Gage Paine

Photo Credit: Jack Mitts | Daily Texan Staff

The University is falling short of a demand for on-campus student housing by 3,900 beds, according to a previously unreleased report obtained by The Daily Texan.

The report, called the Residence Halls Needs Assessment, is an examination of student housing at UT and concludes that the University needs to expand on-campus housing options to meet student demand and remain competitive with peer institutions. Administrators say they are still reviewing the assessment, which was completed in September 2013 for $150,000 by two architecture firms. The assessment identified a net-demand of 3,900 additional beds on-campus — more than the total number of beds in Jester.

Since the report was completed, the only action University administrators have taken in regards to housing was increasing on-campus housing rates by an average of five percent for the 2014-2015 school year. Gage Paine, vice president of student affairs, said the University increased rates in part to prepare for future dorm construction costs, though, Paine said, construction plans are not in the preliminary stage of planning yet. 

“We did a little bit of a jump this year, so we could be prepared for the next step,” Paine said. “There was some increase based on future plans.”

The assessment noted UT could raise rates by 10-16 percent across campus and not upset the housing market in Austin.

UT houses around 7,400 students every year in its 14 dorms on campus — more than half the number of students who apply for on-campus housing. Laurie Mackey, director of administrative services at the Division of Housing and Food Services, said more than 14,000 students applied for on-campus housing for the 2013-2014 school year. The University houses around 15 percent of its students, a smaller percentage than peer institutions who can house 20-30 percent of their student bodies, according to the assessment. 

For decades, committees and reports have suggested the University increase on-campus housing. In 1983, UT’s Centennial Commission recommended the University add housing and encourage undergraduates to live on campus. UT added around 800 beds before 2004, when the Commission of 125, a group of UT community members and stakeholders who compiled a set of recommendations to improve the University in the following 25 years, recommended UT add 2,300 beds to campus. Ten years later, the University remains more than 1,700 beds short of that goal. The newest on-campus dormitory, Duren, was constructed in 2007. 

In 2012, a report from the task force on undergraduate graduation rates recommended UT require all first-year students to live on campus. During the 2011-2012 school year, just 61 percent of freshmen lived on campus, according to the Residence Halls Needs Assessment. 

“Right now, people are just thinking out loud, trying to put as many options on the table so we can figure out what makes the most sense for the campus in the next five years,” Paine said. “I would like us to know what we’re doing by next fall. Then there are a whole lot of other steps, but I would like us to have an answer.”

The Residence Hall Needs Assessment, which included a survey, reported students would prefer the University build future dorms near the center of campus, an area that is largely already developed. Paine said University administrators are considering constructing future dorms on the east side of campus, in accordance with the goals of UT’s most recent master plan, which aims to shift the center of campus eastward. Students prefer East Campus less than any other area for future dorms, according to the assessment.


‚ÄčIn a survey, students said they would prefer the University build future dorms in the darker shades of green.

No matter what the next dorm looks like or where it is located, University administrators will not likely build another dorm the size of Jester.

“The best residence halls are smaller, like Moore-Hill,” Paine said. “Nobody wants to hear this, but some of the best residence halls are places with community baths because that’s where communities happen. Could we build something new like that? That would be pretty radical.”

Randall Porter, UT’s director of residential facilities, said the University prefers to build residence halls with 600 beds or fewer. In order to reach the 3,900-bed need laid out in the assessment, the University would have to add six-and-a-half dorms of that size.

“To get to 3,900 beds would be multiple construction projects, and even one construction project is going to be at least a four-year process,” Porter said. “It’s not likely we would be doing multiple ones at one time. My advice would be: Build one and make sure we can fill it because that 3,900 number is just an analysis. That doesn’t necessarily mean it reflects what we think the market is.”

Porter said the claim that there is a demand for 3,900 additional beds on campus surprised him, and he is not sure whether there is space to add that many additional beds.

“It would be challenging [to add that many beds],” Porter said. “We’d maybe have to build a little farther away. It’s hard to say, but there are a few possibilities.”

Almost a full week after news broke that Texas Student Media, commonly known as TSM, would move under the domain of the Moody College of Communication, it remains unclear who — if anybody — ultimately made that decision.

