that Austin’s growth raises the quality of life in the UT area and throughout the community.”

Josiah Ingalls

Ingalls moved to Austin in 2004. In 2006, he founded the School for All Children Act, an organization that seeks to ensure all children receive an education, and has served as its president for four years. He is an member of the Austin Gray Panthers, a group that fights for social and economic justice, and the Coalition for Community Concerns and has volunteered at the Texas Freedom Network, a state watchdog organization. Ingalls ran for mayor in 2009 and the State Board of Education in 2010 but did not win.

“UT students should vote for me because I am the only candidate for Place 1 who has been working with local organizations and groups to address local issues. I am also the only candidate in this race who is actively working to bring single-member districts to Austin.”

Norman Jacobson and Roger Chan are also running for Place 1 but could not be reached for comment.

***



Place Three

Randi Shade (Incumbent)

Shade graduated from UT with a Plan II degree in 1988 and served as Student Government president her senior year. She is a life member of the Texas Exes. Shade was a stay-at-home mom before she ran for council and was elected in 2008.

“As a council member, I have prioritized strong city services, such as public safety and parks, and I’ve run an office that is accessible and responsive to all citizens, including UT students, faculty and staff. I have often said that ‘Nothing makes Austin, Austin more than having the 40 Acres here.’ That’s why I am often the first phone call for folks at UT needing help from the city, and it is why I am happy to serve the 60,000-person UT community.”

Kathie Tovo

Tovo got her master’s and doctorate from UT, where she taught for 10 years. She has served on the Planning Commission, Austin Independent School District’s Community Committee and Neighborhood Planning subcommittees, among other city boards and task forces, including the Waller Creek Citizen Advisory Council, the Downtown Street Closure Task Force and Create Austin.

“I have been very involved in issues across our community. My main issues are keeping Austin affordable for everyone and creating communities throughout the city where people can live close to where they work, shop, go to parks and take their children to child care or school.”

Michael “Max” Nofziger

Nofziger moved to Austin in 1974 while on a hitchhiking trip from Houston to Los Angeles before running for the council four times, winning in 1987. Nofziger served on the council from 1987-2006.  

“Students should vote for me because I am promoting transformational public policies which will impact students’ lives for decades in terms of clean transportation, abundant electrical energy, national security, preserving the environment and more.”

Kris Bailey

Bailey grew up in Austin and went to James Bowie High School before traveling around the world and taking classes at Austin Community College. He is an active volunteer with Texans for Accountable Government and has worked for more than 10 years as an independent insurance adjuster who handles claims for storm damage and natural disasters.

“I believe the focus of the Austin Police Department should be shifted from crimes that do not involve victims directly to crimes that do involve victims. This means they should leave people that are not harming others alone — Willie Nelson endorsed me because I said arresting people for marijuana is a waste of time and money and don’t wish to continue with those arrests. I will fight to overturn the parking meter ordinance.”

***


Place Four

Laura Morrison (Incumbent)

Morrison was elected to council in 2008 and serves on several council committees, including the Emerging Technology and Telecommunications committee and the Audit and Finance committee.

“Laura Morrison always has the University in mind when she makes decisions at City Hall,” her campaign manager Jim Wick said. “Her husband, Phil Morrison, has been a professor here for 30 years. She believes affordability is a major issue and works to keep housing costs low for university students. Laura also opposed extending parking meter hours downtown, realizing that many students are employed there and cannot afford the extra burden of paying for parking.”

Eric Rangel

Rangel, 31, was born in Austin but grew up in Lockhart, about 30 miles away. After graduating from Texas State University, he traveled extensively. He volunteers with Dell Children’s Medical Center, the youth group at St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church and Habitat for Humanity.

“For far too long students haven’t voted in large numbers because they don’t feel they can relate to the men and women that supposedly serve them. I want to bring a young voice and perspective to City Hall. I want to work with and support UT students like never before. People say that whether it’s high school or college students, they just don’t care. The truth is they do care, people just don’t know what they care about. And that’s what we need to find out. I’m dedicated to working with the future leaders of this city and would be honored to represent the UT community.”

Toby Ryan

Ryan moved to Austin after high school to go to Texas State University and to intern at the alternative radio station 101X where he has held multiple on- and off-air positions.

“Anyone who cares about downtown Austin and the live music community that makes this city so special should vote for me. After 15 years in the music industry here, I’m running to give live music a voice. I’m opposed to parking rate increases, zoning changes that will make it hard to keep venues open and ever stricter sound ordinances.”
 

Egypt has the chance to install a true democracy if it conducts its elections effectively, a Harvard University professor said Thursday.

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who resigned in February after weeks of a popular uprising, designed his autocratic government to be a resilient institution that could stand up to attempts at overthrow and bring together elites to manage the country, Harvard associate public policy professor Tarek Masoud said in a talk hosted by the Robert S. Strauss Center.

However, the system created resentment among the military, a segment of the elite Mubarak needed to hold on to power, he said.

“When push came to shove, the military allowed the people to continue with the revolution,” Masoud said. “They sided with the people. This [elite] institution actually weakened the regime because the military was not on its side.”

Parliamentary elections, which were thought to be a longevity factor in the regime, actually weakened it, Masoud said.

“Young protesting people got their ideas from the institutions that are supposed to promote longevity,” Masoud said. “People weren’t vested in the regime.”

There are five challenges Masoud said he believes pose a threat to true democratic consolidation in Egypt: getting the military back to the barracks, forming a new constitution, coping with Islamic fundamentalists, removing elements of Mubarak’s regime and getting people to believe the revolution was good for them.

“The military is interrogating Mubarak and members of his regime,” said Mahmoud Al-Batal, UT associate professor of Arabic. “Many Egyptians see this as a positive step, holding the old regime accountable for corruption and embezzling.”

Masoud said he doubts the military’s desire to leave power as the greatest shareholder of public factories and lands in Egypt but said they are taking very drastic steps that demonstrate they do want to get out of power.

“It is almost certain that [Islamic group] the Muslim Brothers will be in the election and get a good portion of seats in parliament,” Al-Batal said. “But the test is about the process of elections. These will be the first true elections in Egypt.”

Despite these challenges, Masoud said he is optimistic about Egypt’s democratization and the effect it could have on its neighbors, but if it does fail, the surrounding countries will “thank their lucky stars” for their own stability.

Farrah Farley, global policy studies graduate student, said she agrees with Masoud’s optimism.

“This is an unprecedented movement where the blue collars, educated class and past Mubarak sympathizers united in a way they haven’t before,” Farley said. “Democracy can result after the 2011 elections, but they must keep the solidarity alive.”