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.
From the Annals of the Skywatchers – In 1939, the Otto Struve telescope at the McDonald Observatory was dedicated. The Struve Telescope was the first major telescope to be built at McDonald Observatory. Its 2.1-meter (82-inch) mirror was the second largest in the world at the time. The telescope is still in use today. The popular observatory is located on Mount Locke and Mount Fowlkes in the Davis Mountains and is a unit of The University of Texas at Austin featuring astronomical research, teaching, and public education and outreach. The Davis Mountains offer some of the darkest night skies in the continental United States.
Students for Concealed Carry quickly moved to exploit the tragic death of a UT Co-ed on campus last week. UT-Austin is apparently one of the safest places on earth since there had not been a murder on campus in the almost 50 years since the UT Tower tragedy. For some the answer is no guns, for some the answer is always more guns. Red lets you decide if the following makes any sense. It seems so full of holes to Red, that commentary is unnecessary.
Imagine that you’re a 22-year-old woman walking back to your car after studying late at the UT library. As you reach for your car door, a man lunges from the shadows and grabs your other arm. Your adrenaline surges, and your mind goes to the concealed handgun tucked into your waistband. As the man twists your arm and tries to force you to the ground, your free hand grabs the gun. You draw it just as his free hand draws a knife from his pocket. You point the gun at your assailant, squeeze the trigger, and…CLICK. Per UT-Austin’s campus carry policy, your gun’s chamber is empty. Even if you had an extra second to chamber a round, you’d need both hands free to do so.
Now imagine that you’re a female university employee walking through that same garage when a man with a knife steps out in front of you. Your first instinct is to reach for the secret handgun pocket built into the side of your purse, but it’s empty. Because you’re never sure when your job will require you to visit an office that the occupant has declared “gun-free,” you’re seldom able to carry your gun on campus. According to state law, you have the right to carry a concealed handgun on campus, but thanks to university policy, you enjoy that right in name only.
The recent tragedy at UT-Austin should serve as a wakeup call to university administrators who seek to handicap LTC holders on campus.
The University of Texas at Austin President Gregory Fenves has issued new rules regarding guns on the 40 Acres that has achieved the near impossible goal of making everyone angry. Peaceniks are upset that guns will be allowed in classrooms and other public areas. Dedicated gun owners are upset over being denied the right to pack heat in their dorm rooms. Red completely sympathizes here. Red can hardly count the times when a simple show of basic firepower might have discouraged freeloading dorm mates who felt entitled to yet another hit on the bong before tackling differential equations. If your average college student can’t protect their weed in their own room then we’re on a slippery slope leading to frat boys invading and carrying off every Tequila bottle that isn’t nailed down.
Then there are the curious exceptions. Concealed handguns will be allowed in dorms’ common areas; people who work in the dorms will be able to carry; and family members visiting the dorms will also be allowed to carry. So when confronting that German student who has charmed away one’s girlfriend with promises of endless strudel and a slightly used 5 Series BMW, the showdown will have to take place in the lounge. You won’t be able to pistol whip the little Hun bastard in his bunk bed anymore. The exception for dorm workers makes more sense to Red. Whining about meatloaf Monday will be considered a dangerous proposition and you won’t dare get caught leaving your food tray on the table. Admonitions to police up after yourself will have a new and sinister meaning. A few rounds fired randomly in the air by Lunch Lady will have the cafeteria sporting tables that you can actually eat off of. As for family members, Red fondly remembers his Dad brandishing his 7mm Ruger in one hand and a bottle of Jack Black in the other to the dismay of the RA calling curfew. Dad liked a good party.
Which brings us to the classrooms – where a free fire zone has been declared. Unhappy with old Professor Fannypack calling on you when you haven’t read the assignment. Perhaps a simple pat on the chest indicative of the relative location of your Smith & Wesson .38 Special will be enough for the old fart to move on to a more prepared and less lethal classmate.
But when visiting your professor in his office beware. Faculty members who don’t share an office with anyone else can ban guns in their specific areas. Aggrieved students will have to employ more subtle forms of influence to raise grades that seem likely to keep them out of the law school of their choice. Red suggests wresting that bottle of Jack Black out of Dad’s hands and bringing it to your next student-teacher conference.
Meanwhile, the privileged few attending private colleges in Texas have no such worries about when and where they will or will not be allowed to strap one on. Every private college that has spoken out so far has made the decision to opt out of campus carry. Watch out for the Germans.