In an interview with the Texan on Friday, President William Powers Jr. said he did not make the final decision on the move, although he considered the absorption of TSM properties — which include the Texan, Texas Student Television, Cactus Yearbook, KVRX 91.7 and Texas Travesty — a plausible solution for TSM’s financial woes.

Gage Paine, the vice president for student affairs, and Roderick Hart, dean of the Moody College of Communication, denied making the final decision to move the properties earlier in the week, though they acknowledged they played roles in the process.

Last week, the Texan reported that TSM properties, including The Daily Texan, would be moved into the domain of Moody college from their current home in the Division of Student Affairs. Powers said he was comfortable with the move, though it wasn’t originally his idea.

“I don’t have a dog in the hunt of how the issue is [resolved], of how progress is made,” Powers said. “Gage had an idea it would help to have, from the University’s point of view, some structural change — journalism, rather than Student Affairs. My view was that [the move] was a plausible solution — if it works, it’s fine with me.”

Powers said the extent of his personal involvement was helping to facilitate discussion with Hart.

“I don’t think he went out looking for it, but [Hart] was a good soldier, and he said ‘Yes, if that would help, I’ll do this,’” Powers said. “I did a little bit of legwork for [Paine] — that was my role.”

In an interview Thursday, Paine said she recommended to Powers that TSM properties should be moved, but that she did not make the final decision.

“[In a regular meeting with the president], I said I think it’s in the best interest of TSM to move — that would be my recommendation at this point,” Paine said. “Ultimately, the administrative home [of TSM properties] is a presidential decision, in consultation with all of the administrative units. It’s his decision; it wasn’t a vote.”

Paine could not be reached for additional comment or clarification after the Texan interviewed Powers on Friday afternoon.

Powers also said he was surprised TSM board members were not alerted to, or included more fully in, the decision-making process.

“I would have anticipated they would’ve been part of the process,” Powers said. “I don’t know all the legal ins and outs of it, but I would have anticipated it would’ve taken some action by the board.”

Dave Player, the president of the TSM board, said he was not surprised the board was not consulted beyond a visit by Paine and Hart at a meeting in September. 

“I can understand why the board was an afterthought because we’ve been completely cut out of the decision-making processes,” Player said. “The way the administration has applied and interpreted the trust in past years has made the board toothless — we’ve been turned into a powerless entity.”

The student Declaration of Trust is a document created in 1971, when TSM — then called Texas Student Publications — was trying to ensure editorial independence, while locked in a legal battle with the UT System Board of Regents. The Trust made the organization an independent entity, although its assets and certain staff positions were still to be controlled by the regents.

Powers said he had many questions he had assumed someone would answer before the move was made.

“I mentioned, we’ve got the trust — I have no idea,” Powers said. “Does the trust need to be changed? Do the regents need to get involved in changing the Trust? I would have anticipated that all of that would have been worked out in advance.”

In a letter announcing the decision to the Division of Student Affairs written last week, Paine said details about the move would be settled in the coming weeks.

“We look forward to working with Dean Hart on a smooth, thoughtful and deliberate transition of leadership and TSM resources,” Paine wrote in her letter.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the original name of the entity that oversees The Daily Texan and other student media properties. The entity's former name is Texas Student Publications.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

One day after The Daily Texan reported Texas Student Media properties were moving under the domain of the Moody College of Communication, the University appointed TSTV-KVRX studio engineer Frank Serpas interim director of TSM. As he steps into his new job, it remains unclear what the lasting impact of the move to the college might be. 

In a letter he addressed to TSM stakeholders, Serpas acknowledged the financial issues of TSM and said the Moody college has an inherent interest in TSM’s success.

“TSM’s charter is to educate students, serve audiences and remain solvent,” Serpas said. “Though the educational mission is paramount, at present solvency is the most urgent concern.”

Serpas also addressed certain questions raised by Daily Texan alumni and supporters. Former Editor-in-Chief John Schwartz, who is now a correspondent at The New York Times, said he was unsure what the Moody college’s involvement would mean for the Texan’s operations.

“I have great respect for the UT journalism school — I love the people in it, but not everyone in journalism goes through the journalism school,” Schwartz said. “The thing I love about journalism is that it’s more trade than profession, and anyone can walk in through the door. The more closely the Texan is tied to the school, the less likely you are to have those walk-ins.” 

