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

All content by Sami Sparber

Management response to Demands for Reforms in The Daily Texan Newsroom

From The Daily Texan’s fall and summer 2020 management team: Earlier this afternoon, The Daily Texan’s Diversity and Inclusion Board released a statement calling for the Texan and its parent...

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Elizabeth Warren taught at Texas Law in the 1980s. Here’s what we found in her faculty file.

Sami Sparber and Chad Lyle February 18, 2020

AUSTIN - In the 1980s, before she ran for president or was elected to the United States Senate, Elizabeth Warren was a professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Law. Warren’s time...


State legislature or board led by Gov. Abbott can remove Confederate plaque in Capitol, Texas AG says

Sami Sparber December 4, 2018

It’s up to the Texas Legislature, Preservation Board or Historical Commission to remove a plaque inside the Capitol honoring the Confederacy, Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a legal opinion published...


Failed bills make comebacks ahead of 86th Texas legislative session

Sami Sparber December 3, 2018

Legislators have begun filing hundreds of bills they want to pass next year with the opening day of the 86th Texas Legislature less than six weeks away. While some of the bills tackle new issues, several...


Flavored Juul pod prices spike following suspension of retail orders

Will Kosinski and Sami Sparber November 27, 2018

Students hooked on mango Juul pods must now pay more to get their nicotine fix in West Campus after Juul Labs announced Nov. 13 it stopped accepting retail orders for its flavored pods.The decision, part...


FDA restricts flavored tobacco products to combat youth access and appeal

Will Kosinski and Sami Sparber November 19, 2018

In an effort to curb “astonishing” increases in smoking and vaping among young people, the Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday a series of restrictions on flavored tobacco products. The...


UT Aluma makes history in Harris County ‘Black Girl Magic’ campaign

Sami Sparber November 16, 2018

In the Nov. 6 general election, UT alumna Latosha Lewis Payne made history as one of the 17 African-American women who ran for judgeships in Harris County — and won. Of the 19 women in the campaign,...

Voter turnout soars in 2018 Texas midterm election

Sami Sparber November 8, 2018

At both county and state levels, this year’s voter turnout surpassed that of the 2014 and 2010 Texas midterms and came close to that of the 2016 presidential election. In 2014, 41 percent...


Kathie Tovo holds District 9 city council position

Meara Isenberg and Sami Sparber November 7, 2018

Incumbent council member Kathie Tovo defeated three challengers in Tuesday’s election to once again represent District 9 on the Austin City Council. “It’s really been an extraordinary...

Three in 4 Texas voters say they will vote in midterms, according to UT/TT poll

Sami Sparber November 1, 2018

As of Wednesday, more than 3,695,100 Texans have voted in the counties where 78 percent of registered voters in the state live, according to the Texas Tribune. The turnout has surpassed the total votes...


Nearly 95 percent of Travis County is registered to vote, setting ‘modern-day record’

Sami Sparber October 30, 2018

Travis County set a “modern-day record” for voter registration ahead of the Texas midterms, said Bruce Elfant, Travis County tax assesor-collector. As of Oct. 26, 94.5 percent of eligible...


Austin is all paws in when it comes to combating graffiti

Sami Sparber October 26, 2018

“Barksy, you’ve been caught red-pawed,” an Austin police officer said to the four-legged mastermind behind a recent string of graffiti tags.  The pooch is one of the Austin Animal...


LGBTQ candidates hope to bring diversity to state, local government

Sami Sparber October 22, 2018

If elected, Lupe Valdez will be the state’s first openly gay and Latina governor. And she said it’s time for Texas’ leadership to reflect the communities they serve.  “This...


Democrat Sheryl Cole calls for better public education, reproductive rights in bid for Texas House

Sami Sparber October 19, 2018

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of profiles of candidates running for state House District 46. As a mother of three and a former member of the Austin City Council, Sheryl Cole said she...


Mayoral candidate Alan Pease wants to bring Austinites together

Sami Sparber October 16, 2018

After attending nearly every Austin City Council meeting for the last eight years, automotive blogger Alan Pease said the Council does not tackle affordability and transportation effectively. Pease said...


