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Photo Credit: Lex Rojas | Daily Texan Staff

Fifty-four years ago, the CVS on the Drag was the Texas Theatre, a popular place for students to go, as long as they were white. With its doors closed to African-American students, the theater became the site of a series of peaceful protests in an effort to integrate.

In December 1960, more than 100 UT students lined up outside the Texas Theatre to purchase tickets. According to an article published in the The Daily Texan, the students began their first of many peaceful protests by repeating the same mantra as each approached the ticket booth.

“I would like to buy a ticket if everybody is being admitted,” the students said.

Ticket sellers denied the request repeatedly, and the group of African-American and white students would return to the end of the line only to try again. 

In response to the policy they deemed unfair, a group of people came together to protest in December 1960. Despite inclement weather and the Texas Theatre manager’s efforts to keep them at bay, the students were persistent in their efforts to make a change. 

The “stand-ins,” which continued through May 1961, lasted anywhere from one to four hours. In response to the demonstrations, theater manager Leonard Masters moved the ticket selling operation indoors. 

“I’m not going to have arguments going on in my theater,” Masters said. “We (Trans-Texas Theaters) have a policy and I have to enforce it. My feelings have nothing to do with it.”

In light of the stand-ins, UT student Gwen Jordan spoke to the Texan about student life as an African-American. 

“I came to UT very naive, looking for more oneness,” Jordan said. “I would rather say ‘no thanks’ [when white friends invite her to the theater], than explain over again to them why I can’t go. They just forget sometimes.”

Students such as Jordan fought to integrate the theater and other establishments on the Drag, but they found the disapproval of more than just business owners. Upset by these efforts, student Egan Tausch shared his thoughts on integration. 

“Segregation is the right way to end this whole mess,” Tausch said. “Proprietors have the right to refuse admittance to whomever they want to. I believe that segregationists are now the
minority group.”

In spite of the opposition, students continued their demonstrations, eventually receiving support from former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. As UT students returned from winter break, they opened up their copies of the Texan to see Roosevelt’s approval of the protests.

“I admire so much the stand which the students at The University of Texas have taken,” Roosevelt said. “I am personally grateful to the Texas students for making the effort to bring about the end of this kind of segregation.”

With Roosevelt’s support, the protests continued until Masters, the theater manager, agreed to a one-month trial period during which African-American students were admitted into the theater. At the end of the trial period, the theater threw out its old policy and opened its doors to all students. 

Photo Credit: Andrea Kurth | Daily Texan Staff

As part of an effort to prioritize customers’ health, CVS pharmacy announced Wednesday it would stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by October — but between the low rate of student smokers and the high availability of cigarettes, it is unclear how much the impact the decision will have.

According to Jessica Wagner, manager of health promotion at University Health Services, most UT students will not be affected by the decision. Wagner said when compared to other colleges nationally, UT has a smaller proportion of self-reported smokers.

“Data from our fall 2013 implementation of the National College Health Assessment demonstrate that the majority of UT students responding to our survey have never used cigarettes — 64.4 percent — and only a small portion — 2.4 percent — are daily smokers,” Wagner said in an email.

Architecture freshman Samuel Robbins said he believes that for those few students that do smoke daily, CVS’ decision will not be disruptive. Robbins, who said he is in the process of quitting smoking, thinks devoted smokers already know how to overcome barriers to feeding their addiction.

“Because there’s no place on campus that sells cigarettes already, I don’t think that it’s going to influence [smokers] that much, since the people who would’ve quit have already quit, and the people who are going to continue to smoke have other places right on Guad,” Robbins said.

Radio-television-film freshman Chris Jambor said while he frequently buys cigarettes from CVS, the change won’t pose any great inconvenience for him. 

“There’s a lot of other corner markets that I normally go to that have cheaper cigarettes anyway,” Jambor said. “CVS never had any kind of discounts on their tobacco, so they were always kind of discouraging.”

Jambor said there was not much that would be able to keep him from smoking. He said he understands that cigarettes are unhealthy, but his affinity for tobacco is too strong for him to ever want to quit.

