Snehal Shingavi

Students, faculty and members of the community gathered at the candlelight vigil organized by the Nepali Students Association on Wednesday night.
Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

The Nepali Students Association held a vigil Wednesday night at Gregory Plaza to express solidarity with those suffering in Nepal after the recent earthquake. 

Students gathered to remember the thousands who died Saturday in the devastating earthquake that hit Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, and surrounding regions.

The program began with the Nepali national anthem, and numerous candles lit up the steps leading into Gregory Gymnasium. Professors and students shared personal stories of their experiences during the earthquake, including engineering senior Santona Pandey, who was in Nepal at the time.

“It still feels like a nightmare,” Pandey said. “I rushed down from the fourth floor to save myself, but I realized that I could never make it. I stayed back, clinging to the door frame.”

Pandey said, as she reflects on the earthquake’s damage, what hurts the most is the constant reminder of her survival while countless others died beneath the debris of towns that no longer exist.

“I’m saved, my family is saved, but I’m not happy because thousands of people are still dying,” Pandey said.

Snehal Shingavi, an English assistant professor who was involved in aiding the Haiti earthquake victims in 2010, said Nepal can either rise from this tragedy by fixing economic problems that increased the gravity of the damage or fall into a trap leaders seeking to exploit the situation set.

“This has the potential of becoming an even worse disaster if the social conditions in Nepal allow this sort of suffering to continue,” Shingavi said. “The process of this becoming something hopeful depends on people caring about what happens in Nepal for at least another year.”

Niranjan Kc, biology junior and president of Nepali Students Association, said he has faith that current relief efforts will have a lasting positive effect on the people of Nepal.

“Even though this disaster is happening, we are staying united; we’re doing what we can,” Kc said. “We will rise out of this. This will bring a social change in Nepal. I hope that it’s for the good.”

Heather Hindman, an Asian studies and anthropology associate professor who has done extensive research on Nepal, said the earthquake can be a defining moment for the small, yet resilient nation.

“I’ve seen neighbors come together and say, ‘Hey, we need a car to drive out to Sankhu to see if we can rescue anybody,’” Hindman said. “The entire country of Nepal is mobilized right now. … It’s the youth that will turn this phenomenon into a tragedy — but not a disaster.”

Professor Barbara Harlow and Professor Snehal Shingavi speak on the similarities between Ferguson, Missouri and Gaza, Palestine.

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

The Palestine Solidarity Committee held a panel discussion on campus Wednesday, in which professors and students discussed the links between oppression in Ferguson, Missouri, and Gaza. 

During the event, which was co-sponsored by the Association of Black Psychologists and the Pre-Law National Black Law Students Association, assistant English professor Snehal Shingavi said the purpose of the event was to highlight the connections between the conflict in Gaza and Ferguson after police broke up protests over the shooting of African-American teen Michael Brown. 

“That would be the presence of massive militarized forces in dense urban settings and unarmed people fighting back with rocks and sticks against it,” Shingavi said. 

Elan Kogutt, co-president of Texans for Israel, criticized the event in an email as it was held at the start of Rosh Hashanah and said no members of Texans for Israel were in attendance. 

“Rosh Hashanah is a time for reflection and goal-setting for the coming year,” Kogutt said. “Rather than bringing our two communities closer to peace, this event serves as a regressive step away from dialogue and education, comparing two very distinct instances and failing to acknowledge the loss of innocent Israeli life and suffering of millions of Israelis under rocket fire this summer.”

Mohammed Nabulsi, first year law student and member of the committee, said his organization was not aware that Rosh Hashanah was that night and that the scheduling was not intentional. 

“We don’t plan our activities around holidays,” Nabulsi said. “As far as the Texans for Israel goes, the problem that the Palestine Solidarity Committee has with groups like this is that the ideology that they operate under is Zionism, and we can’t work with Zionism.”

Nabulsi said he thought the reason the struggles had been linked by both Palestinians and people of Ferguson is that they see a common humanity. 

“I think the most important thing said tonight is that the struggles for both Palestinian rights in Palestine and Israel and the struggle for rights of people of color in the U.S. are commonly linked by the fact that we are all human,” Nabulsi said. 

During the discussion, Shingavi said he was not arguing that the situations in Palestine and Ferguson were identical, but he wanted to discuss activism using the analytic tools of an academic context. 

