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

Students stage #NOTOURTEXAS demonstration following DCCE dissolution, staff layoffs

Naina Srivastava
Approximately 300 people gathered on Speedway holding signs for “BLACKOUT,” a demonstration organized by the #NOTOURTEXAS movement on Monday. The demonstration follows the University’s dissolution of the Division of Campus and Community Engagement and subsequent layoffs in an effort to comply with Senate Bill 17.

Hundreds of students and staff holding posters filled a section of Speedway in a silent demonstration on Monday to protest the University’s response to Senate Bill 17.

Approximately 300 people attended what was called “BLACKOUT,” which the #NOTOURTEXAS movement organized. The demonstration follows the movement’s first action, posting signs around campus, on Thursday and the University’s dissolution of the Division of Campus and Community Engagement and subsequent staff layoffs. 

According to a Friday Instagram post, the movement emerged to voice frustrations, educate community members and take actionable steps to combat the bill and the University’s response to it. 

An anonymous health and society junior who attended the demonstration said SB 17 affects people of all backgrounds. The movement is a show of solidarity across communities, they said. 

“People aren’t realizing it’s not just an issue for a certain group of people or identity,” said the health and society junior. “It’s very sad that we have to do this, but it’s a beautiful thing that we’re able to come together.”

Most demonstration attendees wore black and white and donned face masks, as encouraged by a Sunday Instagram post to take safety precautions. The post also said to avoid interactions with law enforcement, forget UT Wi-Fi, turn off Bluetooth, cover identifiable features and remain silent for the duration of the demonstration. 

All attendees requested anonymity due to fear of repercussions from the University. 

An anonymous senior said they found security in the sheer number of attendees at the demonstration. They also followed the movement’s safety directions, which they said made them feel safe from potential consequences from the University.

“We do understand there is a risk when you are demonstrating against University policy, government policy (and) Texas policy,” the senior said. “But (it’s) equally important to make sure they know the students who are feeling these impacts are not going to be silent.”

After receiving their acceptance from UT, the senior said they attended a welcome dinner specifically for admitted Black students. The dinner was a major factor in their decision to attend UT, they said. However, they said they’ve since seen programs like the dinner disappear from the University, which prompted them to attend the demonstration.

“It feels like (in) my four years, I watched them regress in their openness to students of color,” the senior said.

A government sophomore who attended the demonstration said they felt the University’s efforts to comply with SB 17 took away valuable support systems. The Multicultural Engagement Center, which the University closed in January, previously gave them a sense of community that they said was “integral to (their) being on campus.”

“The (space) that I find home on in campus is being attacked,” the government sophomore said. “So it’s important to me to use my voice and speak out (about) the things that I’m affected by.”

The University declined to comment.

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About the Contributor
Naina Srivastava, Senior News Reporter & Senior Photographer
Naina is a freshman journalism major from Mountain View, California. She is currently a senior news reporter and senior photographer at the Texan.