• Campus carry bill sent to House floor for review

    The House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee approved its campus carry bill Tuesday for review on the House floor.  

    HB 937 would allow licensed hand gun carriers to carry concealed handguns on campus grounds and buildings. Certain facilities, such as hospitals, pre-schools and grade schools, sports events and residence halls, would be exempt from the policy.

    The Senate passed its campus carry bill earlier this month, which is also set to be heard in the House. The House version of the bill adopted amendments passed on the Senate version, including measures preventing open carry on college campuses.

    On March 19, the bill was first heard in committee and left pending. At the hearing, UT students and faculty, including Student Government Vice-President elect Rohit Mandalapu, spoke in opposition of the bill.

    “All of these people are against concealed carry on campus, and we ask why this decision is being made here in this room instead of at the institutions themselves, when we’re the ones being affected by this,” Mandalapu said at the hearing.

    The house has not yet announced a second reading date for HB 937.  

  • UTPD disarms student in SAC, campus is secure

    UTPD officers disarmed a student with self-harm intentions in the Student Activities Center just after 12:30 p.m. Monday. The campus is secure and no one was injured, according to UTPD spokeswoman Cindy Posey.

    If you or anyone you know is considering self-harm, here are University and community resources:

    • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
    • UT Counseling and Mental Health Center Crisis Line: 512-471-2255
    • Behavior Concerns Advice Line: 512-232-5050.

    For more resources and for information about the University's mental health programs, click here.

  • The Daily Texan wins TAPME’s Newspaper of the Year award

    WACO — The Daily Texan won “Newspaper of the Year” in the college and university daily category at the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors meeting this weekend.

    TAPME awards recognize “outstanding journalism as practiced by the state’s daily newspapers.”

    On Saturday, the Texan also received regional recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists, which gave top honors to the newspaper’s coverage of the one-year anniversary of the West, Texas, fertilizer plant explosion.

    Former senior reporter Madlin Mekelburg and former Life&Arts editor Hannah Smothers, who wrote the anniversary package together, won best feature writing in the large college category.

    Judges complimented the package’s wide variety of sources and the level of detail in the reporting. In the week before the anniversary, Texan reporters and photographers spent three consecutive days in West, interviewing families in the frames of their newly constructed homes and exploring the properties surrounding the former plant.

    To read Mekelburg’s coverage of West’s rebuilding efforts, click here. To read Smothers’ story about West High School’s annual prom, held despite the fact that a new school has not been constructed, click here.

  • Updated: AT&T service being restored

    (Update 1:55 p.m.): Most, if not all AT&T cell phone service has been repaired, according to Austin-Travis County EMS. 

    (Original 12:57 p.m.): AT&T's cell phone network is down in the Austin area. The network is currently being restored, but some AT&T users are still experiencing outages and spotty service.

    A cut fiber optic line caused the outage, according to the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management. Affected phones with AT&T service do not say “No Service,” but users are not able to make phone calls or send text messages. FaceTime Audio calls and iMessages still work. The outage also affects other mobile devices, such as iPads, that use AT&T’s 4G network.

    People began reporting service problems around 10:20 a.m., according to Wesburn Henry, a supervisor at an AT&T call center. Henry said AT&T doesn’t have a specific time for when the Austin-area network will be working again.

    About 16,000 people reported outages between 9 a.m. and noon today, according to downdetector.com, a website that tracks technology failures.

    Outages have also been reported in Houston, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, San Marcos, Sandy, Kyle, Leander and Georgetown.

    Austin-Travis County EMS and other emergency services providers reminded people who need to call 911 to use landline phones.

  • Report: OU chant is widespread, likely originated at national SAE event

    The racist chant Sigma Alpha Epsilon members at the University of Oklahoma sang on video was not restricted to the OU chapter, and is likely widespread throughout many chapters of the fraternity, according to the results of an OU investigation released Friday.

    “[The chant] was learned by chapter members on a national leadership cruise sponsored by the national organization of Sigma Alpha Epsilon,” the report, released after an OU investigation, said. “Over time, the chant was formalized in the local SAE chapter and was taught to pledges as part of the formal and informal pledgeship process."

    Earlier this month, several members of the OU SAE chapter were captured on video singing about how black men would never be allowed to join SAE. The video, which also referenced lynching, immediately went viral. Less than a day after the video’s release, OU President David Boren severed ties between the university and the fraternity, ordered the fraternity house shut down and expelled two members he said had a “leadership role” in singing the chant.

    The video’s release also prompted an investigation at UT, after rumors spread online that UT’s SAE chapter taught its members similar chants.

    “Rumors also are circulating that a chant similar to the one at OU has been traditional in the UT chapter of SAE,” President William Powers Jr. said in a statement. “Our dean of students said Monday she is looking into this matter as is standard practice in such cases.”

    So far, the University has not responded to the results of the OU investigation. The national SAE chapter released a statement confirming that the chant was likely taught during the national leadership cruise four years ago.

    The leadership retreat lasts six days, and Executive Director Blaine Ayers said he assumed the chant was shared during a social gathering rather than one of the leadership seminars.

    In a statement, Ayers said SAE’s internal investigation findings were similar to the conclusions from the OU investigation.

    “We remain committed to identifying and rooting out racist behavior from SAE, and we are actively investigating all of our local organizations to determine whether there are issues in any other location,” Ayers said. “We intend to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and this will take time...but our investigation to date shows no evidence the song was widely shared across the broader organization.”