“I’m aware of the great risk posed to my life [by smoking], but it doesn’t matter,” Jambor said.

Civil engineering sophomore Abdulla Saleh, who buys his cigarettes online, said he didn’t care that CVS was going to stop selling tobacco. Saleh said he wasn’t surprised by the policy shift.

“They should’ve done this a long time ago,” Saleh said. “I mean, it’s a pharmacy.” 

Horns Up: University tries to keep us informed about snow

Last week, the joy of the year’s second snow day was slightly hindered by the University’s apparent inability to let us know ahead of time that campus would be closed. A text message at 8:20am announcing a delay until noon is hardly helpful to students who have 8am classes, and a follow-up text at 11:26am announcing a closure for the day is just as bad for commuters already on the roads. So we appreciate the fact that the University sent us not one, but two emails this afternoon, in which she advised the entire UT community that there might be severe weather over the next two days — although a slim chance of light freezing drizzle is hardly what most of us would consider severe. Nevertheless, horns up to whomever makes these weather-related decisions. If a light dusting of snow or a sprinkle of freezing drizzle does indeed bring the entire city to a grinding halt once again, it’s nice to be prepared.

Horns Up: CVS to stop selling tobacco products in stores

On Wednesday, the nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain, CVS, announced that it will stop selling tobacco products in the next few months — a bold move considering tobacco sales are responsible for $2 billion of the company’s yearly revenue. According to numerous news outlets, CVS explicitly cited health reasons for its decision, claiming that removing tobacco products is an important step as the company increasingly commits to providing more healthcare services. A recent report from the U.S. Surgeon General estimates that the country still spends $132 billion to $175 billion annually on treatment for smoking-related diseases, and claims that tobacco is still the nation’s leading cause of preventable, premature death. Given the substantial toll that drugs take on our nation, it’s no surprise that health care groups and President Barack Obama alike have praised CVS for the decision. Needless to say, we agree wholeheartedly. 

With the passage of a new city ordinance that will ban the use of disposable bags next year, some Austin grocers may have to alter parts of their stores in order to comply with the ban.

The ordinance was passed last week after several years of discussion over prohibiting paper and plastic bags and will go into effect in March 2013.

CVS manager Phil Wallace said the ban may present challenges for his store because of the integration of plastic bags in the checkout system.

“It looks like it could be an issue,” Wallace said. “Our registers are set up with specific-sized plastic bag rack holders, so I’m not quite sure yet how all this is going to shape out.”

While revising the physical layouts may be an inconvenience, Wallace said he believes the plastic bag ban is a positive step for customers to develop environmentally conscious habits.

“I think it’s a good thing, and I think in Austin we’ll see a favorable response to it in general,” he said. “But there’s still a lot of unknowns at this stage.”

While the concept of reusable bags is relatively new to stores like CVS, Wheatsville Food Co-op has promoted the idea for a while now, said brand manager Raquel Dadomo.

“We have socially aware, environmentally conscious customers who are already in this mindset to begin with, so it’s not too huge of a leap,” Dadomo said. “I think it’s going to be a big deal for other retailers, but not so much for us.”

Wheatsville also has a system that rewards customers for bringing their own reusable bags, Dadomo said. Each customer who brings a reusable bag receives a nickel which can go toward their purchase or toward a nonprofit organization the store is sponsoring that particular month, she said.

This reward system encourages shoppers to use recyclable bags, she said, and the donation program raised around $1,000 last year. Wheatsville’s policy helps customers give back to the community and also reflects the store’s environmentally conscious ideals, she said.

“It’s more about a sustainability measure for us,” she said. “We try to make sure that we’re really accessible. For us, it’s an overall measure to take care of the planet.”

Dadomo said Wheatsville customers are also in support of the bag ban. The store has conducted surveys through its Facebook and Twitter pages to gauge how the community is feeling about the bag ban, and the store has received much positive feedback about it, she said.

“Our customers are saying it’s about time,” she said. “People seem to embrace it.”

