Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

The Texan Recap: Windowless Bedroom Ban, Iliza Shlesinger

Editor’s Note: This podcast was originally published on Spotify on September 17, 2023. 

In this episode of the weekly recap, audio editor Aislyn Gaddis talks with a Texan reporter about the new Austin City Council resolution requiring windows in all newly constructed bedrooms. Plus, hear about a conversation the Texan had with award-winning comedian Iliza Shlesinger.

Reported by Sarah Brager and Isabella Zeff. Hosted and supervised by Aislyn Gaddis. Edited by Jack Lewellyn. Cover art by Emma Berke. Music by Top Flow Productions.


*upbeat music*


Aislyn Gaddis: The Austin City Council bans new construction of windowless bedrooms and comedian Iliza Shlesinger gives The Daily Texan a Q&A.


I’m your host this week, Aislyn Gaddis and this is The Texan Recap.


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Aislyn: The Austin City Council approved a resolution on Thursday requiring access to natural light in all newly constructed bedrooms in Austin. Senior News Reporter Sarah Brager is here to tell us about it. Thanks for being here, Sarah.


Sarah Brager: Of course. Thanks for having me.


Aislyn: So windowless bedrooms are really common in Austin, especially in West Campus. Why was this previously allowed?


Sarah: Yeah, this is a common question. And it really comes down to a few words in the International Building Code, which the city of Austin follows for its building regulations. So there’s a specific section of the IBC in reference to lighting that states, every space intended for human occupancy shall be provided with natural light by means of exterior glazed openings, which is just a way of saying windows, or shall be provided with artificial light. 


So the key word here is or because it allows builders to choose one or the other. Now, a lot of cities have amended this section of the IBC to replace the word or with and, which would require access to natural light in all bedrooms. But the city of Austin never did this. And because West Campus is a high-density area builders took advantage of this loophole by constructing apartment buildings that are deeper and then can therefore fit more windowless rooms along the interior. 


Aislyn: So this initiative against windowless bedrooms actually started at UT with a thesis project. Could you tell me about that?


Sarah: Yeah, so a lot of members of the UT and Austin community have been concerned about this for a while now, but University alumnus Roosh Bhosale actually researched windowless housing for his plan to thesis last year and found a strong connection between windowless bedrooms and poor wellbeing. He worked closely with Professor of Architecture, Juan Miró, and between the two of them, they were able to collect a lot of data and testimonials from students living in windowless rooms in West Campus. 


Bhosale told me when he measured well-being, he looked at psychological, social and physical factors, and he found that all of these were worse for students living without a window in their bedroom. After Bhosale presented his thesis in the spring, his findings started to gain a lot of attention. And UT’s undergraduate architecture student council actually used a lot of that data to develop a petition against windowless housing this summer.


Aislyn: And then what happened from there?


Sarah: So from there, the UASC used the data and testimonials to spread awareness about windowless housing, and specifically how common it is for students in West Campus. According to data collected from Miró, over 50% of bedrooms and the Villas on Rio are windowless, as are about 35% of bedrooms in the Ion apartments, and that list goes on. So the UASC created a petition and on August 29 opened it up for anyone to sign. Kayla Quilantang, the Equity and Inclusion Director of the UASC told me they gathered over 800 signatures in three days. She said the UASC then sent a letter to the city council on September 1 with those signatures attached urging the council to ban windowless bedrooms.


Austin council member Zo Qadri, who represents the West Campus area, then presented a resolution to the city council stating that all newly constructed bedrooms must have access to natural light, and the city council unanimously approved the resolution at their meeting on September 14.


Aislyn: And then I do want to clarify for listeners that this resolution doesn’t do anything about existing windowless bedrooms. It just prevents the construction of new ones. But does this resolution go into effect immediately? And how might that affect buildings currently being constructed, like say Rise at West Campus?


Sarah: Yeah, so it’s important to note that all existing windowless rooms are not affected by this resolution. And it’s unclear as of now when this change will take effect. Councilmember Qadri said he’s going to be working with the city staff on a timeline and he’ll be making sure this happens as soon as possible. But there’s no clear date at the moment. 