“What I am going to be arguing is that if you are outraged by what the police did in Ferguson, you might want to get a closer look at what routinely happens in Palestine,” Shingavi said.

This article has been updated since its original publication.

Assistant professor Snehal Shingavi and author Rahul Mahajan discuss the rise of religious nationalism in the context of the upcoming 2014 election in India at the Belo Center for New Media on Tuesday night.

Photo Credit: Mengwen Cao | Daily Texan Staff

A student organization hosted a discussion Tuesday night on the upcoming 2014 elections in India and its current political atmosphere, featuring English assistant professor Snehal Shingavi and author Rahul Mahajan. 

The talk, “Is Intolerance on the Rise in India?,” was put on by the Azad Forum for Social Justice, an organization centered on raising awareness about politics in South Asia. Journalism professor Robert Jensen, who moderated the talk, said it was an opportunity to learn about another part of the world and get an understanding of how U.S. trends affect other areas.

“In the United States, there’s been a growth and appreciation of diversity and multiculturalism along with the need to be tolerant,” Jensen said. “But often tolerance is used as a defense against critical thinking and engagement. I think this notion of tolerance without critique is very dangerous, and that’s what we’re here to do tonight.”

Narendra Modi is the prime ministerial candidate for the Bharatiya Janata Party, but he is surrounded by controversy because of his alleged involvement in massacres of Muslims in India, according to Mahajan. Mahajan said Modi has not been held accountable for his involvement in the massacres in the 12 years since they occurred.

“It’s quite a remarkable thing — a politician who is deeply involved in a series of massacres that probably claimed 2000 lives, and then, later in 2002, essentially campaigns on the basis of the massacres,” Mahajan said. “The problem with figuring out all of the details of this is that the investigations were done in a context where [those questioned] were subject to large amounts of coercion.” 

The latest polls show Modi is headed toward a victory in the upcoming election, Mahajan said. 

In order to add context to Modi’s candidacy, Shingavi said Hindutva, an invented phenomenon meant to revitalize the Hindu religion and culture, is associated with the massacres.

Parvathy Prem, an aerospace engineering graduate student, said she came to fully understand the progression that led to the current state in India and get opinions on the matter, as she has thought a lot about the matter in the last few months.

“As an Indian, I think the upcoming elections are hugely important,” Prem said. “I also thought it was interesting that both speakers thought the way to go about fighting communalism is going about economic change.”

 

Clarification: This story has been updated from its original version. Hindutva, an invented phenomenon meant to revitalize the Hindu religion and culture, is associated with the massacres.

English Assistant Professor Snehal Shingavi said even without a shred of evidence, a majority of people in the United States believed the explosions that took place at the Boston Marathon were the result of Muslims.

Texas Amnesty International invited Shingavi to speak at a rally intended to raise awareness for and petition against American drone strikes Tuesday evening, although he took the opportunity to briefly discuss the related topic of Monday’s Boston bombing. While Shingavi exposed the human rights violations of drone victims, he also said anti-war activists have to engage in honest dialogue about why these drone strikes happen and talk about what kind of political movement is required for change.

“The idea of Islamaphobia has become so pervasive that even before we know what’s happening,” Shingavi said. “The kind of ideology is that Islam is the enemy and Islam is violent and therefore everything that is done is justifiable.” 

Shingavi also said drone strikes not only destroy life in Afghanistan and Pakistan, they actually deplete resources in the United States.

"Everything that’s used to destroy lives there is money taken away from building here that can be useful for life,” Shingavi said. “That’s a very useful way to think about drone strikes.”

According to Ayesha Akbar, president of Texas Amnesty International, drone strikes have killed 2,000 civilians and 200 of them have been children. Akbar read three personal accounts from the Middle East of those personally affected by drone strikes. The victims who wrote the accounts said the expectation of potential drone strikes causes them to live in fear.

“These stories [show that many Americans] don’t realize how personal … of an issue and how deeply [a drone strike] affects those that lose loved ones,” Akbar said.

Amnesty International is the world’s largest grassroots organization with more than 150 countries and 3 million members, according to international relations and global studies sophomore Rachel Sullivan.  

Following Shingavi’s mini lecture, three students, Elijah Allred, Charles Stephens and Joseph Flores performed slam poetry on their feelings about United States foreign policy and the topic of drone strikes.

