Jordan Metoyer

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

A student was arrested May 8 after the University failed to remove a warrant placed on him for violating several parking regulations. The student, ethnic studies junior Keenan Palmer, said he paid off the $955 warrant nine months ago.

Near the end of the spring 2013 semester, Palmer said he had received several parking tickets on campus before his car was booted. Palmer said he unsuccessfully attempted to remove the boot, which resulted in more fees from Parking and Transportation Services.

“I wasn’t really sure what the penalties were,” Palmer said. “I couldn’t pay all of the tickets I needed to pay at the time to have the boots removed, so the University actually ended up auctioning my car off.”

Jordan Metoyer, former Student Government chief of staff, said tampering with vehicle boots typically prompts PTS to contact the dean of students.

“For whatever reason, [PTS] decided not to contact the dean of students, and rather to place a warrant on the student, which never happens,” Metoyer said. “It is University policy and practice to immediately contact dean of students when something of that nature happens, so why that wasn’t the decision made is beyond me.”

Representatives from Parking and Transportation Services declined multiple requests for comment.

Palmer said he was able to pay the fees before registering for classes in the fall 2013 semester and assumed the warrant had been removed.

“As far as I knew, I had taken care of that,” Palmer said.

On Thursday, Palmer said he was pulled over by an Austin police officer because his passenger was not wearing a seatbelt, which eventually led to his arrest for an outstanding warrant.

“The officer came to the driver side door and said ‘please step out of your vehicle, we’re placing you under arrest for an outstanding warrant,’” Palmer said. “I wasn’t sure what he was talking about or what he was referring to.”

Palmer said he spent one night in jail before he was released on bail the following morning.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been arrested, first time ever getting into trouble, this is a totally new experience for me,” Palmer said. “My family is furious. My mother really thinks up to this point, the punishment has been excessive almost to the point of harassment because they auctioned off my car, I paid the fine and on top of that they also arrested me.”

Palmer said he received an email from PTS acknowledging an administrative error between PTS and UTPD that led to Palmer’s arrest. Palmer said he plans to work with an attorney to review PTS’s actions.

“We might have to hire two lawyers, one for the criminal case and one to review PTS’s conduct,” Palmer said.

UTPD spokeswoman Cindy Posey said the case is under investigation.

Palmer faces a Class B misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief and up to 180 days in jail, according to the Travis County Court Docket. Palmer is scheduled to appear before a county judge on May 23.

Student Government members are trying to increase student action against a city code change, proposed in November, which may further limit the number of students who can legally live together in a house.

If Austin City Council passes the change, the number of unrelated adults who may live together in duplexes and single-family houses would be reduced from six to four. These high-occupancy houses are also known as “stealth dorms.” The council approved the proposed change on its first reading — though the council must hear the change twice more before it is finalized — but suggested that an economic study be conducted to assess the proposed change’s impact on area housing affordability. The council will hear a second reading of the proposed amendment at its meeting Thursday.

The SG-city relations task force has been developing legislation against the proposal since the beginning of the semester, according to Jordan Metoyer, urban studies and economics senior who founded the task force. According to Metoyer, SG has attempted to educate students about the issue and increase their involvement in the city’s decision-making process. SG will pass a resolution against the change on Tuesday, said Metoyer.

“Students want to have a seat at the table about these decisions and policies that affect students for generations to come,” Metoyer said.

Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole said, because the proposed change has a potentially large impact on students, she will attend the SG meeting Tuesday to give students information and gather more student input.

“I had really felt like students had not had a voice in this discussion, and I thought that they should,” Cole said. 

Advertising senior Robert Svoboda created an online petition against the code change, which had more than 1,100 signatures as of Monday.

“We said that we’re [going to] get students on board with this issue, and there were students involved in this, but there wasn’t a unified media or even a Facebook group that was really capturing all of the stakeholders and voices that are being affected by this problem,” Svoboda said.

Svoboda, who is also part of the SG task force, said he regrets that SG did not garner student involvement earlier.

“This is something that has been talked about for a very long time,” Svoboda said. “It would have been more proactive for students to fight this and advocate on behalf of students earlier in the process because that could have really made a difference. It’s really come down to the last minute.”

