• Travis County inmate escapes from Brackenridge Medical Center

    An inmate under Travis County custody escaped at 3:30 a.m. June 27 while receiving treatment from the University Medical Center at Brackenridge.

    Thirty-four-year-old Dacious June Parker, also known as Corey Parker, ran from the hospital when the supervising corrections officer left the room. Parker is six-foot-tall black man and 165 pounds. He left the hospital in blue hospital pants and gown, and a hospital worker reported he was heading east of the hospital.

    Parker was scheduled to be transported to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice after he finished medical treatment at Brackenridge. He had been under Travis County custody since Feb. 10, and arrived at the hospital June 23.

    Parker was convicted of a felony offense June 9. The Travis County Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant for his arrest, and set his bond at $100,000. 

    The Travis County Sheriff’s Office asked anyone with information about Parker and his location to call 9-1-1 immediately or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS (512-472-8477).

  • President Fenves announces committee to review Jefferson Davis statue

    Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement Gregory Vincent speaks to media at a June press conference held in front of the Jefferson Davis statue. Vincent addressed vandalism of Confederate statues.
    Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement Gregory Vincent speaks to media at a June press conference held in front of the Jefferson Davis statue. Vincent addressed vandalism of Confederate statues.

    In a press release Tuesday, UT announced that Gregory Vincent, vice president for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, will chair a committee of students, alumni and faculty to review the Jefferson Davis statue on campus.

    While the statue received significant attention during the semester because of the Student Government campaigns of now-President Xavier Rotnofsky and now-Vice President Rohit Mandalapu. They included the removal of the statue as one of their main campaign points.

    The debate around the statue died down as the semester progressed, though. Following the events in Charleston, South Carolina, this past week, in which a white man killed nine black churchgoers during a Bible study, national attention has focused on Confederate iconography and its role in society. 

    This event brought renewed attention to the Davis statue, as Davis was the president of the Confederacy, and Rotnofsky and Mandalapu started a petition Sunday calling for its removal. The petition currently has more than 2,300 signees. 

    Tuesday morning, the statue, along with two other statues of Confederate leaders, was vandalized.

    Fenves tweeted Tuesday that he is aware of student opinion and is looking for solutions.

  • Construction triggers false alarm, evacuation at PCL

    Firefighters and officers responded to a false alarm at the Perry-Castañeda Library on Monday.

    International relationships junior Hasanthi Seth said she was walking when it happened and heard someone pulled the alarm. 

    “I was walking up to the library when the library was being evacuated,” Seth said.  “What I heard was that someone pulled the alarm, and they came to investigate the building.” 

    Travis Willmann, communications officer for the library, said the responders believe no one set off the alarm. Willmann said he believes the construction at the library’s Learning Commons area triggered the alarm.

    “It was a fluky thing,” Willmann said.  “Everything is exposed in there, and someone could have brushed a wire.”

    When it comes to an older building, such as the library, Willmann said problems will occur.

    “We get false alarms — it happens,” Willmann said.  “This is a huge building and sometimes students have pulled things in the past, sometimes its drills, sometimes it is a random electrical problem that occurs.  This is an old building, and, when you get things like that, they can be temperamental.”

    Kailey Moore, an English and theater and dance junior, said she was working in the library and was not happy that she had to evacuate.

    “I have no idea what happened,” Moore said.  “I thought it was stupid to have to leave the building, and I am pissed about it.”

  • Abbott signs proposal eliminating cancer screening funding to Planned Parenthood

    Greg Abbott signed a proposal Saturday that eliminates Planned Parenthood from the state’s cancer screening program to low-income women.

    Despite Abbott signing off on the proposal, Planned Parenthood vowed to keep a presence in Texas. In this plan, lawmakers added a provision to prohibit clinics affiliated with abortion providers from receiving breast and cervical screening funding.

    Because of regions with limited access to medical facilities, some clinics that otherwise would be eliminated may stay if the state cannot find another medical provider. 

    The Breast and Cervical Cancer Screenings provision nixes the last taxpayer dollars Planned Parenthood will receive in Texas.

    The budget plan eliminating Planned Parenthood from the screening program takes effect Sept. 1.

  • Supreme Court upholds Texas' ban on Confederate flag license plates

    In a 5–4 decision Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled Texas is allowed to ban specialty license plates featuring an image of the Confederate flag.

    The Court upheld the state's authority over messages conveyed via specialty plates because they are not considered a private platform for free speech. Instead, the case ruled that license plates fall under government speech and Texas is allowed to choose the messages it supports, 

    The plate was originally proposed in 2013 but was rejected by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, an organization for descendants of ex-Confederate soldiers, then argued the rejection was a violation of their First Amendment rights.

    While Texas can now reject the Confederate flag license plate, other state governments may continue to allow the plates.