Semester in Review: looking back, looking forward


Looking forward

Meechaiel Criner’s trial is set to begin July 9. Criner was indicted by a grand jury for capital murder in connection with the 2016 death of dance freshman Haruka Weiser.

Looking back

In January it was revealed that pharmacy professor Richard Morrisett remained as faculty after pleading guilty to domestic abuse felony charges in 2016. This led to protests and a review of University policies. Morrisett was found dead in his home in April.

A string of bombings hit Austin in March, killing two victims and eventually the suspect, Mark Anthony Conditt. One of the victims was Draylen Mason, a musician who had been accepted to the Butler School of Music.

Three Subway sandwich shops in West Campus were robbed within two weeks in January and February. Dietra Lashell Lee was arrested on Feb. 7 in connection to the robberies.


Looking forward

DACA is caught in a four-way federal court battle. Three judges have issued rulings to preserve it, while a fourth just received a lawsuit trying to end it. The fate of the program will likely be decided by the end of the year.

Dockless electric scooters from companies Bird and Limebike rolled into the University area in April, but are currently unavailable until the companies receive a city-issued permit.

Primary elections took place on March 6. The primaries sparked a runoff election for many races, including Lupe Valdez and Andrew White for the Democratic nomination for governor. Runoffs occur on May 22, and midterm elections will take place Nov. 6.

Looking back

University House, a large student housing complex in West Campus, repeatedly overbooked tenants and illegally terminated leases at the start of the semester.


Looking back

In February, UT President Gregory Fenves announced he would reimburse the University $27,000 for violating flight policy by flying on business class instead of economy without the University’s permission.

Looking forward

Next fall, qualifying Texas students will receive free tuition if their families earn less than $30,000, and students from families earning up to $100,000 will be guaranteed grants and scholarships.

After leading the UT System for three years, McRaven is retiring this month. The UT System Board of Regents has yet to announce a new chancellor, which may be announced at the next meeting.

Tuition will increase by 2 percent each of the next two academic years. The increases will help fund the University’s faculty salaries and student success efforts.


Looking back

The Student Government executive alliance elections sparked conversations about inclusiveness and diversity across campus. After the first results were invalidated, the second election spurred a runoff, ending in the election of Colton Becker and Mehraz Rahman.

President Fenves announced a subsidy for students to get free counseling at the Counseling and Mental Health Center. Psychiatry services have also been subsidized from $15 to $10.

One year after the release of the CLASE study, several initiatives have been implemented to address sexual assault on campus. This includes the Interpersonal Violence Peer Support program, which celebrated its grand opening early this semester.

The Fine Arts Library is here to stay after months of debate between administration, faculty and students concerning what library resources should stay and the disadvantages of relocating those resource off campus.

Looking forward

Following backlash from conservative media outlets, CMHC’s search for MasculinUT’s “healthy masculinities coordinator” is temporarily suspended by Soncia Reagins-Lilly, vice president for student affairs and dean of students.

This fall, some construction will lighten up on the 40 Acres with the completion of the following projects: Speedway Mall, Student Activity Center outdoor deck, Painter First Year Initiative lab, Burdine classroom renovations, West Mall Office Building upper two floors renovation, Bernard and Audre Rapport Building computer lab renovation and the College of Business Administration Frito Lay suite renovation. Welch Hall construction will still be in progress through early 2020 with no change to construction site access. The completion date for the West Mall fountain area renovation is still to be determined.


This semester marked the launch of “The Five Percent,” a partnership between The Daily Texan and UT’s National Association of Black Journalists which details the experiences black UT students, faculty and alumni in a predominantly white space. Look for more projects in the series next semester.

Working with UT’s National Association of Hispanic Journalists, The Daily Texan launched its first collaborative series “Negotiating Dreams.” The series shared the stories of undocumented students at UT. Watch out for more special collaborations next semester.