Ugeo Williams

UT Student Body President Horacio Villarreal (right) and Vice President Ugeo Williams ended their terms at the Studet Government meeting Tuesday night.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

As newly-elected Student Government President Kori Rady and Vice President Taylor Strickland were sworn into their respective positions Tuesday, outgoing executives Horacio Villarreal and Ugeo Williams concluded a year of platform points centered on inclusion, safety, service and accessibility.

Rady and Strickland ran their campaign on over 22 platform points, including an extended Thanksgiving break, expansion of the uRide program and creating a basketball game at Gregory Gym. 

“Hopefully, we can push Student Government to be a positive light on campus,” said Rady, a government and corporate communication senior. “I think, with the platform points, the way we’re delegating our platform points and meeting with administrators, we can do
great things.”

Strickland, a corporate communication junior, said she hopes to expand the uRide program to transport students safely home from downtown on the weekends. The program was created by Villarreal and Williams in the fall to give students rides home from the Perry-Castaneda Library.

Strickland said the first things she will begin working on are a campus safety phone application and expanding branding on campus. She said she also plans to continue the programs Villarreal and Williams created, such as upper-division tutoring, a cultural showcase and intramural sports games against Texas A&M University.

Villarreal said creating the Intramural Lone Star Showdown was one of the things he was most proud of during his tenure. The intramural football and basketball event was designed to continue the rivalry with Texas A&M, and, according to Villarreal, attracted between
80-100 players.

“That was something I really liked because it strengthened the relationships between a lot of different parties, and it showed Student Government can really reach out outside of its realm,” Villarreal said.

Villarreal and Williams split some of their platform points at the beginning of the year to complete more of their goals. Villarreal established upper-division tutoring at the Sanger Learning Center, and Williams created a cultural showcase in the fall to display student diversity. Williams said outside of just achieving their original platform points, he was proud of staying visible to the student body throughout the whole year.

“I wish we could have achieved more outreach, but, again, we were present and visible a majority of the time,” Williams said. “Staying visible throughout the whole year can be hard to do because there is so much going on.”

Villarreal said he was confident that Rady would be able to take over the position of SG president because of his experience as external financial director on the executive board.

“I’m going [to] be rooting for them every step of the way with their platform,” Villarreal said. “I just want to see them continue to be genuine, be in it for the right reasons and continue to get things done that benefit our campus.”

Elected students in University-wide representative and college representative positions were also sworn in Tuesday to the 108th SG Assembly.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Student Government elections at UT have never drawn a large turnout, and this year’s competition for Student Body president and vice president will likely be no exception. Presidential candidates Kori Rady and Kenton Wilson, flanked by vice-presidential candidates Taylor Strickland and Caroline Carter, respectively, are members of the same fraternal organization and are both members of traditional spirit groups. Much of what we saw from both campaigns was almost identical, including their campaign videos, which were nearly the same frame-by-frame. With such similar resumes and styles, many students may think it’s pointless to cast a ballot. However, following interviews with the candidates, a debate co-moderated by Daily Texan Editor-in-Chief Laura Wright and long conversations about the teams’ respective qualifications, this editorial board has teased out enough key differences between the candidates to endorse Rady-Strickland. 

Our reasoning? First off, Rady demonstrated a better understanding of how SG actually works, recognizing limitations to legislation and the importance of relationships with administrators, indicated by his commitment to the uRide program and the student scholarship initiative. 

On the other hand, there is no doubt that Wilson and Carter have run the better campaign. They have been on more organizational listservs, the subject of more Facebook statuses and at the front of more meetings. They also campaigned on more innovative policy points — particularly the presidential council (a committee gathering student leaders from organizations around campus) and their plans to pursue a student activity center on East Riverside Drive. Miles away from the traditional core of UT’s campus, East Riverside has become a hub of affordable student housing, and a student activity center would be hugely beneficial to the growing number of Longhorns who live in the area. 

But the idea of tackling such a massive project — one that would likely need the support of a major donor, the UT System Board of Regents and the UT president — is, quite simply, unrealistic. While we appreciate the effort to be forward-thinking and innovative, we can’t help but prefer Rady’s realistic, achievable platform points that will concretely improve life on the 40 Acres in the short-term, and we were disappointed in the Wilson-Carter campaign’s inability to admit the difficulty of achieving one of their main platform points. 

It was also frustrating, however, that the tensest exchange of the debate came when Rady and Wilson sparred over the effects that a fall break would have on fraternity and sorority recruitment. The two candidates went back and forth for several minutes, longer than they did on any other issue. Considering the fact that the Greek community’s concerns pale in comparison to other campus groups’ concerns over the initiative — particularly the possible impact that an extra day off would have on natural science lab schedules — this focus on Greek candidates was disconcerting. 

