Forum: Week of April 21

Emily Vernon and Jordan Shenhar

As we promised last week, this week’s Forum touches on the future of the Republican Party — and many, many other subjects, largely responding to content we’ve published in the past week.

Second-year law student Landon Campbell, who serves as the Executive Vice President of the Texas Federalist Society and a Republican Party Precinct Chair, suggests that emphasizing fiscal restraint over divisive social issues can help draw at least some whippersnappers into the GOP fold. He worries, however, that adopting this approach may prove challenging in an environment in which candidates must appeal to more populist primary voters.

First-year law student Zachary Stone argues against SB 19, a bill championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that would freeze tuition increases at public colleges in Texas for the next four years. Stone warns that the bill, one of many introduced this session that has exposed tensions between Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus, would harm students by cutting funding for essential educational services.

Mark Houser, the CEO of University Lands, discusses the efforts that the UT System has taken to address methane emissions from oil and gas wells on Permanent University Fund lands, after an Environment Texas advertisement ran in the Texan this week criticizing UT for its oil and gas development practices.

Alex Rothschild-Tayoub cautions that a column we published this week overextends the definition of sexual assault, which could make it harder for victims and survivors to understand what sexual assault actually is and decrease the number of reports. To truly combat the issue of sexual assault, survivors would benefit from a concrete, readily available definition that they can understand and act upon as they see fit.

Earlier this week, we ran a piece from English and sociology freshman Jacob Hood that discusses the meaning of diversity. Hood argues that the University should frame its defense of its diversity initiatives around the importance of providing opportunities to students of color, rather than around the educational benefits that those initiatives provide to the University’s white plurality.

As our semester comes to a close, we encourage you to continue contributing your perspectives on issues you find important. If you’re reading this online, you probably already know where to find us (hint: it’s [email protected]). We look forward to hearing from you!

Shenhar is a Plan II, economics and government senior from Westport, Connecticut. Vernon is an anthropology and rhetoric and writing sophomore from The Woodlands.