The Texan looks back, forward at news this semester

Politics and Protests

Looking Back: UT students got involved with the state legislative session by testifying to committees and interning with congressional offices. UT’s student advocacy program, Invest in Texas, and other student organizations have focused on reproductive rights, professor tenure and voting access as these issues come under some risk. 

Looking Forward: State lawmakers will vote on Senate Bill 18, which would end tenure opportunities at public Texas universities and could potentially impact the quality of faculty at UT. The legislature is also considering a bill that ends funding for diversity, equity and inclusion practices in higher education.


Looking Back: Student apartment complex Noble 2500 opened in January after months of delays, during which residents had to find their own housing or live in the Moxy hotel.

Looking Forward: The University is launching a new scholarship program to alleviate up to $1,800 of housing costs for first-year dormitory residents in the 2023-24 academic year. 


Looking Back: NASA selected the UT High Resolution X-Ray Computed Tomography Facility as an inaugural facility for planetary science research, providing funding to the lab and promoting nationwide collaboration with other scientists. 

Looking Forward: The self-driving rideshare company Cruise will continue to expand its services into Austin, making traveling by car more efficient while maintaining safe conditions for pedestrians and cyclists — a concern for some who worry about the safety of automated vehicles.

Student Government 

Looking Back: The Dean of Students made significant changes to UT Senate bylaws that impact recruiting efforts and the legislation students can propose. The changes raised objections from student leaders who advocated for their inclusion on these major decisions.

Looking Forward: Student Government will continue to lead initiatives to combat the Texas legislature’s anti-DEI efforts, proposing legislation showing their commitment to maintaining DEI on campus. 

Crime & Public Safety

Looking Back: Austin Police Department officer shortages prompted the deployment of Department of Public Safety state troopers, a decision made without city council consultation leading to some community concern over if their authority differs. 

Looking Forward: Austin residents will vote between two police oversight ordinances in the upcoming May 6 election; Prop A expands the Office of Police Oversight, which oversees Austin Police Department conduct, while Prop B limits it.


Looking Back: In February, the Austin City Council announced a new partnership with local universities, including UT, that will explore and investigate possible solutions to the affordable student housing shortage around university campuses. 

Looking Forward: The final design for Project Connect will be finalized in May by the Austin City Council. Upon approval and once constructed, the new line would connect Downtown Austin to high-traveled spots in the city, including UT campus.