• Dewhurst announces plans to run for US Senate

    Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has announced he is running for the U.S. Senate.

    Dewhurst announced his campaign Tuesday through an online video in which he focuses on concern with national debt and spending. Dewhurst said he is a proven fiscal conservative, along with Gov. Rick Perry.

    Perry has yet to officially announce plans to run for president, but may do so within the next month.

    Since 2003 Dewhurst has served as the second-highest ranking official in the state. He lives in Houston and is a businessman who has served in the U.S. Air Force, the CIA and the State Department.

    Even with the tight state budget this session, Dewhurst did not support tapping the Rainy Day Fund. He recently helped create the Texas Joint Committee for Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency to confront controversy about the role of research in universities.

    In the video Dewhurst said if he is voted into the U.S. Senate his first act will be to sign the “cut, cap, balance” pledge.

    The current U.S. senators for Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, are sponsors of the act that aims to lower the federal deficit.

    “Washington, to me, spends money we don’t have on programs we don’t need,” Dewhurst said in his announcement.

  • O'Donnell Releases New Faculty Analysis

    Rick O'Donnell, former special advisor to the UT System Board of Regents, released an analysis report that divides the University's professors into categories of teaching loads versus the research revenue they bring.

    O'Donnell, who reached a $70,000 settlement in exchange for agreeing to not sue the System last month, wrote in the report that most of the professors at the University fall under "dodgers" and "coasters", who have low teaching loads and generate little research revenue.

    "Dodgers are the least productive faculty who bring in no external research funding, teach few students," according to the report.

    There are 1,748 "dodgers" at the University from which 58 percent are tenure track and teach 71 students per year and bring no external funding, according to the report. Total number of professors at the University is a little more than 3000, according to the report. 

    "To put this in perspective, if UT has no "Dodgers", teaching loads for the next lowest productive faculty (Coasters) would need to increase by an average of 97 students a year, giving the university annual savings of $573 million," according to the report.

    Texas Coalition for Higher Education responded Wednesday and said the report by O'Donnell does not reflect anything new. O'Donnell's point about firing faculty members to save money has been rejected by the members of the Coalition in the past, according to a press release.

    "The data that the Boards of Regents of The University of Texas and Texas A&M Systems have made public is now being misused to diminish the national stature of our state’s premiere public institutions," according to the press release. "Texas A&M and UT Austin are premiere national universities generating millions in economic impact and educating the doctors, teachers, engineers and scholars who will lead our state in the future. Every $1 invested into Texas A&M or UT Austin returns $18 to the Texas economy."

     

    Read The Daily Texan on Thursday for further information on this developing story.

  • Man found dead in parked car on Guadalupe St.

    A man died in his car Tuesday on Guadalupe Street near the Renaissance market.

    He was discovered and Emergency Medical Services pronounced him deceased on the scene soon after the 2:30 p.m. 911 call. The cause of death is currently unknown, said EMS spokesperson Warren Hassinger.

    The man was about 55 years old, said Austin Police Department Lieutenant Michael Larner.

  • City police monitor’s annual report finds room for improvement

    The city of Austin’s Office of the Police Monitor has completed its 2010 Annual Report, which found that less experienced police officers are more likely to receive complaint calls, and that African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to have their vehicles searched by Austin police than whites.

    “Our job is to watch over the complaint process and also generally to monitor the Austin Police Department to see if there are any sort of areas in which improvements can be made, and better communication between the public and the police department,” said Police Monitor Margo Frasier.

    After the compiling the report, the police monitor will submit recommendations to the chief of police, city manager and the city council.

    The police monitor heard 1,497 complaints in 2010; a 9-percent decrease from 2009.

    The report found a greater likelihood of a complaint being filed when a less-experienced officer makes the stop.

    The report found that although all ethnic groups share an equal likelihood of being stopped by police, African-Americans and Hispanics are much more likely to be searched.

    While Anglos face a 1-in-19 chance of having their vehicles searched, African-Americans face a 1-in-8 chance and Hispanics face a 1-in-7 chance. Frasier said the groups more likely to be searched are not more likely to have contraband found in their vehicles.

  • Found gun-silencer forces lockdown on state building

    A state building downtown was under lockdown this morning while the Department of Public Safety and the Austin Police Bomb Squad assessed the area for threats after a state trooper arrested a man who had a homemade gun silencer in his car.

    The state trooper saw the silencer inside of a car parked on the top floor of the parking garage attached to the William P. Clements State Office Building at 15th Street and Lavaca. Ricky Lankford, 33, approached the trooper and identified himself as the owner of the car, according to DPS spokesperson Lisa Block.

    The building houses the Office of the State Attorney General among other state offices and was under lockdown until just past 9 a.m. this morning while DPS conducted bomb searches of the car and the surrounding area.

    Lankford is a resident of Gatesville, Texas and has been charged with a third degree felony for possession of a prohibited weapon and is in custody at the Travis County Jail. The contents of his car are being inventoried.

    The case is currently under investigation by the DPS. 

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