University of Texas at Austin

Photo by KUT News

Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex W. Tillerson and his wife, Renda, are donating $5 million to the Cockrell School of Engineering. The money is slated to go toward the Engineering Education and Research Center which is expected to open in 2017.

It's a 430,000 square-foot facility that will allow UT Austin to expand its teaching, research and student project space.

Tillerson graduated from UT Austin in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and serves on the school's Engineering Advisory Board and UT Development Board.  His sons, Robert and Michael, are also graduates.

KUT News

More than 100 faculty members at the University of Texas at Austin signed a letter this week expressing concern and dismay over a proposal to centralize and consolidate services such as human resources and information technology.

That shared services model would combine administrative services now located and staffed in individual departments of the university in an attempt to save millions of dollars annually.

In the letter to UT-Austin President Bill Powers, faculty members posited that such a move would harm the university's sense of community. "People choose to work at the University of Texas at Austin because they believe in its educational and social mission," the letter said. "Adoption of a shared services model will weaken departments’ commitment to those missions by devaluing bonds between faculty and staff that develop from working toward common goals."

KUT News

The Dell Medical School at UT Austin is scheduled to open for classes in 2016. The man leading the school to that opening is newly appointed dean, Dr. Clay Johnston.

Johnston spoke with Texas Standard host David Brown about what needs to happen before classes begin – and more importantly, how the new medical school will break the mold for student education and patient care.

"We can't treat this as our one opportunity to change things," Johnston says. "The reality is that academia – at least in medicine – moves very, very slowly. So we want to create the structures, the culture, that allow us to continually move, to be nimble and move forward."

Wikimedia Commons user Citizen59

The Texas Sports Hall of Fame inducts two Texas Exes today. 

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross and former Detroit Lions defensive tackle Doug English are among 344 inductees to the hall since 1951. 

Ross was inducted into the University of Texas Women’s Hall of Honor in 2011; English was previously elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Laura Rice, KUT News

The best young violin players in the world are in Austin right now for the Menuhin Competition. It’s the first time the prestigious contest featuring players under 22 years old has been held in North America.

UT’s Butler School of Music is hosting the 10-day competition. And it’s a rare opportunity for aspiring young string players in the area to see what’s possible with a lot of hard work.

“It’s considered the Olympics of the violin. It’s also called the F1 of the violin," Butler School of Music Interim Director Glenn Richter says. “We’re getting an international and a national exposure and flair that is very special for Austin.”

Chris Quintero

Update: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo apologized Saturday for comments he made during a press conference about the arrest of a jogger for jaywalking near the UT campus. During that press conference, Acevedo said that "In other cities there's cops who are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas."

In his apology statement Saturday, Acevedo said that "the comparison was a poor analogy, and for this I apologize." You can read the full apology here.

Original Story (Feb. 21, 4:58 p.m.): Austin Police arrested a woman jogging by the UT Campus Thursday morning for not providing identification after being stopped. The incident was caught on video by a UT student, Chris Quintero, who witnessed the woman being taken into custody. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

In late January, President Barack Obama assembled a task force to come up with ideas to reduce sexual assault on college campuses. According to the administration, one in five women is a survivor of attempted or completed sexual violence while in college. President Obama urged members of college communities nationwide to ask their leaders what they're doing about this issue. 

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers recently sat down with KUT's David Brown to talk about campus climate and the current job reductions at the University of Texas.

Listen to the interview in the audio player.

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

President Barack Obama wrote a hand-written apology to a University of Texas art history professor this week.

Ann Johns, a senior lecturer at UT-Austin's Department of Art and Art History, complained via the White House website about the president's remarks in a speech at a Wisconsin factory last month. As CNN notes, stumping for education initiatives, President Obama said "You folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree."

photo by: Bob Daemmrich

Francisco Cigarroa, the chancellor of the University of Texas System, will announce Monday that plans to step down to become the head of the pediatric surgery unit at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, three sources tell The Texas Tribune.

Cigarroa's intention to resign his post was first reported late Sunday by the Austin American-Statesman. A Sunday release by the system said Cigarroa and Paul Foster, the chairman of the Board of Regents, will appear together at a Monday morning news conference at which the chancellor will make a "special announcement."

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Hundreds of people gathered near the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. statue on the UT campus this morning to honor the life of the slain civil rights leader.

Several people spoke before the crowd, including University of Texas President Bill Powers. He said much has changed since Dr. King visited UT 52 years ago, when athletics and dorms were still segregated.

Laura Rice, KUT News

For many people, most days would not be complete without music. Whether it's exercising to your favorite playlist or jamming along to the radio on your way home for work. 

But how much do infants get out of music? And are there types of music that babies prefer?

A professor at the Children’s Research Laboratory on the University of Texas at Austin campus is trying to find out.

UT Shuttle
Image courtesy Cap Metro

Tight budgets could leave some UT Austin commuters without a bus line in the upcoming semester, according to Cap Metro. 

The Wickersham Lane (Route WL) shuttle will be eliminated this semester and the Cameron Road route (Route CR) will be shortened this semester, renamed Route Camino La Costa (Route CLC) and then eliminated after the spring semester.  