Both Rady’s and Wilson’s previous experiences are key to their understanding of the role of the president. Wilson’s position as speaker of the assembly allows him to stand at the helm of the assembly and required him to know all the rules and keep order. However, the position also makes being involved in actual legislation much more difficult. The speaker cannot be involved in legislation itself and would have to move out of the position temporarily and have another SG member replace him in order to jump in and have a say in the proceedings. This may be the reason Wilson has focused on making initiatives happen without legislation. Rady, as external financial director on the executive board, worked closely with the current alliance headed by Villarreal and Williams. Rady has repeatedly cited his experience and shadowing the alliance, which has given him the edge on understanding how to push forward SG initiatives at the executive level.

Both teams have proven themselves to be incredibly well spoken, knowledgeable and interested in student issues. But, at the end of the day, we are more confident with Kori Rady and Taylor Strickland’s realistic platform, experience with SG procedure, relationships with administrators and engagement with underrepresented groups on campus. Students can vote for the SG executive alliance along with the other campus representative positions at www.utexasvote.org Wednesday and Thursday. We encourage you to vote Rady-Strickland.

The Interfraternity Council decided not to endorse candidates this year after receiving criticism last year for an email sent to the leaders of the council’s 24 fraternities endorsing current Student Government President Horacio Villarreal and Vice President Ugeo Williams’ executive alliance campaign.

“We got backlash from [last year’s email]. People’s biggest concerns were his use of the word ‘endorse,’” said Edwin Qian, Interfraternity Council president and management information systems and economics senior. “What [the council] meant was for it to be an informational email, not an endorsement.”

The council held a meeting Wednesday to allow all candidates running for SG positions to discuss their platforms to the leaders of the council’s fraternities. After the meeting, the council sent an email informing council fraternities about the candidates who spoke at the meeting, but did not endorse any of them, Qian said.

“While the IFC is not endorsing any candidates in this SG election, we appraise these candidates for showing strong pro-Greek interest and thank them for taking the time to speak to IFC leaders,” the email said.  

According to Qian, the council’s role in SG elections has been inconsistent in the past. Qian said he will urge candidates running for the executive alliance, Texas Student Media, University-wide representative positions and the Co-op Board of Directors to discuss their platforms with fraternity leaders.

“This year we’re still trying to promote the election because our ultimate goal is to get more students involved and informed about the election,” Qian said. “The only thing that’s really changed is that last year’s email didn’t really include any platforms, but this year we want people to know why they’re running and what their plans are.”

Villarreal, a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Williams were endorsed in last year’s email and won with more than 53 percent of the vote.

Villarreal said he did not see last year’s email as a big issue and would expect other organizations to endorse candidates who are members of their organization.

“It’s a tricky thing for someone that is involved in the community such as myself,” Villarreal said. “I didn’t see it as an incredibly big issue, especially if whoever was running was involved in another organization.”

According to Qian, if a member of the council chooses to endorse a candidate, the endorsement would be personal and not a council endorsement. He said individual fraternities are still entitled to endorse anyone they want.

The candidates for the executive alliance are not a part of a fraternity. Caroline Carter, the vice presidential candidate running with presidential candidate Kenton Wilson, is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, a sorority in the University Panhellenic Council.

Wilson said he thought it was great the council would not be sending out an email endorsing a particular candidate.

“It will keep us on our game to make sure we reach out to all students instead of just relying on some electronic form of communication,” Wilson said. “We’re getting more of a chance to explain ourselves because [Greek members] know the email is not coming out, so they can’t just sit back and wait on it.”

Taylor Strickland, the vice presidential candidate running alongside presidential candidate Kornel “Kori” Rady, said the change would give students an opportunity to learn about each platform. 

“I don’t think it affects the turnout as much, as it will really urge people to go out and be informed voters, which is all we can really hope for as candidates,” Strickland said.

This Spring semester student government president Horacio Villarreal plans to influence more students to join student government. Villarreal also hopes to continue promoting school spirit by creating an intramural basketball season against Texas A&M.

Photo Credit: Marshall Nolen | Daily Texan Staff

Though Student Government president Horacio Villarreal and vice president Ugeo Williams have not set concrete plans for the second half of the school year, Villarreal said the pair will maintain their platform goals of inclusion, safety, service and accessibility.

Villarreal said they will maintain programs such as upper-division tutoring and continue attempts to engage students in spring athletics and student life overall.