And from what I understand buildings that are currently under construction will likely be grandfathered in and will not have to scrap their windowless bedrooms. But all new building designs across the city must include access to natural light and therefore cannot be windowless.


Aislyn: That was senior news reporter Sarah Brager. Thanks for being here. 


Sarah: Of course. 


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Aislyn: Award-winning comedian Iliza Shlesinger recently performed at Bass Concert Hall and gave the Texan a Q&A. Life & Arts General Reporter Isabella Zeff spoke to her before Friday’s show and she’s here to tell us more. Thanks for joining me, Isabella. 


Isabella Zeff: Thanks for having me. 


Aislyn: Iliza told you about a really funny, probably a little bit awkward, childhood memory. Could you tell me about that?


Isabella: Yeah, so we were talking about early memories of her realizing she’s funny or kind of realizing what funny is. And she told me that her mom when she was two or three had these Groucho Marx glasses, the glasses and the big nose and the mustache. And she said that when Eliza was a toddler, her mom was like, you know, pointing to the glasses, like funny telling her like, this is what funny is, and then kind of fast forward, she went to a doctor’s appointment, and her doctor had the big glasses and the big nose and the big mustache. And she pointed to it with her mom and was like, funny, I’m so sure this is kind of her first her earliest memory of realizing what it meant to be funny. 


Aislyn: A lot of Iliza’s comedy focuses on specific feminine experiences and feelings. What did she tell you about that?


Isabella: She said a big part of stand-up is realizing that whatever thought she’s having whatever feeling she’s having, she should say it out loud. And that she might have a platform, she might be funny, but that doesn’t make her special or different from other women. And so everything that she’s thinking and feeling are probably things that other women are thinking and feeling too. And something else she said is that especially if she’s feeling something that she’s ashamed of or something she feels bad about. That’s something she definitely wants to include in her stand-up and talk about because it’s something women probably need to hear that maybe they don’t get anywhere else. 


Aislyn: And how is this tour different from what she’s done in the past?


Isabella: So what she said is that the tour is less about being different and more about this act, just be a pure version of her stand-up and have her act more than ever before. She’s doing exactly what she wants to do. She’s saying exactly what she wants to say. And then it’s just going to be really energetic and be really fun.


Aislyn: And finally, what did she tell you about her future plans?


Isabella: So she’s done so much already, besides just stand up. She’s done books and films and a talk show when all kinds of stuff. And so she said for the future, she still wants to incorporate all of these different mediums and explore all of these different ways of creating art, except in the future, just doing that on an even bigger and better scale. And she talks about having film projects in the works, TV projects that she’s excited about and mainly just wanting to keep creating art in her own way.


Aislyn: That was Life & Arts General Reporter Isabella Zeff. Thanks so much for being here.


Isabella: Thank you. It was great.


Aislyn: And that’s The Texan Recap for the week of September 11. I’m Aislyn Gaddis. 


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Aislyn: The Texan recap is a production of The Daily Texan Audio Department. If you like this episode, make sure you subscribe to The Daily Texan on your streaming platform of choice and follow us on Twitter @texanaudio. This episode was hosted and supervised by me, Aislyn Gaddis, and was edited by Jack Lewellyn. Special thanks to Isabella Zeff and Sarah Brager for their reporting and to Katy Nelson, Mimi Calzada and Chloe Moore for working with me on this project. Cover art is by Emma Berke and music is by Top Flow Productions. To read the news stories in this episode or see more from the Texan, head on over to Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next week!


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About the Contributors
Aislyn Gaddis, Senior Audio Producer
Aislyn is a journalism sophomore from Grapevine, Texas. Currently, she works as a senior audio producer and previously worked on investigative stories for the Texan. She loves to do crosswords and listen to Taylor Swift in her free time.
Sarah Brager, General News Reporter
Sarah is a journalism junior from Buda, Texas. She's currently a senior news reporter, and she previously worked as a life and arts reporter and an opinion columnist. When she's not reporting for the Texan, Sarah loves hiking, drinking outrageous amounts of coffee and doing crossword puzzles.