The transit authority attributes the cutbacks to a persistent lack of funds from UT's Student Services Budget Committee.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: The Longhorns got trampled 30-7 by the University of Oregon Ducks tonight in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. 

The Ducks ran two interceptions for touchdowns, spoiling what was the farewell game for Longhorns' Head Coach Mack Brown, who is retiring after 16 seasons with UT.

Despite the loss -- and a 30-21 record in his final four seasons -- the crowd gave Brown a warm send-off. UT athletic director Steve Patterson has said the team intends to name Brown's successor by January 15th. 

Original story: It's not unusual for the University of Texas at Austin's football team to appear in a post-season bowl game. But tonight, when the Longhorns take on Oregon in the Alamo Bowl, there is one twist: it is the last game as Head Coach for Mack Brown.

Brown became the Longhorns' 28th head football coach on December 4, 1997.

On December 15, 2013, after months of speculation, Brown made the announcement that he will retire at the end of the 2013 season.

After a few disappointing seasons since 2010, many fans and observers have considered the team to be underperforming and were clamoring for change.

Erica Grant, Southwestern University

Librarians are keeping late hours. Coffee shops are serving up triple-shot drinks to zombie-like customers. They’re all signs of one thing: college finals week.

The end of the semester creates an immense amount of stress on campus, which students handle with varying degrees of success. This year, area universities are providing a wider variety of services and resources to help students cope with the stress and anxiety.

In addition to the regular services offered by UT-Austin’s Counseling and Mental Health Center, including stress management tips for students and an online resource called Stress Recess, the university is hosting some more unorthodox events: UT Libraries partnered with the Austin Dog Alliance to bring therapy dogs to the Perry-Castañeda Library, Monday, Dec. 9, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Reuters /Mike Hutchings /Landov

Thursday's passing of Nelson Mandela brought back many memories for Austinites: Mandela was an icon of a student-led anti-apartheid struggle at the University of Texas.

In the mid 80's, students held sit-ins, rallied on the mall, and broke into the president's office demanding divestment in South Africa. KUT’s David Brown recently sat down with two people who were, at that time, on opposite sides: William Cunningham, the former president of the University of Texas at Austin, and Derrick Eugene, a student leader in the anti-apartheid movement.

Jorge Corona for KUT News

Over 100 students, faculty, staff community supporters gathered at the University of Texas campus this afternoon to protest a so-called “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” game that was originally planned for today.

The event, proposed by the UT chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas, called for students to track down and return volunteers wearing shirts reading “illegal immigrant” in exchange for a gift card.

The group called off the event earlier this week in the wake of widespread condemnation. But people gathered on campus today to protest the motivation behind the game.

Update: Controversial Event Called Off

The Young Conservatives of Texas has canceled its “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” event, originally scheduled for Wednesday. 

Citing the university’s condemnation of the event, UT chapter chair Lorenzo Garcia claims he canceled the event out of fears the university would retaliate against the group’s members, “and that the protest against the event could create a safety issue for our volunteers.”

You can read Garcia’s full remarks here.

Original Story (Nov. 19): The news that the University of Texas chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas is planning a campus "Catch an Illegal Immigrant" game for this week has taken the political blogosphere by storm.

In case you haven’t heard: The group’s UT chapter has stated on Facebook that it’s planning to hold the “Catch an Illegal Immigrant game” this Wednesday. (Here’s a screen grab of the invitation in case it’s taken down.)

Emily Mathis for KUT News

The sound of masking tape being stretched and torn, cardboard boxes being folded, and students laughing and chattering filled Gregory Plaza on Friday morning, as more than a hundred students gathered to build the first cardboard box castle at the University of Texas.

The box building comes as a part of America Recycles Day, and the project is quickly becoming a national fad. In universities across the country, students gather to build a temporary structure made entirely of cardboard boxes and held together with masking tape.

African-American men make up only 1.8 percent of the University of Texas’ student body – but they comprise 68 percent of the university’s basketball and football players.

That’s one of the findings in a University of Pennsylvania study [PDF], “Black Male Student-Athletes and Racial Inequities in NCAA Division I College Sports.”

The study finds that 43 percent of black male student athletes graduate from UT within six years. That compares to 62 percent of all student athletes, and 79 percent of all students.

In a comparison of universities where black male students are most over-represented in sports, UT ranks 14th out of 25.

Update (July 15, 2014): The Fifth Circuit has ruled that UT's affirmative action policies can continue.

Read more here: ​UT Affirmative Action Policies Stand in Fisher Ruling

Update: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing arguments today in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the case that questions UT's use of race in its admissions process.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court punted the case back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals after deciding the Fifth Circuit didn't apply the strictest scrutiny to UT's admissions policies.

While most UT  students are admitted based on whether they’re in the top seven percent of their graduating class, some are admitted based on what the university calls a “holistic review.” An applicant’s race is one element of that review.

Back in 2008, a white student named Abigail Fisher was denied admission to UT under the holistic review. She sued saying she was a victim of reverse discrimination. Lower courts upheld UT’s affirmative action policy.