Forum: Patrick, McRaven tackle University controversies

Jordan Shenhar

The astronomical cost of attending college has become a political touchstone of late. Several presidential candidates, as well as President Barack Obama, have emphasized the issue during this campaign season. Today’s Forum page features two pieces on how to address that problem as it manifests itself in the UT System.

The first, from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, argues that a significant portion of University tuition and fees are earmarked towards financial aid, a social good for which the state — rather than students and their families — should foot the bill. UT alumnus and first-year law student Zachary Stone counters that Patrick’s proposal is incomplete without an assurance that the Legislature will sufficiently increase higher education funding.

We conclude our forum with a response from Chancellor William McRaven to columnist Emma Berdanier’s Wednesday piece on McRaven’s role in the national anthem controversy that has recently engulfed professional sports. In the wake of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest racial injustice in the U.S., McRaven issued a letter urging UT System athletes to stand during the anthem. In his op-ed, McRaven reiterates his unconditional support for free speech both inside the sports world and out, but questions the symbolic value of protesting the flag, which he defines as a representation of America’s highest ideals and the sacrifices of those who defend them.

Don’t miss this week’s inaugural Politics and Pints podcast, now available online. And remember, we welcome submissions from any member of the University community at [email protected] As always, we look forward to hearing from you!

Shenhar is a Plan II, economics and government senior from Westport, Connecticut. He is the Forum Editor.