Aerospace engineering sophomore Katie Vlasoff attended the event because she said she wanted to see her friend perform poetry. Vlasoff said she thought the topic was very interesting especially because it’s very easy for people in the United States to feel disconnected from the issue.

“The disconnect is not only because it happens in countries so far away with people that we already alienate but also because it’s made to make you feel disconnected,” Vlasoff said. “No human can say that I pulled the trigger, and so it’s a dispersal of the responsibility and the dispersal of the ethical problems that fall when you are taking away lives.”  

Citizens participate in a march organized by the Texas State Employees Union that was held to raise awareness of proposed privatization and cut backs on university services at the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Emily Ng | Daily Texan Staff

International Socialist Organization members, students and staff marched to the Capitol today in protest of previous University budget cuts, as well as cuts proposed in a report that might privatize and cut back on university services.

The march, organized to show solidarity with the Texas State Employees Union, joined about 1,000 union members from across the state to march around the Capitol, lobby their legislators and demand a higher pay raise.

“We’re here to bring attention to the privatization push that Powers and the regents are doing,” history and nursing junior Ije Uche said. “There’s no reason for us to cut programs that we’re cutting … [and] if we need more revenue, we can tax businesses 1 percent.”

Uche said given the contribution UT makes to businesses by training their workers, her proposed tax does not seem unreasonable to her. 

English professor Snehal Shingavi said the cuts do not suit the mission of the university.

“This is not only a bad way of keeping the quality of higher education up, it’s also pretty bad for the people whose jobs are being sacrificed,” Shingavi said.

Shingavi also criticized UT President William Powers Jr.’s suggestion that natural attrition could help ease any cuts to worker numbers by allowing cutbacks without firings.

“What it’s meant in the Center for Asian American studies where I worked, people had to leave either for medical reasons or because they got other job offers,” Shingavi said. “We’re basically down to half a staff person.”

At press time, UT Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Kevin Hegarty said system administrators have not yet planned which parts of the ‘Smarter Systems for a Greater UT’ report, which will cost the University $960,000, will be implemented. Hegarty said committees will be formed to establish timelines and recommendations based on the report in the coming months.

“I am not sure what someone would be protesting given that nothing has been decided,” Hegarty said. 

Shingavi said if the time does come for cuts, he hopes the University finds a better way than raising prices and cutting back on services.

“It’s already expensive to go to school here, tuition is already high,” Shingavi said. “Because this model is being imposed on higher education it has nothing to do with the quality of education here.”

On Monday, I was shocked. An advertisement appeared in this newspaper that explicitly espoused the hatred of Muslims. The bold letters and graphic imagery betrayed the morbid intent of its sponsor, the David Horowitz Freedom Center. My biggest fear as a Muslim prevailed at last: Islamophobia surges again. Neither the statements of outrage from fellow Longhorns nor the statement made by the editor-in-chief who voted against the ad can appease me. That the publication of the advertisement was sanctioned by individuals at Texas Student Media goes to show that the roots of racism still course through the veins of far too many UT students.

Given the newspaper’s recent budget cuts, I wondered whether the decision to run the ad was made out of TSM’s desperation to increase its income. But how could even such dire financial straits justify the violent and hateful full-page advertisement?

As a student-run publication, The Daily Texan cannot jeopardize Muslims’ right to security in the name of free speech. The ad perpetuated societal stereotypes against us, portraying us as abusers, terrorists and worse.

Snehal Shingavi, an assistant professor in the Asian American Studies department who taught a “Literature of Islamophobia” class last semester, said that the individuals depicted in the advertisement are intentionally framed in a way to demonize Islam. He elaborates that those cases are mostly personal and none of them has direct association to the Islamic religion itself. For example, many Pakistanis protested in support of Rimsha Masih, a 14-year-old Christian girl who was accused of burning the pages from the Quran, when her case went to trial. Masih, who was featured in Monday’s ad, was later released after it was determined that she was framed by a local cleric.

Unfortunately, this was not the first time that such offensive ads have been sanctioned for publication in The Daily Texan. Mr. Shingavi recalled seeing other ads that bore similar sentiment against Muslims published in the newspaper in previous years. He said the publication of those ads was immediately followed by protests and rallies by the students, and even though Texas Student Media has purportedly made efforts at racial sensitivity training to prevent this issue from occurring in the future, the appearance of Monday’s ad suggests that these efforts have been inadequate or ineffective.

