university of texas

Environment
9:54 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Panel Appointed to Review Controversial Fracking Study

A fracking study led by UT professor Charles Groat is being reviewed, in light of his ties to companies that engage in the practice.
University of Texas Energy Institute

The University of Texas at Austin has put together a panel of three experts to review a professor’s disputed study on hydraulic fracking.

UT professor Charles Groat’s study stated there’s little or no evidence that fracking’s connected with groundwater contamination. But the results of the study came into question after a watchdog group noted Groat has received money from a company that does fracking.

StateImpact Texas shares the make up of the panel:

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Health
12:02 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Texas 'Tooth Fairy' Studies Triggers for Autism

Smile! A San Antonio scientist hopes to discover the "why" behind Autism.
flickr.com/steveritchie

A San Antonio scientist looking for possible causes of autism is taking an unusual approach. University of Texas Health Science Center epidemiologist Dr. Raymond Palmer is using baby teeth to try to root out some answers.

The project is nicknamed “the tooth fairy studies” because to conduct his research, Dr. Palmer collects old, donated baby teeth from kids with and without autism. He is trying to discover how environmental effects  -- from as early as conception – can determine whether a child develops autistic traits.

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Environment
9:00 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Outside Review for Controversial Fracking Study

Charles “Chip” Groat discussing his study, “Separating Fact From Fiction in Shale Gas Development,” in a video from February.
University of Texas Energy Institute

A University of Texas study disputing connections between the oil and gas industry practice of fracking and groundwater contamination is receiving new scrutiny, with the revelation the study’s leader failed to disclose significant financial ties to a drilling company that engages in the practice.

As KUT News reported in February, the report from the UT Energy Institute, “Separating Fact From Fiction in Shale Gas Development,” stated that fracking, when executed properly, doesn’t contaminate groundwater. However, contamination may occur as the result of above ground spills or mishandling of wastewater.

StateImpact Texas, a joint reporting partnership of KUT News and NPR, has followed the story. On Monday, highlighting a report from watchdog group  Public Accountablitiy Initiative, it reported study leader Charles “Chip” Groat had extensive industry ties:

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AM Update
8:10 am
Mon May 21, 2012

AM Update: Fort Hood Bombing Trial, AISD Tax Talk, Longhorn Tourney Time

Jurors are being selected in the trial of Naser Abdo this week.
Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News

Jury selection begins for Fort Hood bomber suspect

Jury selection is set to begin this morning in the trial of a soldier accused of planning to blow up a Killeen restaurant filled with Fort Hood soldiers.

Private First Class Naser Abdo could face up to life in prison if convicted of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and other charges.

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University of Texas
9:55 am
Fri May 18, 2012

UT's Reform-Minded Chairman at Center of Controversy

UT Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell asks the Board to support Chancellor Dr. Franciso Cigarroa at their Austin meeting on May 12, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

SAN ANTONIO — When Gene Powell first arrived at the University of Texas at Austin in 1964, it was on a scholarship to play offensive guard and defensive linebacker for the legendary coach Darrell K Royal.

“I was a very average to mediocre football player, and that’s probably being generous,” Powell, a real estate developer and South Texas native, recalled during an interview at his San Antonio office this week.

More than four decades later, Powell was asked to return to Austin — this time by Gov.Rick Perry, who needed a staunch ally and strong leader to support his reforms on the University of Texas System’s board of regents.

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Health
11:39 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Smoke and Work for UT? Get Ready to Pay More for Insurance

A $30 monthly health insurance premium will soon apply to University of Texas employees who smoke.
Image courtesy flickr.com/jacockshaw

In July, University of Texas employees who use the UT SELECT Medical plan will have to declare whether they use tobacco. And if they do, they will have to pay a $30 dollar premium every month starting in September.

The same goes for spouses and children who are on the plan. The maximum charge would be $90 per month, per family.

“During Annual Enrollment, all UT SELECT Medical plan participants will need to declare whether they are or are not a tobacco user,” the university’s Office of Employee Benefits writes. Approximately 200,000 employees, spouses and children are enrolled statewide in the UT SELECT insurance program.

