Fisher

In this week's editorial podcast, Associate Editors Noah M. Horwitz and Amanda Voeller discuss Gov.-elect Greg Abbott's nominee for Secretary of State, the mayoral election and the Fisher v. Texas case.

In this podcast, Jacob Kerr and Amanda Voeller discuss the news and events surrounding President William Powers Jr.'s resignation on July 9. They also talk about the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision on the Fisher v. UT case and candidates toreplace Francisco Cigarroa as UT System chancellor.

Over the past 40 years, snacking among children has risen significantly, according to Jennifer Fisher, Temple University public health associate professor, who spoke about her findings at a University talk on Friday. 

Fisher said it is unclear what impact increased snacking has on children’s nutrition. She said family is important not only because they provide the food children are eating, but because they’re also acting as models of eating.

“When we think about appetite, for instance, and appetite over the course of development, we think about children as having genetic potential or a set of predispositions, but then we also think about the developmental history as well as the experience that children accrue in their environments,” Fisher said. “We think that this learning can have everything to do with how children learn to detect hunger and fullness, to when they should start to eat, to when they should stop eating.”

Fisher said the data she has collected suggests that kids are consuming a significant proportion of energy from snacks.

“It’s still debatable how snacks factor in overall to kids’ nutritional needs, whether they work more for good or are problematic,” Fisher said.

Fisher said the solid fats and added sugars that come in a lot of snacks tend to fill children up and, therefore, decrease the likelihood that children will get all the nutrition they need.

“As far as parenting goes, what we’ve learned is that snacks are offered for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with nutrition,” Fisher said. “And a lot of those foods are high in solid fats and added sugars.”

Nutritional sciences assistant professor Jaimie Davis said she was very excited to have Fisher come talk at UT because she had been an inspiration to her when she heard her speak at a conference over 10 years ago.

“She was up there, and I was listening to her amazing research, and I was like ‘Oh my gosh, you can do it all: have a family and be a great researcher,’” Davis said. 

Nutrition junior Vanessa Beltran said she thinks the study of childhood snacking trends is important because teaching good eating habits early in life can often prevent problems like obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

“[Snacking involves] more input of energy, and having an unequal energy balance where a lot more energy is being taken in than put out obviously influences [obesity],” Beltran said. “With more eating and less physical activity, which is also a trend that we’ve seen, all these extra things children are eating make a big difference.”

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

The Faculty Council approved an update to the core curriculum course list for the 2014-2016 undergraduate catalog and discussed the Fisher v. Texas case and land development plans at its meeting Monday. 

All undergraduate students will continue to take 42 hours of required core curriculum, with specific course changes within select areas of study. The list of proposed changes to the course list will be applied in the 2014-2016 Undergraduate Catalog. The core curriculum courses are re-evaluated every two years. 

Brent Iverson, dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies, said the core curriculum is updated and maintained largely as a result of efforts made by the Faculty Council. 

“In a restricted environment, like we are now, one can imagine that there might be a natural tendency to pull away from the core curriculum,” Iverson said. “Moving into the future, I am anticipating that I will require your support once again to make sure that these advances continue to move forward.”

President William Powers Jr. spoke at the meeting about the Fisher v. Texas case argued in front of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals last week. Powers said he supported the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the principles determined in Grutter v. Bollinger, a 2003 case that established the constitutionality of affirmative action.

“We’re very gratified that the Supreme Court did not change that, but reaffirmed the principles of Grutter,” Powers said. “The 5th Circuit had its argument early last week — I was there. Our lawyers who argued the Grutter case, I thought, did an extremely good job of articulating our position.”

Powers also commented on the master development of about 109 acres of land near the J.J. Pickle Research Campus to be used for “commercial development purposes” approved by the UT System’s Board of Regents at its meeting Thursday.

Powers said the University requested the board’s approval for leasing the land — located at the corner of West Braker Lane and the North MoPac Expressway — to Hines, a Houston-based real estate company selected to develop the land.

“When the Pickle tract first came to the University, I think it was federal land that got deeded over to the University, even the part to the east of MoPac well outstretched our projections well into the future of what we would need,” Powers said. “I think this is clearly in the interests of the University.”

Kevin Hegarty, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the University land was competitively bid. Hegarty said following negotiations with Hines, the University will play a key role in determining the commercial land development. 

Hegarty said the University will spend the next several months negotiating an agreement with Hines, but it would take a minimum of 10 years to fully develop the land.

“In the end, it would be commercial office buildings with probably some upscale residential apartments and some restaurants to support the people that live there as well as support the office traffic that you’ll have,” Hegarty said. “What we hope is that the people that will want to come in and inhabit those buildings will, in many cases, have companion interest to the kind of research that happens on the Pickle tract.”

In this week's The Daily Texan Podcast, Bobby Blanchard, Christine Ayala and Jordan Rudner discuss the latest ongoing developments in the Wallace Hall committee hearings. They also talk about Christine's in-depth look at alumni tickets and an update on The Fisher v. Texas hearings. Listen to the podcast below:

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas earlier this year, officials from the Obama administration affirmed the validity of using race as a factor in determining university admissions in a letter addressed to university presidents across the country on Friday.

 

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Fisher case, officials from the Education and Justice departments said colleges and universities within the United States can continue to use race as a factor in their admission policies only if it is necessary for achieving diversity.

 

“The Court preserved the well-established legal principle that colleges and universities have a compelling interest in achieving the educational benefits that flow from a racially and ethnically diverse student body and can lawfully pursue that interest in their admissions programs,” the letter said.