The duo created a cultural showcase during the fall semester to show the diversity of students. Williams said he plans to continue educating students on cultural diversity by getting them involved in discussions surrounding social justice.

A social justice program was mandatory several years ago for incoming freshman at orientation, but was switched to an optional program. Now, the mandatory campus safety course at orientation covers dating violence, academic stress and various other obstacles of college life, but Williams said there are other things the University could touch base on such as a cultural component.

“You may know one thing about a particular culture, or one particular sexual identity, but that doesn’t mean you know them all,” Williams said. “It is a growing process that everyone will learn and interact with as they grow in the world.”

Villarreal also promoted upper-division tutoring through the Sanger Learning Center. He said he plans to continue this program in the spring and make sure it is
running smoothly.

Biology junior Benjamin Choy said he went to one-on-one tutoring at Sanger for his lower division classes and has since used it for upper division genetics.

“If you’re having trouble in your classes or understanding a concept, you don’t have to just go to office hours or the TA because Sanger is open all the time,” Choy said.

Another platform goal of Villarreal and Williams’ campaign was to promote school spirit. Williams said they plan to work with the marketing and athletics office to encourage more students to attend spring sports, such as basketball, tennis and track.

To encourage school spirit, Villarreal created the Lone Star Intramural Showdown. This program allowed students in intramural flag football to continue the age-old rivalry against Texas A&M. Villarreal said he plans to continue the program for intramural basketball season in the spring.

“There’s a different twist to intramural sports,” Villarreal said. “You never really know what you’re getting yourself into.”

According to Williams, one of the duo’s main goals is to see more students gravitate toward being part of student government. Williams, who wasn’t in student government until his junior year, said he hopes students will not give up if they aren’t in the organization their first year.  

Photo Credit: Omar J Longoria | Daily Texan Staff

On Nov. 4, Sy Stokes, an African-American male student at UCLA, uploaded a video to YouTube entitled “The Black Bruins [Spoken Word].” In the video, Stokes and nine other black male students at the school address the lack of diversity in UCLA’s undergraduate student population in chilling spoken word poetry.

In the video, Stokes reveals that black males make up only 3.3 percent of the student population at UCLA, and that 65 percent of those black males are student-athletes. He goes on to imply that UCLA only cares about increasing diversity if it helps the school win national championships.

The video is so startling that it’s tempting to pretend that problems with racial diversity are unique to UCLA. But the numbers at UT tell a different story, and unfortunately for the black male students at UT, it’s even worse.

In the fall of 2011, the University had a total black male enrollment of 842 students. That’s approximately 39 percent of the total black population and about 1.6 percent of UT’s total population.

Sharon Davies, executive director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University, found that out of the 7,199 freshmen enrolled in 2009, a startling 129 of them were black males.

And, of those few African-American males, only 78 were predicted to graduate as the graduation rate for African-American males at UT is only 60 percent.

It gets worse: The University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education found a 66 percent difference between the percentage of players on the UT football and basketball teams that are black and the percentage of black men in the total undergraduate student body — the highest such difference in the Big 12 Conference.

UT’s 1.6 percent black male presence is even lower than UCLA’s 3.3 percent, so this is clearly an area where improvement is needed.

Overall, UT is perceived as diverse, and rightfully so. But these low levels of black male representation make clear that there is still much progress to be made, even at “diverse” schools.

Student Government Vice President Ugeo Williams, one of the black students at UT, said he has completed research focused on the cohort of black men who entered UT in the fall of 2011.

“If we take a deeper look into University data, most times, African-American male students are one of the lowest groups represented at a university equivalent to the size of UCLA and UT,” Williams said.

Williams said that he wonders if non-athlete black men are applying at high rates and just not being admitted or if non-athletes are being admitted but not receiving the same financial support as black male athletes.

I asked Marcus Hutchins, a third-year offensive lineman on the UT football team and a physical culture and sports junior, whether the claim that UCLA strives for “diversity” only insofar as it increases national championships holds true at UT.

Hutchins replied, “To a certain extent, yes … but at the same time, we [student-athletes] get punished for not going to class and study hall or missing a group meeting.”

Despite the low number of black males at UT, Hutchins doesn’t feel isolated as a minority.

“I feel I have every chance as my other race counterparts to compete at this University for a degree.”

Undeclared freshman Derek Orji, also a black male, said, “I don’t feel isolated because there are a lot of ethnic communities on campus.”

But with UT’s holistic admissions policy in which race is a factor currently being reviewed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, we can’t be blind to the low number of black men attending UT.