Texas Student Media clearly made a lapse in ethical judgment when it sanctioned the publication of such ads. The Daily Texan should establish a guideline that prevents the publication of ads containing any sentiment of racism. The hatred such advertisements convey toward Islam is denigrating and has no place in a student-run newspaper.

Syairah is an economics sophomore from Rawang, Malaysia.

English associate professor Snehal Shingavi opened his class, Literature of Islamophobia, to the public Monday in response to the UT Police Department’s initial statement during Friday’s bomb threat.

At least eight students who are not regularly in the class sat in, Shingavi said Monday afternoon. Shingavi said racial bias against Muslim or Arabic students could have resulted from UTPD’s description of the man who called in the hoax bomb threat Friday as having a “Middle Eastern accent.” Shingavi said he was also concerned that UTPD decided to release the information that the caller claimed to be involved with al-Qaida.

“These are not helpful descriptors,” Shingavi said. “The most harrowing bit about that story is not that they released the actual accent itself, it was that there was no other information about the guy.”

Shingavi also opened his office to students who felt any racial bias or hate after Friday’s incident. He said he was thankful he had seen no racial bias and no one had visited him.

UT Vice President of Student Affairs Gage Paine said she understands the concerns.

“It’s a difficult question and a legitimate issue,” she said. “You try to minimize and be sensitive about stepping on people’s toes, but I have no idea how they got to the decision to release the description.”

She said the most important thing in an emergency situation is safety, but she said issues that arose from releasing a description of the caller’s accent are part of learning how to handle an emergency situation.

Paine said UT administrators, UTPD and other entities involved in responding to threats to campus safety would discuss the description they released during a debriefing meeting Monday morning. Tara Doolittle, a UT spokesperson, said none of the information covered during the debriefing could be released, because it might interfere with the ongoing investigation.

On Friday, UTPD chief Robert Dahlstrom stood by the decision to release the description.

Shingavi said while other reactions to the bomb threat were possible, the University’s response was sensational and inflammatory. A fake audio recording of the call spread via Facebook and Twitter. The fake audio recording claims the caller’s name is Mohammed.

“It is a product of some of the thoughtlessness and laziness of University administrators to think that such information would not have consequences,” Shingavi said.

Initially, when UTPD released the description of the caller, The Daily Texan, the Austin-American Statesman and other news outlets published the statement in full. Journalism professor Bob Jensen, who teaches a media law and ethics course, said news outlets should have waited until they had context before publishing information about the caller’s accent.

“In a context when news is spreading that someone of Middle Eastern descent is calling in a bomb threat and there is potential of reactions, especially violent reactions, in a community, then that’s really quite troubling,” Jensen said.

Jensen said he sympathizes with journalists working in the “heat of the moment,” but he said he thinks news organizations should create a policy for publishing information that is possibly irrelevant and inflammatory.

Wanda Cash, the School of Journalism’s associate director, said it is typical for law enforcement to release this kind of information, but that does not mean journalists should report it if it does not advance the story.

“If the person who called in the bomb hoax identifies themselves as being part of al-Qaida, that’s enough,” Cash said. “I don’t think we have to characterize that person as having a slight Middle Eastern accent because I don’t know what that means. I couldn’t differentiate and I don’t think most people could.”

UT President William Powers Jr. addressed Friday’s bomb hoax at the year’s first Faculty Council meeting Monday. He did not mention the decision to describe the caller’s accent as Middle Eastern.

Printed on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 as: Description of hoax caller raises converns over bias

UT community members have raised concerns of racial bias in the UT Police Department’s description of the man behind a false bomb threat to the UT campus, and UTPD is standing behind its decision to release the information.

During the response to the threat, which included a campus-wide evacuation, UT Police Department officers released a statement saying the caller was a man with a Middle Eastern accent who said he was affiliated with al-Qaida. A source close to the situation, who asked not to be named because of the confidential information provided, said UTPD asked UT employees what the caller sounded like and if he had an accent. Employees told UTPD the caller had a “light Middle Eastern accent.”

The call came through the University’s general phone line at 8:35 a.m., according to the source. The caller told an employee he was not a UT student, and bombs on campus were going to go off in one to two hours.

“The caller said he was calling from a phone booth in Austin, but the number didn’t have a 512 area code,” the source said.