Advertising freshman Jennie Lee Gruber, a frequent Wheatsville shopper, said she sees reusable bags as a good habit and not as an inconvenience.

“I’m a big recycling person, so it’s part of my routine to always take a bag,” she said. “I think that once you get in the habit, it’s just like taking your wallet.”

Gruber also said recyclable bags are an easy-to-use container for college students who don’t have as many groceries or a whole family to support.

“I really think it’s more convenient because it makes you shop for what can fit in our bag, and for a college kid, you only need one,” she said. “I think it would be harder on moms shopping for their whole family.”

Printed on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 as: Chain stores more affected by bag ban ordinance

African penguin Howard carries a valentine heart written by a visitor to the California Acadmey of Sciences in San Francisco, Monday.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

For those that are single, Valentine’s Day will be a day of bitter resentment and devouring boxes of chocolate, but couples that do not share such sentiment do exist. Yet, with hell weeks imminent for many a student, some couples may have had difficulty planning anything for Valentine’s Day. For those, here are a few last-minute plans in Austin to celebrate the romantic day beyond a hastily signed card bought at CVS.

Art Lessons
What: Painting Lessons
WHERE: Painting with a Twist
8820 Burnet Rd., Suite 507
WHEN: 7 p.m.
For the art-inclined, Painting with a Twist will be offering casual painting lessons tonight starting at 7 p.m. and costs $35. Each lesson features a set painting and this class will be painting a tree against a maroon background. Although no pottery lessons will be offered, guests can bring their own wine and snacks and share a dinner while painting. In addition, group seating can be arranged for the double daters.

What: Dinner Detective Austin
WHERE: Marriott Hotel at Austin
300 E. Fourth St.
WHEN: 7:15 p.m.
Of course, any of the many, many restaurants in Austin would be a good choice, but why not go for something a bit different for Valentine’s Day? The Marriott Hotel will be having a murder mystery dinner. Dinner patrons will have to solve what they call a “hilarious” murder prize. A special package allows you to choose your date to be a prime suspect, because nothing says true love than suspicion of murder. The base package at $59 includes a four-course dinner, a potential prize to be “Top Sleuth” and entertainment after the show. Mugs, T-shirts, wine and Champagne can also be added to your package at additional cost.

Drive-In Movie
What: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” showing
WHERE: Blue Starlite
2326 E. Cesar Chavez
WHEN: 9 p.m.
Austin’s drive-in theater, Blue Starlite, will be having a special Valentine’s Day showing of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” at 9 p.m. Whether it is a nostalgic rush of high school days or simply being able to sing “Moon River” without any popcorn thrown at you, enjoying the film in the privacy of your own car with your significant other is a nice way to end the day. Blue Starlite is also offering a special Valentine’s Day package for $50, which includes gourmet popcorn, candy sweethearts, roses and soda pop.

What: Bob Schneider and The Moonlight Orchestra
WHERE: Moody Theater
310 W. Willie Nelson Blvd.
WHEN: 8:30 p.m.
Also celebrating its first anniversary, Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater will be having a special Valentine’s Day concert featuring Bob Schneider and The Moonlight Orchestra at 8:30 p.m. An Austin local, Schneider tailored this concert for maximum romance and will be playing classic romantic staples, taking his traditionally acoustic sound and bringing in horns, strings and upright bass. Special guests Kat Edmonson, Danny Malone and Lex Land will also be on hand. To those who want to remember the night, a kissing photo booth will available. Tickets start at $25. And for the charitable kind, a portion of the ticket will go to Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.

Making a Love Button
What: Button making
WHERE: Fine Arts Library and Life Sciences Library
WHEN: 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
If you are extremely crammed for time, just plain broke and none of these ideas sound applicable, don’t fret quite yet. The Fine Arts Library and Life Sciences Library will be having button-making in their lobbies from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today. It is a perfect pit stop between class. However, no guarantees that your significant other will at all be amused with a button that reads, “I Hearts Books and You.”

Printed on, Tuesday February 14, 2012 as: Last-minute Valentine's Day date ideas