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University of Texas
11:23 am
Tue May 1, 2012

No Arrests at Second UT Sweatshop Protest

Protests calling for stricter monitoring of factories producing UT apparel continued this week.
Photo by Divya Darsi for KUT News

Two weeks after 17 students were arrested in a similar protest, members of the Make UT Sweatshop-Free Coalition conducted another sit-in yesterday.

The sit-in was held in the University of Texas Tower with more than 40 students participating. At about 5 p. m. yesterday, the students left the Tower after warnings from police they could be arrested, said the Austin American-Statesman. At 8 p.m. on Sunday night, a candlelight vigil of students, faculty and community members convened in front of UT Austin President Bill Powers’ house; the vigil was led by Pastor Jim Rigby.

As KUT News previously reported, the coalition wants UT to join the Workers Rights Consortium, an independent monitoring organization that conducts investigations of working conditions in factories. A statement on the WRC homepage specifically mentions their goal to protect the rights of workers who make clothes.

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Education
4:38 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Fulbright Program Hosts Women Leadership Seminar at UT

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program brings approximately 1,700 foreign students to the United States every year to study for one year or longer.
Fulbright logo courtesy fulbright.state.gov; UT photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News.

Women from Sub-Saharan Africa participating in the Fulbright Foreign Student Program have gathered this week in Austin to participate in a women’s leadership seminar.

The seminar was designed to teach the women in the program how they can use the knowledge they gained in the U.S. to better their communities and themselves when they return to their homes. Participants arrived in Austin on Tuesday and the seminar will continue through Sunday.

Nomoa Mazwai is a South African participant in the program and has been studying economics at Fordham University. She plans to work in education when she returns home.

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Education
12:19 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Hoping to Speed On-Time Graduation, UT Refines Orientation Program

Following up on recommendations, the University hopes orientation changes will boost graduation times.
Photo by KUT News

Seeking to boost students’ on-time graduation rates, the University of Texas is refining its orientation program.

A recent report from UT’s Task Force on Undergraduate Graduation Rates looked at ways to increase four year graduation rates. As KUT News wrote at the time of the report’s release, UT’s four-year graduation rate is currently about 50 percent, and the university wants to increase that amount to 70 percent by 2016. Speeding up graduation rates is seen as one solution to the problem of crowded and increasingly expensive college educations.

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Education
5:11 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Case Renews Focus On Race In College Admissions

Students hoping for a repeal of California's ban on affirmative action in college admissions protest outside of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Feb. 13. The Supreme Court will decide an affirmative action case next fall that could affect college admissions policies across the country.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 7:39 pm

College and university presidents are wringing their hands over the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to revisit the issue of affirmative action next fall. Critics of racial preferences are thrilled because the court could significantly restrict the use of race in admissions, but proponents of affirmative action say this would be a huge setback for institutions struggling to diversify their student body.

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Austin
10:47 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Happy 75th Anniversary to the UT Tower

Today marks the diamond anniversary of the UT tower.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/ericejohnson

Today, the Main Building on the University of Texas campus – also known simply as the Tower – celebrates its 75th anniversary.

KUT News recently toured the tower with Jim Nicar, acting director of the UT Heritage Society, who got into the history behind the iconic building:

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Transportation
2:44 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

Relax and Leave the Driving to Your Car

Peter Stone sits shotgun as his automated car does the driving.
Photo by Wyatt McSpadden, courtesy University of Texas

Could rush hour gridlock turn into relaxation time for Texas drivers?

University of Texas researcher Peter Stone and his fellow project members at UT’s Autonomous Intersection Management (AIM) project have been receiving attention with a provocative concept: creating “smart” intersections linked to intelligent autos that will enable cars to drive themselves. Stone’s research was recently presented at a meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Science.

Stone is no stranger to automotive technology; five years ago, he was part of a team that responded to a development challenge from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to create a vehicle that could pilot itself. “Since then, in 2007, we’ve had a car which can drive itself,” Stone says.

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Austin
3:01 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Group Issues 60 Suggestions on Improving UT Graduation Rates

A task force has issued numerous recommendations on how to promote timely graduation on the 40 Acres.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

How to boost graduation rates at the University of Texas? More student monitoring and orientation, decreased summer course fees, and increased tuition for students that have over-accumulated credits.

Those are some of the recommendations from UT’s Task Force on Undergraduate Graduation Rates, compiled in a report issued today.

