Red received this in his inbox today from University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves:
I’m writing today with great news. The UT System Board of Regents — under the leadership of Chairman Kevin Eltife — has voted unanimously to establish a $160 million endowment to expand financial aid for middle- and low-income UT Austin students beginning next year.
Starting in fall semester 2020, in-state undergraduate students with need from families that earn up to $65,000 a year will receive financial assistance to completely cover their UT tuition as part of our Texas Advance Commitment. And students with financial need from families with incomes of up to $125,000 will also receive some amount of assured financial aid.
Half of the families in Texas earned less than $60,000 in 2017. So, today’s expansion of the Texas Advance Commitment program means that beginning in 2020, we will be able to cover the tuition for eligible undergraduate students from families earning at or slightly above the median household income level.
This action by the Board of Regents is an investment in the future of our students. It is also one of the largest commitments ever made to improving college affordability among the nation’s leading public research universities. I thank the Board of Regents for their decision today. And I am especially grateful to Chairman Eltife for prioritizing Texas students.
This is an important day for The University of Texas at Austin. You should be proud. I couldn’t be prouder.
Red is proud. This is a big deal for many Texas families. When Red and friends went to state schools in Texas (way back in the day) it was for all practical purposes free. If you couldn’t scrape up the $250 or so per semester to pay for your tuition and fees, you weren’t really trying very hard. Usually, the books cost more – but you could buy used and trade them back in at the end of the semester. We were the lucky ones. Thanks to previous Poor Idiot Governors (Rick Perry Red is calling you out) – tuition increases at state schools have strained budgets for many Texas families. And the fact is – the UT System has had the money to do this for many years. It was way overdue. Nonetheless, better late than never.
For those who haven’t been in Austin lately, the scourge of the rented scooter may not sound like much of a problem. Well, it is as injuries mount and sidewalks are danger zones with scooters whizzing in and out of the foot traffic. The University of Texas is taking matters into its own hands as Texas Monthly reports:
[UT] announced a new speed limit for the dockless scooters that have become ubiquitous not just on its campus but throughout central Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, as well as at other colleges like Texas Tech and Abilene Christian. Unlike conventional speed limits, it won’t take a cop with a radar gun to ensure riders don’t break the rule. Instead, the 8-mph limit will be enforced using geofencing technology, which will throttle down a scooter’s top speed (typically 15 to 17 mph) whenever it’s on the UT campus.
The limit, which goes into effect March 26, appears to be the first implementation of geofencing to regulate scooter speed anywhere in the country.
Bevo XV debuted at the Notre Dame game on Saturday. He is a leaner, smaller, shorter-horned version of a Bevo – at least compared to some of the recent Bevos shown below. Red is puzzled by the new look, but maybe safety concerns came into play. Or perhaps, new Bevo is in keeping with the Longhorns new fast-paced offense brought in by offensive coordinator Sterling Gilbert. One thing his keepers will not have to worry about is the Aggies “sawing Varsity’s horns off – short.” The horns are pretty darn short already.
Thousands of UT-Austin students openly carried dildos and other sex toys to class this week in an hilarious protest against Texas’ law requiring public universities to allow open carry of weapons on campus. Some believed that it might have been the largest anti-gun protest in Texas history. The open display of the faux penises disturbed some. But as one protestor, Rosie Zander, put it, If you’re uncomfortable with dildos, how do you think I feel about your gun?” And just where did the students get all of the fake phalluses – it turns out they were donated by purveyors of sex toys ranging from local sellers in Austin all the way to Singapore.
Red wonders what Ted Cruz – once a prominent supporter of Texas Anti-Dildo Law thinks about all this.
For Red’s lifetime, UT-Austin has had three Head Baseball Coaches. Bibb Falk, Cliff Gustafson and Augie Garrido. After UT reassigned 20 year veteran Garrido to other duties after failing to make the playoffs 3 out of the last 5 years, the School will have only its 5th baseball coach in the last 100 years. Red guesses that if new coach David Pierce gets the average 25 year run for UT baseball coaches, he will consider himself well ahead of the game.
Pierce, most recently head coach at Tulane for two seasons, is a self-described “slow-talking Texan” who doesn’t yet have 200 total wins in a career spent mostly as an assistant and just five seasons as a head coach.
Pierce was introduced at a news conference on Thursday one day after being hired away from Tulane. Pierce who has had stations in Texas high schools and at Rice remarked that taking over as the Longhorns’ coach at age 53 “a special day, a special journey.”
There will be pressure on Pierce to perform as the once-hot Longhorn baseball program now seems to be an afterthought on campus with dwindling fan interest. A quick return to the College World Series would help. As his predecessor Garrido — the winningest coach in college baseball history — liked to say “Omaha is the standard” at Texas.
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the University of Texas at Austin’s admissions process which gives a small advantage to black and Hispanic applicants. The decision yet again allows US colleges to use of affirmative action in their admissions procedures. The 4-3 vote was a defeat for Sugar Land’s favorite litigant Abigail Fisher who has repeatedly claimed that she was unfairly denied admission because of her whiteness. After being denied admission into UT-Austin in 2008, she has been relentless in her campaign to end even the slight hint of affirmative action that UT-Austin uses in an attempt to preserve some diversity on the 40 Acres. Fisher – who did not qualify for automatic admission – claimed that black and Hispanic students who were less qualified got in over her. But Thursday’s decision brings her case to a close. The ruling will likely have national implications in that the Court has again reaffirmed that colleges have some leeway to use affirmative action in picking their students.
From the Annals of Extracurricular Activities – In 1940, 108 boys participated in the first annual Lone Star Boys’ State program. The program provides teenage boys with training in functional aspects of citizenship and teaches constructive attitudes toward the American form of government. Nationally the program was begun in the 1930s to counter Fascist-inspired Young Pioneer Freedom camps. Participants are grouped into mock cities, form a mock state government, and elect state officers. The program is held each summer, usually in June, at the University of Texas at Austin. Two boys are chosen to attend Boys’ Nation in Washington, D.C., each July.