The caller would not say what building the bombs were in, the source said. The caller remained on the phone for more than 10 minutes while UT employees notified UTPD of the call. Police arrived shortly after the caller hung up, the source said.

A UTPD spokesperson said they received notice of the call at 8:43 a.m. The University issued its first emergency notification at 9:53 a.m. via text message to 69,000 people.

The source said UTPD questioned employees and began their investigation immediately. The source was told by a UTPD officer they needed to thoroughly investigate the phone call before panicking students because most bomb threats are “bottomless.”

English professor Snehal Shingavi said it was possible Arab or Muslim students would face bias or discrimination because of the University’s statement. Shingavi said he does not see why the University needed to release information regarding the caller’s accent. Through Twitter, he invited students to come to his class on Islamophobia. His class meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 2:00 p.m. in Parlin Hall 206.

During the evacuation, Shingavi tweeted, “All Muslim students at UT, please be safe, and come to my office or contact me if you face any bias or hate or need any support.”

“I want students to know they have access to faculty to help them deal with discrimination and bias they may face on campus,” Shingavi said after the campus had been reopened.

Michael Redding, president of the Graduate Student Assembly and Texas Student Media contracted employee, said he has completed training for bomb threat response and understands why the caller’s accent is important information to collect as part of an investigation.

“You’re trained to pick up on context clues in that kind of situation,” Redding said. “In light of what’s going on internationally, someone saying they are affiliated with al-Qaida with a Middle Eastern accent may be more credible. You can’t ignore any detail that can be relevant to an investigation, but the decision to release the information is kind of splitting hairs.”

Redding said he was not sure about the thought process behind releasing the description.

UTPD chief Robert Dahlstrom said the department released the description in anticipation of requests from the public.

“If we hadn’t put that out, we would be getting questions to release that information,” Dahlstrom said.  

He said asking for a description of a caller’s voice is a standard response procedure.

Initial bomb threat update from University raises concerns about racial bias

UT community members have raised concerns of racial bias in the UT Police Department’s description of the man behind a false bomb threat to the UT campus Friday morning, and UTPD is standing behind its decision to release the information.  

During the response to the threat, which included the evacuation of thousands of students, faculty and staff from all campus buildings, UT Police Department officers released a statement saying the caller was a man with a Middle Eastern accent who said he was affiliated with Al Qaeda. A source close to the situation said UTPD asked UT employees what the caller sounded like and if he had an accent. Employees told UTPD the caller had a light Middle Eastern accent.

The call came through the University’s general phone line at 8:30 a.m., according to the source. The caller told an employee he was not a UT student, and there were bombs on campus going off in one to two hours.

“The caller said he was calling from a phone booth in Austin, but the number didn’t have a 512 area code,” the source said.

The caller would not say what building the bomb was in, the source said. The caller remained on the phone for more than 10 minutes while UT employees notified UTPD of the call. Police arrived shortly after the caller hung up, the source said.

A UTPD spokesperson said they received notice of the call at 8:43 a.m. The University issued its first emergency notification at 9:53 a.m. via text message to 69,000 people.

The source said UTPD questioned employees and began their investigation immediately. The source was told by a UTPD officer they needed to thoroughly investigate the phone call before panicking students because most bomb threats are “bottomless.”

Associate English professor Snehal Shingavi said the description of the caller provided in the Universtiy statement could cause bias or discrimination toward Arab or Muslim students. Shingavi said he does not see why the University needed to release information regarding the caller’s accent.

During the evacuation, Shingavi tweeted, “All Muslim students at UT, please be safe, and come to my office or contact me if you face any bias or hate or need any support.”

“I want students to know they have access to faculty to help them deal with discrimination and bias they may face on campus,” Shingavi said after the campus had been reopened.

UTPD Chief Robert E. Dahlstrom said they released the description in anticipation of requests from the public.

“If we hadn’t put that out, we would be getting questions to release that information,” he said. “In a situation like this, we try to find out as much as we can about the person behind a bomb threat.” 

Dahlstrom said asking for a description of a caller’s voice is part of the department’s standard response procedures. 

The UT Faculty Council passed a unanimous resolution of support for President William Powers Jr. at a special meeting Monday. This is one of the many demonstrations of support Powers has received since rumors of his termination surfaced.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Updated on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 4:29 p.m.