Since Stokes’ video was posted on Nov. 4, it has been viewed more than 1,480,000 times. The video made its way to The Huffington Post and even provoked a response from Don Lemon, a black “CNN Newsroom” anchor. Though the video centers on UCLA, it’s apparent that the issue of low black male representation applies to UT as well.

“The video is well done and it serves as a catalyst for starting a conversation. The question is how does this issue get resolved,” said Philemon Brown, president of the UT Black Faculty and Staff Association.

“We live in a time that many people deny issues of race exist and everything is equal,” Brown said. “That is a part of the fallacy.”

Johnson is an undeclared junior from DeSoto.

First SG Forty Acres Address from Villarreal and Williams

SG President Horacio Villarreal and vice president Ugeo Williams address students with their first State of the Forty Acres address.
SG President Horacio Villarreal and vice president Ugeo Williams address students with their first State of the Forty Acres address.

Student Government released the lastest State of the Forty Acres address on Monday.

SG President Horacio Villarreal and vice president Ugeo Williams addressed the campus as the new executive alliance. In April, the two replaced Thor Lund and Wills Brown, who started the campus-wide address in 2012.

Villarreal and Williams said they are still looking to fill a few appointed positions in SG and asked those interested to apply.

They encouraged student to continue supporting fundraising efforts for Boston and West via the Co-op. They also reminded students to approach them with any ideas or initiatives they have for SG, while they begin working on their platform points this summer. The duo said they plan to release several more address during the summer to keep the campus informed.

Future addresses will be available through SG’s newsletter.

Watch the full address below: 

 

UTPD held an open meeting with Austin Police Department assistant police chief Raul Munguia, the fourth and final candidate for its next Chief of Police this Friday, allowing students, faulty and staff the opportunity to ask questions and rate his characteristics.

Munguia, who has served as an assistant police chief for the Austin Police Department for two years, oversaw some patrols and helped plan security for large events. He said he thought one of the most important lessons from his experience with APD that he wanted to apply to UT and its police force was friendly interaction with the community.

Munguia explained that in dealing with groups like Occupy Austin, he believed APD had been more effective than other cities’ police departments because it set clear rules for the protestors and still allowed them to speak.

“We explained what was going to be allowed and what wasn’t and the fact that they’d be able to produce their signs and have their moment and get out their lesson,” Munguia said. “They were actually coming to us for ... people who were causing problems and not [with them].”

Munguia also said he thought it was going to be important to deal with UTPD’s high attrition rate among younger, lower ranking officers.

“Right now the greatest need in the department is the attrition rate,” Munguia said. “[There’s been pay increases], but it’s also how do you create a more challenging work environment.”

Munguia suggested UTPD officers could respond to alarm calls and other requests from APD radio frequencies, giving them more opportunity for variety.

Student Body Vice President Ugeo Williams, who attended the meeting, said he liked Munguia’s experience.

“I loved the fact that he has children, so he understands the safety part of a college campus,” Williams said. “I like the fact that he’s been in Austin, so he’s already probably dealt with the problems we’ve had in the past.”

Williams said he finds it important any UTPD police chief be able to deal with incidents on campus similar to ones that have recently taken place.

Associate vice president for campus safety and security Bob Harkins said with current police chief Robert Dahlstrom’s retirement at the end of this semester, the search committee for police chief, which had four finalists, will be making a recommendation to UT President William Powers Jr. shortly. 

“The atmosphere’s been positive for everybody,” Harkins said. “I think we brought four good candidates here.”

During the past academic year, former Student Body President Thor Lund and former Student Body Vice President Wills Brown have accomplished many successful developments throughout the UT campus. They were succeeded in office by the current president Horacio Villarreal and vice president Ugeo Williams.

Photo Credit: Becca Gamache | Daily Texan Staff

Thor Lund and Wills Brown said they ended their year in charge of Student Government with extended student services and a more visible Student Government.

“I have no regrets,” Lund said. “We did everything we wanted to and more.” 

When Lund and Brown ran for office last year, they planned to improve student life by extending night hours on campus for libraries and food vendors, increasing safety measures on and off campus and making Student Government more transparent. 

Lund said the initiatives they planned effected more students’ everyday lives and helped show what SG can do for the campus. 

“One of the most rewarding things is to see the fruits of your labor and the smiles of Longhorns,” Lund said. 

Several of the initiatives they campaigned for have become permanent additions, including 24-hour access to the Perry-Castaneda Library and the State of the 40 Acres address, a YouTube address that will be aired at least four times a school year.

Lund and Brown said they hope SG can continue working toward initiatives they could not fully execute, including extending shuttle bus service hours for the North Campus and the Riverside areas. 