Svoboda said he thinks apartment complexes are a better alternative to “stealth dorms” to solve the Austin housing affordability problem.

“Down the road, multi-family housing is probably more vital,” Svoboda said. “Putting more people on a piece of property is going to be more effective long-term.”

Photo Credit: Jack Mitts | Daily Texan Staff

With Student Government elections yielding low turnout in recent years — 14.9 percent of the student body voted in 2013 — campaigns often vie for endorsements from voting blocks to maximize their reach. An in-depth look at the organizational connections of the students registered to each executive alliance campaign this year help shows an identical path candidates are taking towards what they hope will be victory.

“Any organized student group — particularly a network of organized student groups — could be considered a ‘block,’” said Jordan Metoyer, an economics and urban studies senior who has worked on multiple SG campaigns and served as chief of staff in the 2012-2013 administration. “It is impossible to sit down for five minutes with all 50,000-plus students during the designated campaign period. To that end, it would be wise for candidates to tap into networks or individuals with large networks on campus.”

This is the first year that candidates have had to file a list of workers and agents that are affiliated with their campaigns. The Daily Texan contacted and researched 145 students who are noted as campaign agents or workers for the executive alliance teams: Kori Rady-Taylor Strickland and Kenton Wilson-Caroline Carter. There are almost 300 links between the two executive alliances and the various student organizations on campus, many of which overlap across campaigns. About 50 percent of the Rady-Stricklands responded to the Texan compared to about 37 percent of the Wilson-Carter team. The profiles for workers and agents who did not respond are filled out with publicly available information. In all, 37 of the 145 students are not accounted for.

Story continues after the interactive graphic.

Logos courtesy of campaign teams. Photos by Pu Ying Huang. Interactive by Bobby Blanchard and graphic by Jack Mitts. 

Workers and agents tend to be well connected to organizations that the candidates are aggressively pursuing, including multicultural and ethnic groups, spirit groups, SG and Greek organizations. Both campaign teams have more than 60 students listed as workers or agents — an increase from last year, when current SG president Horacio Villarreal said he had about 20 students helping him. Both Rady and Wilson also said they are expecting to be adding even more names to their campaign teams in the future. 

Twenty-two percent of the Rady-Strickland campaign team consists of members of a multicultural or ethnic group on campus, compared with 9 percent of the students in the Wilson-Carter campaign team — a pair that is running with ‘diversity training’ as one of its platform points.

“Our team is definitely pretty diverse,” Rady said. “We have spent a majority of our time making sure we go after students who have never voted in SG elections before. That’s the key.”

Rady-Strickland’s reach into multicultural and ethnic groups is wide, with multiple members in African-American and black student organizations, but, in other multicultural or ethnic groups, the Rady-Strickland campaign has just a single worker or agent. Wilson-Carter’s campaign, meanwhile, overwhelms Rady-Strickland’s campaign in connections to Texans For Israel and other Jewish groups on campus. Like Rady, Wilson said he is trying to reach as many groups on campus as possible. 

“Our agents and workers come from a variety of on campus organizations and different areas on campus, and that really reflects how we want to get more students involved,” Wilson said. “I’ve been able to see how a lot of the same problems effect different aspects of campus, and we’re reaching out trying to build coalitions to solve those problems.”

Both executive alliance campaign teams are more than 20 percent Greek and have another 15 percent of their team connected back to various spirit groups, though there is some overlap between the two groups. Rady and Wilson are both members of the Tejas Club, a group that calls itself an “independent fraternity.” Rady is also in Silver Spurs, while Wilson is in Texas Cowboys, both of which are spirit groups.

One of the major changes this year is a decision by the Interfraternity Council not to endorse a campaign team in 2014. The council is a community that represents 23 fraternity chapters, which accounts for more than 2,300 students. In the past few years, Interfraternity Council-backed president and vice-president teams have been much more likely to win. In the absence of the Interfraternity Council’s endorsement, connections and testimonials from other student organizations may mean more this year than before, and new heavyweight voter blocks have become potentially more influential. The council hosted a meeting Wednesday night inviting all candidates to come speak, and the council members sent out an email detailing candidates’ platforms.