Schwartz said his main concern as an alumnus is the possibility of restrictions being placed on the Texan’s employment practices.

“I don’t want a structure to arise that makes it harder for an idiot like me to walk in off the street and end up changing his life — and his career,” Schwartz said. “I was going to be a lawyer.”

In the letter, Serpas said he wants to preserve students’ control of their content and equal opportunity to the entire UT student body. 

“I was not a communications major, so I appreciate that TSM welcomes students irrespective of their fields of study,” Serpas said.

While some administrators and alumni work to address the questions that have arisen as the result of the move, others question how the decision was made in the first place. A.J. Bauer, treasurer of alumni support group Friends of The Daily Texan, said he does not understand how the change can be made without amending the student Declaration of Trust.

The Declaration of Trust was created in 1971, when Texas Student Productions — which later became TSM — was engaged in a legal battle with the UT System Board of Regents over the control of its financial assets and student editorial content. Unlike student productions’ earlier charter from 1922, the new trust made the organization an independent entity, although its assets and certain staff positions were still to be controlled by the regents.

“I’m waiting to see how they justify [the move],” Bauer said. “The Declaration of Trust is a legal document that can’t just be overlooked.”

Gage Paine, the vice president of student affairs, acknowledged that little student input went into the decision, but said this was a result of inaction on the part of the TSM Board members themselves. Paine said when she spoke to TSM Board members at a meeting in September, she made it clear her office was open to hearing feedback.

“We left [the meeting] with a pretty clear message that it was ongoing, that no decision was made that day and that we were open to hearing people’s thoughts and concerns and ideas,” Paine said. “Not a whole lot of people came and knocked on my door and said, ‘I really need to talk to you about it.’ … It’s true I never contacted them, because I had opened the door.”

Paine said, ultimately, it was President William Powers Jr.’s decision. 

“The president decides [the administrative home of TSM],” Paine said. “It’s his decision. It wasn’t a vote … did anyone pick up the phone and poll the board members? No.”

Paine said administrators were planning to tell the TSM property managers about the move to the Moody college on Friday.

Paine also said she wanted to make clear the decision was not an act of desperation by her office or a power play on the part of college.

“The dean isn’t grabbing [TSM],” Paine said. “And I’m not punting it.”

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

New story: Texas Student Media and its entities, including The Daily Texan, are being moved under the domain of the Moody College of Communication, though many questions about the implications of the move remain unanswered.

TSM, the umbrella organization that manages a number of student-produced media properties, including Cactus Yearbook, Texas Travesty, Texas Student TV, KVRX 91.7 FM and The Daily Texan, is currently housed under the Division of Student Affairs and has been under severe financial constraints for the last several years.

Roderick Hart, dean of the Moody college, said he agreed to assume oversight of TSM after President William Powers Jr. asked him personally to do so. Hart said he does not have extensive background knowledge about current TSM operations.

“All I can say is the president called me over to his office. That was it,” Hart said. “I don’t know anything about the TSM Board, or what its procedures are.”

Powers, who is currently in Washington, D.C. for a White House conference on higher-education access for low-income students, was unavailable for comment. 

Although Hart and Gage Paine, vice president of student affairs, attended a TSM board meeting in September to solicit feedback about a potential move to the college, no decisions were made at the meeting, and multiple members of the TSM Board, including board President Dave Player, said they had not been made aware of any part of the negotiation process.

“No one ever contacted me about it from the administration, or from the [Moody college],” Player said. “This is how much they value student input: not at all.”

Player said he was concerned about the lack of detail provided to board members about the implications of the move.

“We want to make sure we preserve the autonomy of the paper,” Player said. “We put a high value on being a student-run publication with student managers — student content decided by students — and we want to make sure that’s preserved.”

Cliff Avery, president of Friends of the Texan, a recently formed alumni group, said his organization was also unaware a decision had been made.

Robert Quigley, journalism senior lecturer and member of the TSM Board, said he was optimistic about the move.

“I want to see [TSM] survive, and I think this is an important step in making that happen,” Quigley said. “I’m under the assumption that the trust will remain relatively intact, that we’ll still have a board and a director and all that. I don’t want to say for sure that one thing’s going to happen over another.”

University spokesman Gary Susswein said Powers is aware there are unanswered questions.

