university of texas

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

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.

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.’”

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.

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.”

Photo by cperez1104

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.

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.

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News


Despite the arguments of critics in recent months, Marc Musick, the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Liberal Arts associate dean of student affairs, makes the case in a new faculty productivity report that his institution provides “an incredible return on investment for the state.”

Photo by Judy Baxter

Social studies standards adopted by the Texas State Board of Education will leave students unprepared for college, according to a new report by a professor of history at the University of Texas El Paso.

The report was prepared by Keith Erekson for the Social Studies Faculty Collaborative, an organization funded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). The report’s findings have not been reviewed by the Faculty Collaborative or the Coordinating Board.

“The end result for the students in the classroom is that it’s going to be a lot harder to go to college,” said Erekson, who directs a teacher education program and a center for history and learning at UTEP.

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

The University of Texas System regents today gave UT President Bill Powers the authority to take any necessary actions regarding conference realignment. Hours earlier, the University of Oklahoma regents empowered their president, David Boren, with the same authority.

The action by both universities is identical to a move Texas A&M University System regents made in August when they granted such authority to Texas A&M President  R. Bowen Loftin — two weeks before A&M officially notified the Big 12 Conference that it wanted out.

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

The ratio of Hispanic students enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin rose from 12 percent in 2001 to 17.5 percent this year, according to preliminary numbers from the university.  While the percentage of freshman Hispanic students is down this year, UT-Austin’s Hispanic student population of 8,975 is a new record high for the university.

Photo by jason tinder

Texas A&M University has officially withdrawn from the Big 12 college athletic conference. The university says it will apply to join another athletic conference, according to a statement on its website.

Image courtesy Yan Zhang, UT School of Information

Two University of Texas professors are developing a game that could affect the lives of children diagnosed with autism.

Yan Zhang, an assistant professor at UT-Austin's School of Information and engineering professor J.K. Aggarwal are working to create a free online game called "LifeIsGame" designed  to help autistic children communicate.

Zhang said the game may address a component of autistic children's lives that often gets overlooked: their emotions.

Photo by KUT News

The University of Texas Tower will serve as a canvas for some innovative three-dimensional video art this week as part of a promotion being filmed for ESPN’s Longhorn Network. 

This isn’t 3-D video in the sense that you need glasses to observe it. Rather, the video is “mapped” to fit the dimensions of the building upon which it is being projected.

Photo by Maʝicdölphin

Mass killings dominated the media this weekend with a string of shootings in the United States following just hours after a murderous rampage in Oslo. Some of the violence since Friday included:

A local psychotherapist says the deluge of grim news can be a trigger for people already trying to cope with grief. For those with a history of trauma, mental illness or personal losses, it can actually be harmful, according to two local experts.

Photo courtesy UTPD

When a 19-year-old University of Texas sophomore terrified the campus with an AK-47 last September, police from different agencies struggled to communicate with each other as they sought to secure the situation. That was one of many findings contained in a report released today by the University of Texas Police Department.

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

For the first time ever, the University of Texas at Austin will have a staff ombudsperson – an independent third-party who can help resolve internal conflicts with staff members. Jennifer Graf Sims begins her new duties on July 20, according to a press release.

“As many of you know, the creation of this position has been several years in the making,” UT President Bill Powers said in a post on his blog.

Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

The University of Texas at Austin community is mourning the loss of senior vice president Shirley Bird Perry- who passed away Wednesday of cancer. She was 74.

After graduating from UT in the 1950s, Shirley Bird Perry started her career as program director of the Texas Union student center. She also served over a decade as a vice chancellor with the UT System.

Photo by KUT News

This afternoon, the University of Texas System released much-anticipated data on faculty "productivity" — noting, however, that the 821-page spreadsheet is in a raw draft form that has not been fully verified and "cannot yield accurate analysis, interpretations or conclusions."

Photo by U.S. Navy

The man who commanded the unit that shot and killed Osama bin Laden this week is a graduate of the University of Texas journalism program. The Daily Texan reports that Vice Adm. William H. McRaven graduated in 1977.