 

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that the Fifth Circuit Court did not apply strict scrutiny to UT’s admission policy, which does use race as a factor, and sent the case back to the appeals court. The Court’s decision in the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger case allowed universities and colleges in the United States to use race as a factor, only if no other race-neutral means of achieving diversity goals were viable.

 

UT law professor Lino Graglia, who specializes in racial discrimination and affirmative action among other topics, said the Obama administration sent the letter because the Fisher decision has opened the door for admissions policies to be further scrutinized.

 

“The Grutter case said that diversity is a compelling interest. What the Fisher case did is cast some skepticism on that,” Graglia said. “They haven’t disallowed racial preferences [in university admissions], but they certainly invited litigation.”

 

In an email to The Daily Texan last week, Edward Blum, director of the Project for Fair Representation, said in sending the case back to the Fifth Circuit, the Supreme Court ruled in plaintiff Abigail Fisher’s favor. His organization has represented Fisher during the case’s progression through the legal system.

 

“Abby Fisher never asked the Court to overturn Grutter. We only asked that Grutter be applied properly by UT,” Blum wrote in his email. “The Court agreed with us 7-1. We won; UT lost; the Fifth Circuit was wrong in their decision and analysis and the justices vacated the opinion.”

 

Fisher sued the University in 2008 after she was denied admission into the University. Fisher, who has since graduated from Louisiana State University, claimed UT violated her right to equal protection because its admissions policy considers race as a factor for students who do not automatically qualify under the Top 10 Percent Law.

 

Although the Supreme Court sent the case to a lower court so UT’s admissions policy might be looked at more closely, Graglia said the Fisher decision did not overturn the Grutter ruling.

 

“The Fisher decision does not go as far as the opponents of affirmative action want,” Graglia said. “That is, it doesn’t say that considering race in admissions is unconstitutional.”

 

UT spokesman Gary Susswein did not comment on the letter but said the University is confident in its admissions policy.

 

The Fifth Circuit Court is scheduled to hear the Fisher case again on Nov. 13.

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin earlier this year, officials from the Obama administration affirmed the use of race as a factor in determining university admissions.

In a letter addressed to university presidents across the country, representatives of the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice said on Friday that their departments strongly support diversity in higher education. 

“The Court preserved the well-established legal principle that colleges and universities have a compelling interest in achieving the educational benefits that flow from a racially and ethnically diverse student body and can lawfully pursue that interest in their admissions programs,” officials said in the letter.

With the Fisher decision, the officials from the education and justice departments said colleges and universities in the U.S. can continue to use race as a factor in their admissions policies if it is necessary for diversity on campus. Representatives also released a document detailing answers to prominent questions about the decision’s impact on admissions.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled the Fifth Circuit Court did not apply strict scrutiny to UT’s admission policy and sent the case back to the appeals court. 

Law professor Lino Graglia said the Obama administration sent the letter because the Fisher decision has opened the door for college admissions policies to be further scrutinized. Graglia mentioned the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger case, which allowed universities and colleges in the U.S. to use race as a factor, but required there be no other race-neutral means of achieving diversity goals.

“The Grutter case said that diversity is a compelling interest,” Graglia said. “What the Fisher case did is cast some skepticism on that. They haven’t disallowed racial preferences [in university admissions], but they certainly invited litigation.”

The Fifth Circuit Court is scheduled to hear the Fisher case again on Nov. 13.

Photo Credit: Emily Ng | Daily Texan Staff

In the last Daily Texan Podcast of the summer, Bobby Blanchard, Christine Ayala, Jody Serrano and special guest Sara Beth Purdy recap the summer's two biggest stories: abortion legislation and Fisher v. Texas. They also preview the upcoming football season, relying on Sara Beth Purdy's expertise as The Daily Texan's sports editor, and ask the question on everyone's mind: "Will there be glory?"

You can listen to the podcast above, download it here or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. 

UT President William Powers Jr. addresses reporters at a press conference following a Supreme Court announcement on Fisher v. Texas.

Photo Credit: Emily Ng | Daily Texan Staff

In this podcast, Bobby Blanchard, Christine Ayala and special guest Andrew Messamore speak about the recent controversies at the State Capitol regarding abortion legislation. The also talk about the recent Supreme Court decision on Fisher v. Texas. Recorded June 28, 2013.

You can listen to the podcast above, download the podcast here or subscribe to The Daily Texan Podcast on iTunes.

Tune in to The Daily Texan Podcast and catch up on what news you missed in the past week that is relevant and important to the 40 Acres. Check back every Friday for a new episode.

Abigail Fisher, Edward Blum says Fisher v. Texas court decision is a "win"

At a press conference in Washington D.C., Edward Blum, the director of the Project on Fair Representation, said the ruling on Fisher v. Texas is a "win" for those who are opposed to affirmative action or race conscious admissions policies. 

Early Monday morning, the Supreme Court released a ruling on Fisher v. Texas, the supreme court case that challenged UT's policy of using race in admissions. The Supreme Court sent the case back to a lower court, in a 7-1 decision.

UT President William Powers Jr. and others have said the rulling is a win for the University and affirmative action supporters, but Blum contradicted that Monday afternoon, claiming the ruling was a loss for the UT.

"I can't speak for the other side...if they're excited for this ruling I think they're gravely misplaced," Blum said. "I think it is quite clear the justices demand schools seek race-neutral policies."

Fisher gave a brief statement about how she was honored to be apart of this process. 

"I am very confident UT won't be able to use race as a factor in admissions in the future," Fisher said.

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