“In terms of finances, and some of the financial questions that have been raised, that still has to be worked out,” Susswein said. “We want UT to be able to maintain the Texan as a strong, independent student newspaper.”

Hart said it was important to recognize the ongoing nature of the situation and the uncertain state of TSM finances. Currently, TSM is without a director, as former director Jalah Goette announced her resignation in December. The University has yet to appoint someone in the interim.

“I really don’t have anybody in my thoughts [to oversee operations] . . . There are just a lot of unknowns,” Hart said. “The president and I both agreed that we have to have a functioning fundraising operation, and that’ll be really helpful. It’s not going to help in the short term, but, in the long term, philanthropy can hopefully become part of the solution for [TSM] . . . It’s something I haven’t really had a chance to get my teeth into. It’s in a very sort of still-working-it-out stage.”

Hart said that, although he had reservations about the move initially, he felt strongly about the work TSM entities do.

“This is not something I lusted for, but I’m a real fan of [TSM], in all its pieces and parts,” Hart said. “If I can be helpful in the process, I will do so. That’s what I told the president. I don’t have any great expertise to bring to it at this moment.” 

Additional reporting by Julia Brouillette, Nicole Cobler, Alyssa Mahoney and Madlin Mekelburg

Original story: Texas Student Media and its properties, including The Daily Texan, are being moved under the domain of the Moody College of Communication, multiple sources inside the college confirmed Wednesday.

TSM is the umbrella organization that manages a number of student-produced media properties, including Cactus Yearbook, The Daily Texan, Texas Travesty, Texas Student TV and KVRX 91.7 FM. It is currently housed under the Division of Student Affairs.

The University planned to announce the move on Friday, so sources including administrators and faculty members were unable to confirm the move on the record. Roderick Hart, dean of the Moody College, is travelling and did not return multiple requests for comment.

Though Hart and Gage Paine, vice president of student affairs, attended a TSM board meeting in September to solicit feedback about a potential move to the College, no decision was made about moving forward. Multiple members of the TSM board, including TSM board president Dave Player, said they were not informed that negotiations were ongoing, or that a decision was made.

Player said he was taken aback by the decision.

“No one ever contacted me about it from the administration, or from the communication school,” Player said. “This is how much they value student input: not at all.”

Player said he was concerned about the lack of detail provided to board members about the implications of the move.

“We want to make sure we preserve the autonomy of the paper,” Player said. “We put a high value on being a student-run publication with student managers, student content decided by students, and we want to make sure that’s preserved.”

Cliff Avery, president of Friends of the Texan, a recently formed alumni group, said his organization was also unaware a decision had been made.

“In fact, we had a board meeting, a conference call, scheduled for the 24th [of January] to see how we wanted to weigh in on this discussion,” Avery said.

Robert Quigley, journalism senior lecturer and member of the TSM Board, said he was optimistic about the move.

“I want to see [TSM] survive, and I think this is an important step in making that happen,” Quigley said. “I’m under the assumption that the trust will remain relatively intact, that we’ll still have a board and a director and all that. I don’t want to say for sure that one thing’s going to happen over another.”

While an interest in moving to the Moody College has arisen in recent years, TSM’s dire financial circumstances ramped up discussions starting in September. Additionally, TSM director Jalah Goette announced in December that she will be stepping down from her role.

“The communications school has more development officers than the vice president of student affairs had ... the [College] has a team, they’re good at what they do,” Quigley said. “They know how to bring in money.”

Clarification: Dave Player's quote referencing the administration's concern for the students has been clarified since the original publication of this story.

The Division of Student Affairs announced Monday that Mulugeta Ferede will be the new University Unions executive director, replacing Andy Smith, who resigned from the position in August.

The unions executive director supervises a staff that works directly with students and manages the Texas Union, Student Activity Center, Hogg Auditorium and Student Services Building. The director also oversees Campus Events + Entertainment and business and food services at the Union.

Smith officially retired from the position in August after 27 years with the unions. Three years before his resignation, Smith was criticized for a proposal to close the Cactus Cafe & Bar in the Union.

Smith will continue to work with the unions until the end of the year, at which point Ferede will take over. Gage Paine, vice president for student affairs, said she appreciates Smith’s willingness to work with the unions in the interim period. 

