Bryan Davis, government senior and co-author of AR 6, answers questions during the Q&A session regarding the resolution.
Photo Credit: Jackie Wang | Daily Texan Staff

The Student Government Assembly voted 24–1–1 in favor of a resolution, AR 6, which supports all student-led efforts to raise awareness and stop the repetition of racism and sexism at UT.

Several representatives voiced concerns about the resolution’s suggested pamphlet, which would include examples of previous instances of racism or sexism at the University and would be distributed to students in cultural diversity-flagged courses. But co-author and government senior Bryan Davis said the resolution is intended to focus on all student-led efforts that raise awareness of discrimination on campus.

“A lot of people in the African-American community are watching Student Government right now,” Davis said. “There is a sentiment that Student Government does not care about issues that are facing us as a demographic. I want that to be known that a lot of eyes are on us as an institution, and a lot of people are hoping SG does pass this resolution tonight.”

Evan Barber, economics sophomore and member of the Society of Cultural Unity, said this resolution is important to educate students about culturally sensitive topics.

“We need to make sure our students know what’s culturally sensitive,” Barber said. “Many students around campus don’t know that what they’re doing is offensive.”

Since the pamphlet has not yet been finalized or approved, a handful of representatives opposed the resolution. Dylan Adkins, business representative and business freshman, asked whether having a pamphlet would alienate certain organizations, such as fraternities or spirit groups.

“I don’t want alienation of any organizations on any standard,” Adkins said.

Lizeth Urialdes, ethnic studies junior and co-author of the resolution, emphasized that the pamphlet is simply a draft.

“It’s going to change consistently through the higher levels,” Urialdes said. “[We want to] make sure that we see it through and hope to maintain consistency or positive change that the message is going to be taken the way we want it to. The point is to find a way to end sexism and racism on campus. You are doomed to repeat history if you don’t know what history is.”

The members of the Assembly also voiced their concern in ensuring SG’s involvement in the pamphlet’s creation. Barber clarified that the purpose of the bill was to show SG’s support for combating racism.     

“SG, by passing this legislation, will be saying we like the idea of students combating racism,” Barber said. “You would not be passing a specific pamphlet. You would be saying it’s a good idea to have a pamphlet. If a pamphlet comes about saying fraternities are terrible places, that’s not what we’re trying to do. But SG also has nothing to do with that pamphlet. We like the vague idea of students combating this. … You guys are promoting the idea that something should happen.”

Editor’s note: On Jan.11, the National Association of Scholars published a report titled “Recasting History.” The 62-page report concludes that both UT and A&M’s introductory U.S.  history course offerings are overly focused on themes of race, class and gender.  The report reviewed syllabi and research interests of UT and A&M history professors who taught in fall 2010 introductory U.S. history courses fulfilling a Texas Legislature-mandated requirement in fall 2010. Below, find several responses to the report.

“I hope the history departments [at both UT and A&M] will read the report seriously and come to some decision that they really do need to broaden the history offerings for the freshmen and sophomores taking these courses.”
Peter Wood,
President of the National Association of Scholars and co-author of “Recasting History”

“The study displays a laziness in research and conceptualization I don’t accept in my students. The authors failed to visit classrooms or speak to instructors to find out how the assigned readings are used. I often assign readings I disagree with, because they can provoke the most thoughtful reactions in students. And the study insults students by assuming they can’t think for themselves and accept or reject what they hear and read in the class. My students are more independent-minded than that.”
H.W. Brands,
One of 18 UT history professors whose assignments were the subject of the NAS report

“[There exists] a huge difference between the way A&M and UT implement the law [requiring public college students in Texas to take two semesters of American history]. This is a unique approach used by UT outside of the mainstream in terms of how the law is implemented in the state.”
Richard Fonte,
Co-author of the NAS study

“Indeed, I am aware that NAS has looked at my [curriculum vitae] and syllabi. I disagree with the report’s tenor, its selective use of evidence, and its conclusions. The evidence in the report appears to have been generated by key word searches and little more. The authors of the NAS report imply that any analysis of race, gender and class invariably leads to specific types of political bias, a conclusion that I find offensive and biased in its own right.”
Janet Davis,
Another of 18 UT history professors whose assignments were the subject of the NAS report

Advertisements branded with violent video games are perceived negatively by the general population and especially by women, according to a recent UT study.

According to the study, featured violence in video games leads to a diminishing memory of brands and promotes a more negative opinion of the products. Participants in the study, which included men and women, had a negative perception of advertisements after playing violent video games with featured brands. The female participants showed significantly higher negative responses to the advertisements than the male participants, according to the study.

“[The advertisements are] well-known and [lesser-known] brands such as Electronic Arts Games, Nintendo, Konami and Sega,” said Seung Chul Yoo, a graduate advertising student and co-author of the study. “We used real brands to increase realism, and statistically controlled gaming experience so that frequent gamers’ recall wouldn’t confound the results.”

The finding suggests males and females simply differ in the way they consume violent media, Yoo said.

“Female participants might be less frequently exposed to violent media relative to male participants,” Yoo said. “In one study, while boys played video games for approximately 1.5 hours per day, girls only averaged about 40 minutes.”

Department of Advertising associate professor Matthew Eastin said rather than looking at differences between male and female perceptions, the study should have included the opinions of novice gamers versus experienced gamers.

“A novice gamer is more likely to be focused on the mechanics of the game, while an experience gamer is better able to absorb the environment,” Eastin said. “They aren’t spending as much time on cognitive skills as the novice players.”

A study done by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project showed that 99 percent of teen boys and 94 percent of teen girls play video games. Yoo said advertisers chose to feature their ads in violent video games because they want to reach mass audience.

“However, they do not know much about the effects beyond just forced exposure of their ads,” Yoo said.

Although violent video games are highly popular, their effectiveness as an advertising medium is questionable, said Department of Communication Studies assistant professor Jorge Pena, who was also the co-author of the study.

“Advertisers should refrain from investing in ads in violent video games when targeting female gamers,” Pena said. “We believe advertising in violent media is not only morally questionable but also perhaps an ineffective advertising strategy.”

Communication sophomore Marc Morales said he normally doesn’t pay attention to advertisements, but if an image keeps emerging, it eventually stays with him.

Printed on September 1, 2011 as: Violent video games prove harmful to ads