Mayor candidate Alex Strenger: ‘#BuildTheDome’

Sami Sparber October 11, 2018

As a pedicab driver, Alex Strenger said he hears the concerns of Austin residents firsthand. To address those concerns, he is running for mayor of Austin. “I’m directly in touch with the...


Planning to vote in November? Make sure to register today

Sami Sparber October 9, 2018

Today is the last day to register to vote in the 2018 Texas midterms.  Texas set a new voter registration record of 15.6 million people ahead of the upcoming election, said Texas Secretary...


Incumbent council member Kathie Tovo: ‘More progress to be made’

Sami Sparber October 4, 2018

Editorial note: This article is part of a series on local candidates.  Although she accomplished a lot during her first two terms on the Austin City Council, incumbent council member Kathie Tovo...


City Council candidate Linda O’Neal: Keep Austin affordable (and creative)

Sami Sparber October 3, 2018

High school teacher Linda O’Neal isn’t running for the Austin City Council because she wants to. Rather, O’Neal said the job — and the city — needs her. “I’m...


City Council candidate Danielle Skidmore plans to solve Austin’s ‘transportation crisis’

Sami Sparber October 2, 2018

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of profiles on the candidates running to represent District 9 on the Austin City Council. If elected to the Austin City Council, transportation engineer...


Gov. Abbott, sheriff Lupe Valdez face off in Gubernatorial Debate

Sami Sparber September 29, 2018

Incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez presented differing visions for Texas’ future during a debate Friday night at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library...


FAC lines too long? Head to the PCL during early voting

Sami Sparber September 19, 2018

The Perry-Castañeda Library will function as a second polling location during early voting and on Election Day following a unanimous vote Tuesday by the Travis County Commissioner’s Court. Citing...


H-E-B to open Austin tech facility in 2019

Sami Sparber September 13, 2018

Students hunting for work in Austin after graduation will be able to apply for employment at a new H-E-B technology facility, set for completion in the spring. Last week the San Antonio-based company...


Planning on voting in November? Make sure to register by Oct. 9

Sami Sparber September 12, 2018

Chemistry junior Maya Patel grew up with immigrant parents who couldn’t vote in U.S. elections and saw firsthand the importance of participating in democracy. She now dedicates her time to registering...


Dell Medical School, City of Austin collaborate to improve community health

Sami Sparber September 7, 2018

A new partnership between the Dell Medical School and the City of Austin’s Open Data Team will bridge the gap between data gatherers and medical researchers in the city, with the aims of improving...

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Travis County to debut new voting system in 2019

Sami Sparber September 6, 2018

By November 2019, voters in Travis County will cast ballots using a new voting system. The ExpressVote system, which combines aspects of both electronic and paper ballot voting, cost the county $8.16...


City installs Accessible Pedestrian Signals along Guadalupe Street

Sami Sparber September 6, 2018

For UT students who are visually impaired, crossing the streets along the edge of campus can involve navigating complicated and busy intersections, irregular traffic cycles and unfamiliar areas —...


Abbott, Valdez to finally face off in Sept. 28 debate

Sami Sparber September 4, 2018

After weeks of back-and-forth, Lupe Valdez, the Democratic nominee for governor, agreed Thursday to debate Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Sept. 28 in Austin. Although Abbott RSVP’d to the Austin...


Longhorn Alumni Band headed to France for 75th D-Day Memorial Parade

Sami Sparber August 31, 2018

Five words — “once in a lifetime opportunity” — best describe the Longhorn Alumni Band’s upcoming trip to France to march in the 75th D-Day Memorial Parade, said LHAB president-elect...


Russian interference in 2016 prompts Texas, Travis County to secure voter registration databases

Sami Sparber August 30, 2018

In light of allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, state and local officials are securing voter registration databases from potential threats ahead of the upcoming November...


Semester in Review: looking back, looking forward

CRIME: Looking forward Meechaiel Criner’s trial is set to begin July 9. Criner was indicted by a grand jury for capital murder in connection with the 2016 death of dance freshman Haruka Weiser. Looking...


Texas community college women aren’t getting the kind of birth control they want, UT report finds

Sami Sparber May 4, 2018

Most Texas female community college students do not have access to their preferred method of birth control, according to a recent study conducted by UT’s Population Research Center. The study...