Ferede, who has worked with unions for almost 20 years, will leave his post of eight years as senior associate director of the Illini Union at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In his time at UT, Ferede said he hopes to build an energetic atmosphere. 

“My interest is really the students,” Ferede said. “I must be a teacher at heart — I’m interested in helping and mentoring students.” 

Paine said she is excited Ferede has experience in working directly with students and managing facilities. 

“He brings a business sense and student engagement sense into the mix,” Paine said. “I have expectations that he’ll bring great energy into our programs. … When a new person comes in, no matter how strong an organization is, a new person sees new things and asks questions that someone who has been there for 27 years doesn’t ask.” 

Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly said during the interview process Ferede demonstrated qualities she was looking for — including integrity, passion and a student-centered mind-set. 

“I’m hoping that the student body will have the opportunity to get to know him and share their vision of what they would like to see as we continue to build on the excellence of our program and facilities,” Reagins-Lilly said. “I am looking forward to a collaborative process to determine the future growth that includes students at the center.”

Jalah Goette  
Texas Student Media director

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

For the first time in nine months, Texas Student Media has a permanent director.

Jalah Goette was appointed to the position Nov. 8 by Gage Paine, Vice President for Student Affairs, after the Texas Student Media board members recommended Goette be appointed to the position instead of conducting a month-long national search. Texas Student Media represents the various student media organizations on the UT campus, including The Daily Texan, Texas Student Television, KVRX, the Texas Travesty and the Cactus Yearbook.

“Goette understands the complexities and changing horizon of college media,” Paine said. “She is also respected by TSM’s professional and student staff.”

Goette has served as interim director since Gary Borders resigned from the position in February. Borders said he was forced to resign by Juan Gonzalez, former vice president of student affairs, because he suggested selling Texas Student Television and KVRX. Goette said working as the interim director helped her prepare for working as director. Before she was appointed interim director, Goette oversaw business and advertising as the assistant director.

She said the top priority for Texas Student Media is developing its budget for the upcoming school year.

“Incorporating feedback from all aspects of the organization in the budget development process is crucial for our success and is a great educational opportunity for our student managers and editors to better understand the business model,” Goette said.

She said the biggest struggle faced by Texas Student Media and its entities is figuring out a way to reach the student audience as news consumption becomes more digital. She said she wants to see more collaboration between the different student media outlets.

“This year our student managers and editors have been eager to work together to enhance collaboration and cross-promotion of our media entities,” Goette said. “I will continue to encourage this type of work.”

Becca Rushworth, TSTV station manager and a nonvoting member of the Texas Student Media board, said she is glad the new director is coming from within Texas Student Media.

“It really helps to have someone who has been here a long time, is happy to be here and knows what it is like to be a student,” Rushworth, a radio-television-film senior, said.

Rushworth said she is hoping Goette can keep the different student entities operating during a time when many college news organizations are cutting back.

“I know it’s mostly part of the students’ jobs to find a method to keep it alive, but it is going to take her leadership and knowledge to keep the entities afloat,” Rushworth said.

The Texas Student Media board is composed of 11 voting members and 11 nonvoting members. As director, Goette is a nonvoting member. The board is composed of students, faculty members and professional journalists. Some are appointed and some are elected by the student body.

Gage Paine, vice president of Student Affairs, announced Thursday that Jalah Goette will serve as the director of the Texas Student Media board.

The Texas Student Media board represents the various University student media outlets, including The Daily Texan, Texas Student Television, KVRX, the Texas Travesty and the Cactus Yearbook. Previously, UT was prepared to go through a national search for a new director, but after a recommendation from the Texas Student Media board, Paine decided to appoint Goette to the position.

“While this is not the methodology that we typically use to fill a director-level position, I recognize that Texas Student Media has had considerable leadership transition challenges over the last few years,” Paine said in a memorandum to the board.

Goette has served as the interim director since the spring, when Gary Borders, the former Texas Student Media board director, resigned. Borders said his resignation was forced by Juan Gonzalez, former vice president of Student Affairs, because Borders proposed the selling of KVRX and Texas Student Television.

Goette has been with Texas Student Media for six years. Previously, she was the assistant director, where she dealt with Texas Student Media business and advertising.

Printed on Friday, November 9, 2012 as: Texas Student Media board appoints interim director to permanent position