• Students protest Islamophobic advertisement in The Daily Texan

    A group of students gathered Wednesday to protest a full-page advertisement of an anti-Islam organization that ran in The Daily Texan on Monday.

    The advertisement was paid for by the David Horowitz Freedom Center and features several photos of deceased persons overlaid with images of rifle crosshairs, alleging that their deaths were connected by Islamic violence.

    The individuals convened on the Walter Cronkite Plaza to protest the decision of The Daily Texan to run this ad and demanded a formal apology on behalf of the paper’s staff. The students were a group of individuals representing no particular organization, biomedical engineering senior Ehssan Faraji said. 

    Faraji, along with several other students spoke at the protest, and English assistant professor Snehal Shingavi offered insight on the history of racist publications in The Daily Texan.

    Editor-in-chief Susannah Jacob and managing editor Trey Scott made a statement together to the protesters. Jacob offered her personal apologies for the offense the advertisement created. Both invited parties interested in discussing a change in advertisement policy to join them in The Daily Texan’s office.

  • Senate committee approves consolidated UT System school, moves to full Senate

    A bill to consolidate UT System institutions in the Rio Grande Valley will go before the Texas Senate after a committee unanimously approved it Wednesday.

    The bill, authored by state Sens. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville; Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo; and Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, would combine UT-Brownsville, UT-Pan American and the Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen into one institution.

    "Today is an important first step in ensuring the Valley receives its first Tier One research university," Lucio said in a statement.

    The bill would give the consolidated institution access to the Permanent University Fund, a $1.3 billion state endowment that allocates money to institutions in the UT and Texas A&M systems. The Regional Academic Health Center would become a medical school under the proposal.

    Currently, UT-Brownsville and UT-Pan American are the only UT System institutions that do not receive money from the fund.

    The Legislature must approve the new university by a two-thirds vote in both houses for the institution to gain access to the fund.

    The UT System is currently committing $100 million over 10 years for the prospective medical school and will seek $10 million in annual state funds for the consolidation.

  • TSM board votes to cut wages, reimbursements but maintain print schedule

    The Texas Student Media Board voted to maintain its five-days-per-week print schedule for The Daily Texan but significantly cut wages for all staff and tuition reimbursements for student managers for the upcoming year at its meeting Friday. 

    Though the initial budget recommendation submitted included a revised four-day weekly printing schedule for The Daily Texan and significant publication cuts to The Texas Travesty, those cuts were not included in the approved budget. 

    Daily Texan adviser Doug Warren announced he was resigning effective in June, a decision he partially attributed to frustration he felt with the management of the board. 

    The Texas Student Media Board oversees the operation of five media properties, including The Daily Texan, The Texas Travesty, KVRX, TSTV and Cactus yearbook. Seven of the 10 voting members on the board have held their positions for less than six months. 

    One major theme of the meeting was the lack of available data on the potential repercussions of cutting down The Daily Texan’s print publication to four days a week. Jalah Goette, Texas Student Media director, said advertising revenue was not necessarily tied to the number of printing days, and instead was linked to circulation numbers, but was unable to provide specific data to bolster that claim. 

    Robert Quigley, journalism senior lecturer, addressed the issue specifically.

    “Has there been enough research done to determine whether we should cut a day?” he asked. 

    “I did what I was asked to do,” Goette said in response.

    Current Daily Texan editor-in-chief Susannah Jacob also emphasized the lack of hard data available. 

    “One less day a week is one less day to sell ads in the paper,” Jacob said. “I’m looking for a number.” 

    The meeting, which began with a one-hour discussion by the executive board and then reconvened as a meeting of the full board of operating trustees, included several moments of heated arguments.

    At one point, accounting lecturer David Verduzco, voting member and chairman of the executive board, asked Warren for his thoughts on potential revenue generators for the newspaper. Warren said he had listed all of his ideas in a report he submitted earlier this week. 

    “Not everyone here gets the report,” Verduzco said.

    Warren replied tersely.

    “Not everyone here votes.” 

    Another question was that of alumni support. Several former Daily Texan staffers raised money to place an ad in the newspaper, which ran Wednesday. They also circulated an online petition that gained a few hundred signatures and opened a Twitter account under the name “Friends of the Texan.”

    Board president Paepin Goff, a communication studies senior, asked if any efforts had been made in recent years to garner financial support from alumni. No one present at the meeting mentioned any specific initiatives. 

    Adrian Matthys, director of development for the University Development Office, said Thursday that he did not know of any attempts the board had made to work with the development office. 

    “We’ve never done anything on behalf of TSM, or The Daily Texan, for alumni donations,” Matthys said. “We would be happy to work with the organization.” 

    Texas Travesty editor Katherine Swope, a psychology senior, said as soon as the print production of the Travesty was threatened, there was an outpouring of alumni support.

    “There are people who have jobs today because of their experience at the Travesty,” Swope said. 

    Dave Player, board member and law student, asked if this support was a realistic source for short-term revenue. 

    “How do we turn this alumni enthusiasm into revenue, immediately?” Player asked.