Thinking of renting an electric scooter? Pay attention to these new guidelines

Sami Sparber April 27, 2018

As city officials discuss how to manage the recent influx of dockless electric scooters in Austin, both UT and the Texas State Preservation Board have taken steps to enforce regulations regarding scooter...


US Senate race between Cruz and O’Rourke “too close to call,” poll finds

Sami Sparber April 23, 2018

The Texas U.S. Senate race between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke is too close to call, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday. Forty-seven percent of...


Latest LGBTQ snub highlights generational tensions between Texas GOP voters

Sami Sparber April 18, 2018

Only 32 percent of Alec Lucas’ fellow Texas Republicans think he should have the right to get married, according to a 2017 UT/Texas Tribune poll. But Lucas, the first openly gay president of UT College...


Governor Abbott asks Trump administration to safeguard NAFTA provisions, protect Texas economy

Sami Sparber April 13, 2018

Finance junior Katherine Zingerman said she has not thought much about buying a car after graduation because she plans on living in a big city. “Owning a car in that kind of environment just doesn’t...


President Trump deploys troops to U.S.-Mexico border

Sami Sparber April 11, 2018

In an effort to stop illegal immigration into the country, President Donald Trump decided last week to deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border. “The situation at the border has...

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Opponents of Senate Bill 4 ask federal appeals court to reconsider recent ruling

Sami Sparber April 6, 2018

After the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed most of Senate Bill 4, commonly known as the Sanctuary Cities Bill, to go into effect last month, immigrant advocates promised the fight against the proposed...

Reinstating citizenship question to 2020 census could hurt Texas politically, economically

Sami Sparber April 4, 2018

When the Trump administration announced on March 26 that the 2020 census questionnaire will ask all U.S. households whether they are citizens or not, health and society junior Berenice Ramirez did not...


Texas House report denounces bathroom bill, says it poses threat to Amazon HQ2 bid

Sami Sparber March 23, 2018

In a report released last week, the Texas House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness condemned last session’s “bathroom bill,” saying it may hurt Austin’s bid to become...


Lupe Valdez, Andrew White advance to runoff in Democratic primary for governor

Sami Sparber March 8, 2018

Although Lupe Valdez and Andrew White led the pack in the crowded Democratic primary for governor, neither candidate was able to secure the majority of the vote in Tuesday’s election. Come May 22,...


Travis County voter turnout doubles in 2018 Democratic primary

Sami Sparber March 8, 2018

In Travis County, voter turnout in the Democratic primary more than doubled since the state’s last midterm election year in 2014. In the 2014 Democratic primary, Travis County had a voter...


The race for the State Capitol: Who to keep an eye on in the Texas gubernatorial primary

Sami Sparber February 27, 2018

With the gubernatorial primary election less than two weeks away, pollsters and pundits agree Gov. Greg Abbott doesn’t face much competition from the Republican ballot. However, of the nine candidates...

US Senators propose bill to address sexual abuse at universities, hold leaders accountable

Sami Sparber February 23, 2018

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including Texas Republican John Cornyn, introduced legislation last week holding public universities accountable for sexual abuse committed against students. The...

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Trump signs off on nearly $90 billion of disaster funding that will help Harvey victims

Sami Sparber February 16, 2018

For Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey, more substantial federal disaster funding is helpful, but long overdue. On Feb. 9, President Donald Trump signed into law a budget bill allocating $89.3 billion...


Gov. Abbott announces new plan to fight sexual misconduct at the Texas State Capitol

Sami Sparber February 16, 2018

Journalism senior Christine Vanderwater thought she knew what to expect when she accepted a full-time position as a legislative aid for a Texas State representative last year. Handling constituent cases,...


Republican–backed higher education bill seeks to protect free speech on college campuses

Sami Sparber February 9, 2018

The 590-page higher education bill currently making its way through Congress comes with, as expected, lots of controversy. The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform...


At least 49 openly LGBTQ candidates are running for office in 2018, setting a new state record

Sami Sparber February 1, 2018

At least 49 openly LGBTQ Texans are running for public office this year, each vying for spots at the federal, state and local levels. The turnout is unprecedented — roughly three times higher than...

