Campaigns for Student Government positions will take place in the spring as candidates announce their intent to run at the start of the semester and continue until voting takes place in March. Until then, current Student Body President Alejandrina Guzman and Vice President Micky Wolf will continue work on their major platform points, and other SG members will focus on mental health and representation on campus.
March Primary Elections
The filing deadline for candidates planning to run for a state office in 2018 is today. Gov. Greg Abbott faces several Democratic challengers, vying for their party’s nomination, including Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Andrew White, son of former Gov. Mark White, will be vying for the Democratic nomination in the gubernatorial election. Look for movement in the state attorney general election. Justin Nelson, UT law adjunct professor and Democrat, is running for the office against Republican incumbent Ken Paxton. Early voting runs from Feb. 20 to March 2, and Election Day is March 6.
With the removal and replacement of the majority of bricks laid down on Speedway Mall, the area will continue to be a maze for students in the upcoming semester. Work surrounding Welch Hall will create additional obstacles. Last week, the city also released a list of recommendations for how to improve the Guadalupe Street corridor. The changes will first have to be approved in the spring by the City Council and funding will need to be appropriated for the 2016 Mobility Bond. Here’s a list of the major proposed changes: 1) Replacing one of the car lanes in each direction with bus lanes from Martin Luther King Boulevard to 29th Street 2) Conversion of Nueces into a two-way street 3) Creation of a two-way bike path along 24th Street.
Senate Bill 4
Federal Judge Orlando Garcia is expected to make a ruling on the constitutionality of the “anti-sanctuary cities” law, Senate Bill 4, sometime in the spring. Days before it was originally to go into effect, Garcia blocked the law while lawsuits were litigated. In late September, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, allowed parts of the bill to go into effect. Most prominently, the court temporarily ruled that local jurisdictions could not put a blanket prohibition on cooperation with federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement requests.
Kendrex White Trial
Kendrex White, who was indicted on first-degree murder charge and three counts of aggravated assault by a Travis County grand jury in connection with the May 1 UT campus stabbing attack, has no set trial date. UT student Harrison Brown was killed, and three others were injured in the incident. During his pretrial in September, the prosecutor’s second request for a mental health evaluation of defendant Kendrex White in the case was denied.
Meechaiel Criner Trial
Meechaiel Khalil Criner’s trail is set to begin Feb. 26. Criner was indicted last June on a charge of capital murder in connection to the death of UT dance freshman Haruka Weiser by a Travis County grand jury. The indictment accused Criner of sexually assaulting Weiser and killing her by strangulation, as well as other offenses including attempted kidnapping and robbery. If convicted, Criner will automatically be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years.
UT competing for Los Alamos lab
The UT System will submit a proposal to run the historic Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory today. The lab in New Mexico is renowned for its nuclear research, and winners of the management contract will be announced in the spring. The Board of Regents has invested $4.5 million to create a management contract proposal. But some concerns about running the lab, which has faced nuclear safety issues, arose in November. The UT System will be competing with the Texas A&M and the University of California systems.
Possible Tuition hikes on the horizon
The UT System Board of Regents will decide the future of UT’s tuition in February. UT President Gregory Fenves officially proposed 2 percent tuition increases for the next two years last Monday. Under the proposal, tuition would increase in both the 2018 and 2019 fall semesters by about $100 for in-state undergraduates and by about $370 for non-resident undergraduates. In-state graduate students would pay about $90 more both years, and out-of-state graduate students will pay $180. With state funding cuts, other Texas universities are also looking at tuition increases.