In interviews, both Rady and Wilson said they felt the endorsements they would seek would help their campaigns but not make or break them.

“In the past, the IFC email was pretty important and carried a lot of weight,” Wilson said. “But I think it’s great what the IFC president and his team are doing — where they’re not going to send out a blanket email and they’re actually inviting all of us to go speak at the IFC meeting. We’ve all been given the chance to advocate for our position.”

While both teams will seek endorsements and support, Metoyer warned against assuming too much from just voter block information.

“None of this speculation can be conflated with hard science,” Metoyer said. “These assumptions are made year after year. It helps to have the support of influential campus organizations, but it is not a guarantee of success. When campaigns have attempted to ‘calculate’ the vote in the past, they found themselves unsuccessful.”

Jordan Metoyer, an economics and urban studies senior, is one of 62 scholars to be awarded the Harry S. Truman Scholarship this year. Metoyer will use the scholarship money to give back to her home community of Englewood, Calif. 

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

Relentless efforts to make a difference in the community and improve University conditions for the student body is Jordan Metoyer’s passion. And now as a recipient of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, Metoyer plans to give back to her community in Inglewood, Calif. as a public servant. 

Metoyer, a third-year economics and urban studies student, is one of 62 scholars among 629 candidates nominated from colleges and universities to be awarded the prestigious scholarship. The scholarship is a competitive national-merit based scholarship that provides up to $30,000 to students pursuing graduate degrees, as well as leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, special internship opportunities and priority admission at several premier graduate institutions.

Metoyer said she will participate in the Archer Fellowship Program next semester in Washington, D.C. after volunteering at the Dandelion School in Beijing, China and at a public interest law firm in San Francisco this summer.

“This award means the world to me,” Metoyer said. “I will be a part of a family of visionary leaders committed to solving the nation’s leading issues — a difficult task in a time of striking polarization and inequality.”

Metoyer said after completion of a graduate program in public policy, she will work in Inglewood, Calif., as a community organizer to help low-income and at-risk youth before serving in local office.

Larry Carver, director of Liberal Arts Honors and Humanities Programs, said Metoyer is the 19th UT recipient of the Truman Scholarship since 1993.

“She is extraordinary,” Carver said. “She has done so much from helping to found Orange Outreach, an organization that networks with local nonprofits to provide students with volunteer opportunities, to developing her own parent outreach initiative that works to employ parents in public schools through the federal parent fund. She’s a force, she’s just lovely and she’s a terrific person.”

Metoyer said during her time at UT she has been involved with Student Government, serving as chief of staff of the executive committee, director of Diversity and Inclusion Agency and a Longhorn legislative aide.

Thor Lund, who was the Student Government president while Metoyer was chief of staff, said he had no doubt Metoyer would receive the scholarship.

“I think anyone who spends time with her will immediately realize that she stands out from the rest,” Lund said. “I think it’s a great accomplishment and one of the many more that she will have throughout her lifetime.”

Printed on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 as UT student wins Truman scholarship 

UT senior Jordan Metoyer receives Truman Scholarship

Jordan Metoyer, an economics and urban studies senior, is one of 62 students nationwide to become a Truman Scholar, Wednesday.

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Fund awards select college juniors up to $30,000 to support graduate study and leadership training as well as spur careers in government, the nonprofit sectors or education. More than 900 students applied and Metoyer was one of two finalists from UT. Metoyer is a third year student, but a senior by credit hours.

“Looking at my personal experiences, my academic interests and what I hope to accomplish, the Truman scholarship will give me the tools and a network that I need to ensure social mobility for everyone,” Metoyer said. “This is an incredible honor.”

Metoyer said she hopes to impact local politics and wants to study public policy at the graduate level.

“I’m going to look at the issues that are at the nexus of poverty, education and affordable housing,” Metoyer said. “Growing up I saw how low income families were disproportionately affected by predatory home loans and the financial crisis of 2008, including my family.”

The foundation was established by the U.S. Congress in 1975, in honor of the country’s thirty-third president. Since then, 2,906 scholars have been selected.

This article was corrected after its original posting. Metoyer is a third-year student but a senior by credit hours.