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Female candidates aim to end dry spell of electing new women to Congress from Texas

Sami Sparber January 22, 2018

Nearly 50 Texas women are running for Congress this year, each hoping to end the state’s 22-year dry spell of electing new women to serve in Washington. Motivated by a combination of national...


Trump administration decision could force 36,000 Salvadorans to leave Texas

Sami Sparber January 19, 2018

Biology senior Marco Medina and his family have been paying close attention to the TV, shushing each other and turning the volume up whenever they hear three words: Temporary Protected Status. For months,...

Gov. Abbott proclaims January Human Trafficking Prevention Month in Texas

Sami Sparber January 18, 2018

On Jan. 5, Gov. Greg Abbott proclaimed January 2018 to be Human Trafficking Prevention Month in Texas to emphasize his administration’s commitment to fighting the heinous crime. A 2017 study released...


Tea Time event fosters connections between Asian-American students, faculty

Sami Sparber December 8, 2017

Out of her five professors, business freshman Lynn Huynh said only one is a person of color. Seeking exposure to faculty and graduate students of a background similar to her own, Huynh decided to attend...


Stand Up for Mental Health event promotes healthy stress management methods

Sami Sparber December 6, 2017

For a little more than hour, a huge black poster on the West Mall lit up with stress-reducing strategies in fluorescent writing Tuesday afternoon.  The colorful display was the focal point of the...


Four faculty members named AAAS fellows

Sami Sparber December 1, 2017

Four UT-Austin faculty members were recently recognized for their work in advancing science, according to a UT press release.  The American Association for the Advancement of Science, an international...


Great American SmokeOut seeks to end smoking among students, faculty

Sami Sparber November 15, 2017

Playing into Texans’ love for Mexican food, UT’s Tobacco Free Campus, or TFC, program offered T-shirts, pins and phone wallets emblazoned with the motto “Tacos, not Tobacco” to...


Attorney speaks to UT law students about foster care reform

Sami Sparber November 8, 2017

When it comes to reforming the foster care system, attorney Stephen Dixon said state governments have a legal obligation to protect foster children’s right to “healthy childhood development.” Dixon,...


Campus Environmental Center hosts Trash to Treasure Halloween sale

Sami Sparber November 1, 2017

The Student Activity Center lawn bustled with life as makeshift thrifters eagerly sifted through gently used objects sold for $1 apiece at the Campus Environmental Center’s Trash to Treasure Halloween...


UT Libraries prepares to debut new website

Sami Sparber October 27, 2017

When students visit the UT Libraries website on Nov. 6, they may be surprised to encounter a completely redesigned homepage. Travis Willmann, UT Libraries communications officer, said the UT library...


TexNet allows public to track earthquakes in real time

Sami Sparber October 25, 2017

As Texas experiences more earthquakes each year, concerned citizens can view seismic activity in real time by utilizing the TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program, the state’s earthquake tracking system...


Editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast speaks at UT

Sami Sparber October 18, 2017

Hardly two minutes into his presentation Tuesday, John Avlon, editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, granted journalism sophomore Fatima Espejo’s wish and dropped the now notorious F-word: “fake...


UT chemists awarded $2 million grant from National Institutes of Health

Sami Sparber October 13, 2017

For chemistry professor Richard Crooks, what began as a casual inquiry over beers has inspired his trajectory outside the classroom for the last 18 months. “My brother is a critical care physician,...


UT alumnus wins 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Sami Sparber October 4, 2017

UT alumnus Michael Young was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday for his research toward identifying a gene that determines the circadian rhythms of living things.  Young’s...


UT celebrates grand opening of Engineering Education and Research Center

Sami Sparber September 29, 2017

An idea conceived more than 10 years ago became a reality at the Engineering Education and Research Center’s grand opening Thursday. The Cockrell School of Engineering’s new 430,000-square-foot...


Engineering professor receives UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award

Sami Sparber September 14, 2017

Assistant engineering professor Paola Passalacqua is one of seven UT faculty members selected to receive a 2017 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, the highest teaching honor granted by the UT System...


20th annual Austin Museum Day fuses past and future

Sami Sparber September 13, 2017

Take a second and picture a museum — it’s probably old, dusty and full of memorabilia preserving the past. But for Austin Museum Day’s 20th anniversary this Sunday, organizers are focusing...

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