University of Arkansas

The Firing Line is a column first started in the Texan in 1909 in which readers share their opinions “concerning any matter of general interest they choose.” Just like in 1909, the Texan “will never express its approval or disapproval of opinions given under the [Firing Line] header.” In other words, take your shot. 

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Seven years ago I dropped out of the University of Texas. In the interim, I started a small mobile food business in Fayetteville, Ark., attended classes at the University of Arkansas, and lived in Cairo. I was readmitted for this spring semester and am back on campus ready to finish the degree I started so many years ago.

Unfortunately, there have been a number of changes since I left that make me question the level of commitment this institution has to its stakeholders, the students.

In my previous tenure, the Flawn Academic Center was known as the Undergraduate Library, or the UGL. The UGL had a lobby area, open 24 hours a day, that was furnished with tables, desks and comfortable chairs. The massive room which now has a fireplace, IT desk and student computers closed at midnight was partitioned from the lobby by a set of glass doors.

Some of my fondest memories of are of the times I stayed up all night studying in the lobby of the UGL, frantically typing papers, reading or cramming for tests. Students would come in and out throughout the night, small study groups would form then dissolve, and students fueled by coffee, Red Bull, and cigarettes could be seen scattered throughout the lobby working on coursework every hour of the night.  

In the morning, the sun would rise, and campus would slowly come to life. The place was magical and filled me with a sense of awe — it felt like the beating heart of this great University and provided round the clock academic services to the thousands of minds wandering campus.

Sadly, as I write this in the lobby of the FAC, half an hour from now, at midnight, I will be evicted from this building I once knew as the UGL. The Flawn Academic Center’s doors will lock, the students will disperse, and this once 24-hour heart of campus will sit empty and idle.

What has happened to this institution? Why does the University no longer provide its students with a 24-hour building for academic services and access to computers?

Tuition has increased by thousands of dollars since I was last here, yet our student services have declined. If the University can pay its football coach over $5 million a year, surely we can afford security, staff and whatever else it takes to keep the Flawn Academic Center open 24 hours.

I have attended, and know of, quite a few other institutions that provide their students with a 24-hour academic building, complete with fireplaces, computers and comfortable chairs, for the occasional nap. I suspect that the middle-aged men and women who run our University find themselves asleep in bed by 10 p.m. most nights and have long ago forgotten what it’s like to have the energy and urgency to pull repeated all-nighters and, therefore, don’t see the value in providing students with an on-campus building in which to study from midnight to 6 a.m.

Toward the end of my previous tenure here, about half a dozen students staged a “sit in” where the fireplace is now. They demanded that the entire ground floor, in addition to the lobby area, remain open all through the night.

They were arrested — I saw them being dragged away in handcuffs by campus police. However, about a week after that student action the entire ground floor opened 24 hours. Those students understood the power of peaceful protest — were willing to be arrested and shamed the University into meeting their demands. What happened after that? That generation cycled through, as students do, and the administrative regime closed it all down again.

Has our student population become unaware and apathetic? How long have the students gone without a 24-hour academic services building?  Where are our student leaders, and why has Student Government failed to champion this cause? We deserve better than this, especially from an institution with an endowment worth billions. They say, “What starts here changes the world.” I guess just not between midnight and 6 a.m.

—Alexander Dickey, Government senior. 

Women's Track & Field

Going into the fourth week of the season, Texas was originally scheduled to split up this weekend to attend both the University of Arkansas’ Tyson Invitational and the Flotrack Husky Classic in Seattle, will instead be staying together in the south, focusing on Fayetteville, AR.

Although the team was faced with the decision to choose between the two events, the Longhorns are well aware that they are approaching another eminent “fork-in-the-road.”

Despite consistent top 10 individual finishes, the team’s national ranking has also shown a consistent negative trend.

Dropping from No. 2 to No. 4 after the first preseason ranking, the now No. 6 Texas knows that its performance at the Tyson Invitational, where they will compete against No. 2 LSU, No. 3 Clemson, No. 4 Arkansas, and No. 5 UCF, could very well be the turning point in its season.

The whole team will show up in full force this weekend, competing in 11 track and field events.

On Friday, Shanay Briscoe, Victoria Lucas, Beverly Owoyele and Alicia Peterson plan to jump-start the team’s momentum in the high jump.

In the first race of the weekend, Julie Amthor and Marielle Hall — both having placed first in the event at meets earlier this season — will represent the Longhorns in the mile run.

With six runners on the race’s roster, Friday’s 400-meter dash holds the most potential for the team to dominate the top 10.

On Saturday, Sara Sutherland will kick off day two of the Invitational with the 3000-meter run.

Among the events of the weekend, races in which Texas could prove itself as a major threat include the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash.

In the 4x400-meter relay, the final women’s event of the weekend, two Texas teams will rally to close out the meet with consecutive first and second places.

Printed on Friday, February 10, 2012 as: Texas' ranking has slipped, aims to stop negative trend