Looking back: Spring 2019

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Photo Credit: Zoe Fu | Daily Texan Staff

Texas Basketball

Despite missing out on the NCAA tournament with a 21–16 regular season, an invite to the National Invitational Tournament still gave the Texas men’s basketball team some postseason action. The Longhorns pounced on the opportunity, running the table and winning the school’s second
NIT Championship.

Bike lanes

Following a recommendation from the City’s 2014 Bicycle Plan, the University installed the first official dedicated bike lanes on campus along Manor Road. Throughout the year, members of the Campus Bike Alliance and the Austin biking community pushed for the addition of bike lanes to San Jacinto Boulevard and Speedway Mall to make campus safer for cyclists. 

CapMetro

A Capital Metro bus fatally struck cyclist Anthony John Diaz around 11 p.m. on San Jacinto Boulevard Jan. 28. UT police arrested bus driver Mindi Taylor Stafford in March, charging her with manslaughter and citing her reckless driving as the cause of Diaz’s death. Diaz’s family sued Stafford and her employers for more than $1 million for causing Diaz’s death.

University Center for Women in Law

The University’s Center for Women in Law faced complaints of racism from several employees who have worked there. In the last year, at least seven women of color have quit their positions. The Daily Texan interviewed a student who said she quit her internship at the center because the work environment was hostile toward people of color. The same day the story was published, the executive director of the center resigned from her position.

Love Like Nicky

After Nicky Cumberland’s death in October, the University launched a hazing investigation into the Texas Cowboys. The Office of Student Conduct found evidence of hazing in the fall of 2018 and in previous semesters, including physical brutality, animal cruelty, forced ingestion of unwanted substances and coerced consumption of alcohol. As a result, the Cowboys were suspended for six years, but the suspension’s finalization is still pending.

We're working on our diversity issue

To reflect on the Texan’s past lack of diversity and inclusion efforts, we interviewed some of the first alumni staffers to break the newspaper’s homogenous mold. While writing the story, we spoke with alumni who attended UT ranging from its first years of integration in the late 1950s to the Texan’s election of its first black editor-in-chief in the early 1980s. 

Looking back on the lege

When House Bill 63 by state Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, was introduced during the 86th session it received media attention and support from many lawmakers. HB 63 — which would remove jail time as a penalty for low grade marijuana possession — passed the House of Representatives. However, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he had no intention of introducing it in the Senate, effectively killing the bill.

UT freshman loses military scholarship because he is transgender

Map Pesqueira, a freshman and transgender freshman, lost his military scholarship after President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender military personnel went into effect April 12. Since his story broke, he has received attention from national media, attended the GLAAD Media Awards and met with congressmen and celebrities. He also raised more than $27,000 to continue his education at UT next year. 

Higher education commissioner to resign after 15 years

Higher education commissioner Raymund Paredes will resign this August after 15 years on the job. He has advocated on behalf of post-secondary institutions to the Texas Legislatures through eight sessions and was a vocal opponent of campus carry. However, even with his resignation, he is not retiring and plans to stay involved in higher education policy for years to come.

Scooters

The University cracked down on the thousands of scooters on campus this semester. The Department of Parking and Transportation Services started impounding scooters in January and introduced 8 mph speed zones in March. Over 700 scooters have been impounded. Six different scooter companies now have permits to operate on campus, with the biggest players being Lime and Bird.

SXSW 2019

The annual SXSW conference brings a conglomeration of notable guests each year, and 2019 did not disappoint. In addition to serving as a platform for emerging artists, well-known comedians and business startups, SXSW 2019 doubled as a political arena. Speakers such as Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Julián Castro made headlines with their appearances at the widely publicized event.