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Lance Armstrong
3:42 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Introducing ATX Index: A Look at Austin Around the Web

In which we serve a heaping helping of links for your reading pleasure:

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Austin
3:15 pm
Mon January 16, 2012

Five Rules For Allies Against Oppression this MLK Day

Students from Webb Middle School were among the many on hand celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Photo by Wells Dunbar/KUT News

A crowd of hundreds gathered on the University of Texas’ East Mall this morning to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event’s speakers spoke to King’s legacy, but also emphasized the work remaining to be done in the struggle for equality.

Several speakers were on hand, including State Representative Dawnna Dukes, UT president William Powers, and more. But the most provocative speech of the morning came from Omi Osun Joni Jones, Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance and of African and African Diaspora Studies, who shared her “five rules” for allies in the struggle against racism, sexism, and homophobia.

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University of texas
4:55 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

UT Dean: Obama Twitter Remark “Offensive & Embarrassing”

Screen capture of Twitter

A Twitter post by the president of the University of Texas at Austin College Republicans was “offensive and embarrassing,” according to the University of Texas dean of students Soncia Reagins-Lilly.

Cassandra Wright Tweeted early on Sunday morning: “My president’s black, he snorts a lot of crack. Holla. #2012 #Obama.” Her account has since been made private.

“We embrace free speech and encourage the open exchange of ideas,” Reagins-Lilly said in a news release. “But we also urge all students, alumni and friends to act respectfully and adhere to The University of Texas at Austin honor code which calls for ‘integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community.’”

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Education
5:11 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

UT Panel Recommends Tuition Increases

A view of campus from the UT Tower
Jeff Heimsath, KUT News

A panel of students, faculty and administrators is asking the University of Texas at Austin to raise in-state tuition by 2.6 percent for each of the next two years. The Tuition Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC) delivered its recommendation to UT president Bill Powers today.

The increase would mean the average costs per semester for an undergraduate from Texas would raise $127 to $5,023 next school year. Those costs would increase by $131 to $5,154 for the 2013-14 school year.

At the same time, TPAC is recommending increases of 3.6 percent per year for non-resident undergraduate students and both in-state and non-resident graduate students.

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Health
4:00 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

New UT Cancer Institute To Focus On Drug Research

The new Institute for Applied Cancer Science will be located at the south campus of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Photo courtesy of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

The University of Texas is committing $75 million to kick start the new Institute for Applied Cancer Science, which will focus on speeding up the discovery and delivery of effective cancer drugs at a time when pharmaceutical companies have scaled back research and development.

Gov. Rick Perry, taking a break from his busy pursuit of the GOP presidential nomination, was on hand for the announcement at the south campus of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, site of the new facility, in Houston on Monday. Perry said the institute would help Texas cement its position as a leader in cancer research and scientific innovation.

“I believe this state represents a unique crossroads, a place where academic research can come together with a very vibrant private sector to tap into this steadily growing biosciences sector. We’re just scratching the surface of its potential,” Perry said. “We’re creating a culture that will help ensure that great ideas that are born in Texas will stay in Texas, from the laboratory to the marketplace, and then we will export them around the world.”

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football
4:42 pm
Wed November 23, 2011

Will UT Bury The Hatchet With The Aggies?

Photo by cperez1104 http://www.flickr.com/photos/42757072@N00/

A rivalry that has lasted more than a century could come to an end on Friday night the University of Texas and Texas A&M University football teams square off. That’s because the Aggies are moving from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference next season.

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science
2:13 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

UT Scientists Find "Great Lake" Under Surface of Jupiter’s Moon

An artist's depiction of the "Great Lake" underneath Europa's icy surface.
Photo by Britney Schmidt/Dead Pixel VFX/University of Texas at Austin

Europa, one of Jupiter’s many moons, appears to have a body of water the size of the North American Great Lakes beneath its icy surface, according to a new study by a researcher from the University of Texas at Austin. The study was published today in the scientific journal Nature.

“It’s a lake that’s trapped inside the ice shell,” lead author Dr. Britney Schmidt said of the discovery. “It’s formed by warm material moving up from the bottom, causing the middle of the ice shell to melt. That presence of the water below breaks up the surface, and makes it look like icebergs and floating broken up ice.”

“It was just a huge ‘a-ha’ moment for us,” she said of the discovery.

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