• Westboro Baptist Church not to be allowed on UT's campus tomorrow, UTPD says

    If the Westboro Baptist Church arrives in Austin tomorrow, they will not be allowed to protest on UT’s campus.

    The Church’s current agenda shows it intends to pickett and protest Wednesday morning at the Texas Capitol, the University campus and the Camp Mabry Texas National Guard base. Listed as a hate-group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Westboro is an unaffiliated Baptist church from Topeka, Kan. that has gained notoriety over the last decade for protesting at military funerals, engaging in anti-semitic protests and aiding actions against gay, lesbian, transgender and queer people. 

    The church has a reputation for not arriving at scheduled picketing protests, however, and may not appear. 

    Cindy Posey, spokeswoman for UTPD, said it was within UT policy to prevent Westboro from entering campus.

    “Only UT Austin students, faculty and staff are permitted to hold events on campus,” Posey said. “Consistent with our policy, UTPD will not allow external organizations, including [Westboro], to protest on campus. This policy is consistent with the reasonable time, place and manner requirements of the U.S. Constitution."

    Journalism senior Cody Permenter, who started one of several Facebook groups for counter-protests when Westboro arrives in Austin, is helping to put together a counter-protest at the Texas Capitol. 

    “The intent of the protest is to get people who feel they have been targeted by this hate group a chance to go out there and express their feelings in a manner of love, compassion and peace,” Permenter said. “The reason for this rally is to shine some light into the darkness of their hate.”

    Permenter said he believes Westboro still has a right to free speech, however, and said he hopes students avoid confronting or getting too close to the church members. 

  • Perry adds abortion to special session's agenda

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry added abortion regulation to the special session's agenda. 

    Four bills have already been filed in the special session on abortion. The bills would require abortion facilities to recieve extra certicification, ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and further regulate abortion pills. 

    "In Texas, we value all life, and we’ve worked to cultivate a culture that supports the birth of every child,” Perry said in a statement. “We have an obligation to protect unborn children."

    Along with abortion, Perry also added legislation relating to establishing a mandatory life sentence with parole for capital felonies committed by 17-year-olds.  Perry added transportation funding to the session's agenda.

  • Princeton University evacuates campus following bomb threat

    Princeton University is evacuating its campus following an "unspecified" bomb threat to multiple campus buildings.

    The university posted the following message on their website earlier today:

    "There has been a bomb threat to multiple unspecified campus buildings. Please evacuate the campus and all University offices immediately and go home unless otherwise directed by your supervisor. Public Safety officers and Princeton Police will direct drivers leaving the campus and those without cars will be directed to evacuation sites. You will receive an update later today. Do not return to campus for any reason until advised otherwise."

    Last fall, UT evacuated all campus buildings following a bomb threat. No bombs were found in the investigation. For several months after, however, multiple universites received bomb threats that caused evacuations.

  • The Morning Texan: Temperature rises, Fisher v. Texas and more

    Tuesday will be a scorcher — today’s high is 96, and the heat index is as high as 101 degrees, according to the national weather service. Some clouds may roll in later in the week, but for the most part, the weather is not changing much this week.

    Here is some morning reading:

    Yesterday’s most read article online: UT is awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court of the United States on Fisher v. Texas, a case that will decided the admissions police of UT and possibly colleges nationwide. The case has to do with affirmative action and race-conscious admissions, and a decision could come as early as this Thursday.

    In case you missed it: UT has added five classes to its Course Transformation Program, a program that restructures entry-level classes to make them more interactive. It’s one of many parts of the school’s initiative to increase retention rates and four-year graduation rates.

    What you have to read: Yesterday, a plane that was Austin-bound emergency landed in Phoenix after someone made an unspecified threat. Everyone on the plane was interviewed. The details about the incident are few, but no seems to have been hurt.