On the heels of a recent blog post claiming the UT System Board of Regents plans to fire President William Powers Jr., the Faculty Council passed a resolution supporting the president and his administration Monday.

More than 300 faculty, students and members of the UT community attended the special meeting in the packed beyond capacity room, and the resolution passed with 45 in favor, no objections and one abstention.

The vote of support is one of many Powers has received in the last few days after a blog post by Paul Burka, a Texas Monthly executive editor, on the publication’s website. Burka, citing an anonymous source, reported Powers was getting fired for voicing his disappointment over the regents' failure to adopt his tuition recommendations.

Powers has also received support from the official UT alumni organization Texas Exes as well as the three legislative student organizations on campus.

At the meeting, Powers said he was thankful for the support he has received and affirmed UT has the most wonderful faculty, students and staff. He also said leadership at the University is crucial.

“I plan to be around [next fall],” Powers said. “It’s sometimes a challenging job but it’s a rewarding job. These are challenging times for higher education across the state.”

Although Powers said there were some rumors he would try to address, he did not address Burka's allegations over his termination.

English professor Snehal Shingavi was the only member who abstained from voting at the meeting. Shingavi said it was dangerous for the faculty’s support of Powers to be coupled with tuition increases.

“There is an unfortunate narrative in Texas that presents faculty as living off the fat of tuition,” Shingavi said. “It’s important not to connect these two. I abstained from voting because I understood the importance of having a unified vote.”

In his December proposal to the board, Powers recommended a 2.6 percent tuition increase for resident undergraduates and a 3.6 percent increase to all other students. The board, which has been charged with setting tuition since 2004, chose to modify rather than adopt Powers’ recommendations. It rejected the 2.6 percent increase on in-state undergraduate tuition for two years and instead opted to freeze tuition.

Shingavi said having separate resolutions on tuition increases and the support for Powers would have been easier to consider, but that he still does not know if he would have voted in favor of it.

Ethnic studies senior Lucian Villasenor spoke out against the resolution at the meeting and said many students who attended the Tuition Policy Advisory Committee meetings last year were against tuition increases. Villasenor said he does not think sending Powers to advocate for more funding from the Texas Legislature will be a successful strategy.

“The solution is not going to come from the UT administration,” Villasenor said. “We need to tell the regents we’re not going to play these political games.”

Burka also attended the meeting and said he stands by what he wrote in his blog last Wednesday. He said the temperature was hot when he first published his findings and the situation has cooled down at the moment.

“I think everyone needs to remember that if [Gov. Rick Perry] is going to involve himself in the decisions that belong to administration, it will hurt the reputation and academic stature of UT,” Burka said. “If, for example, President Powers would lose his job, I think it would be a black eye on UT and would damage administration and faculty recruitment for years to come.”

Last week, a spokeswoman for Perry said the governor has had no involvement in plans to fire Powers. According to The Texas Tribune, Perry's Chief of Staff Jeff Boyd sent an email in March to Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and Board Chairman Gene Powell expressing his opposition to any tuition increase and his belief UT should be able to find priority funding through other inefficiencies.

Perry appointed all current regents. 

Burka also said if the regents chose to fire Powers, then the response would be similar to when regents fired UT President Homer Rainey in 1944 after he spoke of his grievances against them. Although some believe the regents fired Rainey for his disagreement, they did not cite an official reason. In response to Rainey’s firing, the American Association of University Professors, as well as other higher education organizations, censored UT for 10 years to discourage higher education professionals from working at the University.

Faculty Council chairman Alan Friedman said he was delighted to see the outpouring of support for Powers at the meeting, and the number of people attending was unprecedented. He said although there were some people who did not support the resolution present, the majority was almost entirely in support of Powers.

“The regents and the chancellor need to know about what happened and need to be very cautious about taking any steps regarding this campus,” Friedman said. “UT would take any unilateral action at the president as an attack.”

After the meeting, the presidents of the Senate of College Councils, Student Government and the Graduate Student Assembly delivered a letter to the UT System office affirming their support of Powers.

“We will always fight against changes that could damage our institution,” the letter read. “While we respect the Board of Regents’ ability to make leadership changes, the students at UT-Austin have made it perfectly clear where they stand. We stand with President Powers.”

The students from the three legislative student organizations launched a postcard campaign over the weekend in support of Powers and will continue to gather signatures for the campaign this week.