Horns Up for Feb. 21: Cigaroa bans cigarettes and Austin City Council approves incentives


Horns Up: Cigarroa bans cigarettes in UT System buildings

On Wednesday, the Daily Texan reported that all UT System administrative buildings, parking lots and outdoor areas will be smoke and tobacco free starting March 15. The announcement came from system Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, who said employee concerns prompted the new health-conscious policy. Although this comes a year after the Austin campus became smoke and tobacco-free, we appreciate the effort to enforce guidelines for keeping system property smoke-free. Horns up to the system employees that pushed for the change and horns up to the administration for listening to those concerns. 

Horns Up: FBI opens investigation into Cedar Creek High 

On Thursday, the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV confirmed that the FBI is opening an investigation into an incident at Cedar Creek High School last fall where Bastrop County Sheriff’s Deputy Randy McMillan used a Taser on 17-year-old Noe Nino de Rivera. After McMillan fired the weapon, Rivera fell to the ground, hit his head on the floor and has sustained permanent brain damage. In an editorial last week, we condemned the use of Tasers in schools on children, and we support the FBI’s decision to look further into the incident to determine if McMillian used excessive force or abused his power. We hope that the inquiry will help discourage other school resource officers from using potentially deadly force on students in our schools — after all, Tasers can kill.

Horns Up: Austin City Council approves incentives

On Thursday, the Austin City Council voted 5-2 to approve incentive packages for two technology firms, Websense and Dropbox. Combined, the companies said they planned to add 640 jobs in the city, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Websense is moving its headquarters from San Diego to Austin and plans to create at least 470 jobs with an average annual salary of $82,000 as a result of the move. Dropbox, which already has a small office in downtown Austin, will create 170 jobs and make a capital investment of $5.5 million. The state-operated Texas Enterprise Fund has also committed money to both firms and other similar incentive deals are in the pipeline. Though some question the city council’s move to take an active role in Austin’s economic development, we believe the council’s decision is both sensible and farsighted. It’s also one that will benefit UT students. Dropbox has already started to recruit at the University, and we presume that Websense will follow their lead as well.