“That was obviously something we couldn’t accomplish in just one year,” Brown said. “We’re hoping Horacio and Ugeo will want to continue with that and take the next step to make that happen.”

Lund said current President Horacio Villarreal and Vice President Ugeo Williams, who took office April 2, have already said they want to continue what Lund and Brown started and bring fresh ideas to benefit students.

“Horacio and Ugeo have good ideas and as they grow into their roles they are starting to understand more about their roles and their ideas,” Lund said.

Villarreal said Lund and Brown made a significant impact on SG and on campus.

“Thor and Wills had a vision when they took office and they worked tirelessly to made that vision a reality,” Villarreal said. “There is an obvious [similarity] to many of the initiatives that we’re implemented so we’ll do what we need to do to continue their legacy. We’ve got big shoes to fill.”

As for their futures, Brown said he will join Teach for America after graduating in May, while Lund said he will be on campus for one last semester in the fall. The two have been friends since third grade.

“It’ll definitely be weird not seeing Thor every day, but I’ll just be an hour down the road in San Antonio,” Brown said. “Also, when we’re both in grad school at UT in a couple years, we’ll just run for GSA president and vice president, or heck, maybe even SG president and vice president again, so we’ll be back.”

Printed on Thursday, April 11, 2013 as Lund, Brown reflect on legacy 

New student body president Horacio Villarreal was sworn into office Tuesday evening by former president Thor Lund. Villarreal and new vice president Ugeo Williams plan to implement initiatives such as upper division tutoring in the Sanger Learning Center and introduce more police call boxes in the north campus and Riverside areas.

Photo Credit: Mikaela Locklear | Daily Texan Staff

Newly elected Student Government President Horacio Villarreal and Vice President Ugeo Williams took their new positions at Tuesday’s General Assembly meeting.

Villarreal, a history senior, and Williams, a sociology and education senior, are replacing previous Student Government President Thor Lund and Vice President Wills Brown.

Villarreal said he was excited to start working toward initiatives and programs for which they campaigned.

“We’ve already been meeting with so many people on campus for the last few weeks, this just makes it official,” Villarreal said. “We’re ready to get started.”

The executive alliance campaigned with plans to strengthen the organization’s connection to the Senate of College Councils and the Graduate Student Assembly, as well as connecting with more students and organizations to better voice the opinions of the student body.

They also plan to provide upper-division tutoring at the Sanger Learning Center, pair incoming and transfer students with upperclassmen mentors and improve safety for students living in north campus and in the Riverside area by introducing more police call boxes.

The newly elected college and university-wide representatives also selected committee chairs in addition to taking their new positions.

Williams said the executive alliance plans to individually review the campaign platforms of the new Student Government representatives.

“I‘m just getting to know everyone and meeting with everyone one-on-one,” Williams said. “Since we are going to be working closely, I want to make sure I get along with everyone.”

Villarreal and Williams were elected Feb. 28, in a campus-wide election, winning 53 percent of the vote. Villarreal is a former University-wide representative and Williams is a former College of Education representative.

Brown said he and Lund are glad to pass on the control of Student Government to Villarreal and Williams.

“I have full faith in Horacio and Ugeo and believe they’ll do a great job,” Brown said. “They’re both stand-up guys who truly do care about this university and are ready to serve day-in and day-out. I’m very happy to be passing on the torch to these two awesome friends of mine.”

Sociology and Education senior Ugeo Williams and History senior Horacio Villarreal were elected Vice President and President of the university’s student body Thursday evening. 

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

After two weeks of retweeting campaign platfoms and sharing Facebook pledges, student chose their Student Government leaders Thursday, electing Horacio Villarreal and Ugeo Williams as president and vice president, respectively.

Villarreal, a history senior, and Williams, a sociology and education senior, won 53 percent of the vote. 

Students elected positions in organizations including Student Government, Graduate Student Assembly, Texas Student Media, the University Co-op and University Unions. 

Villarreal said he hopes to deliver on their platform points including providing upper division tutoring in the Sanger Learning Center, providing incoming and transfer students with upperclassmen mentors and improving safety for students living off campus by introducing more police call boxes.

“Ugeo and I have ideas that we want to change the campus with,” Villarreal said. “The people that are going to be working with us are just as hardworking as we are, and we’re going to try to uphold the reputation of Student Government to get stuff done on campus and make life a lot better.”

Williams said the alliance also hopes to connect with members of the student body that have not always been represented in Student Government and voice the concerns of as many students as possible, including graduate students.

“I’m so overwhelmed and inspired that people believed in our mission and what we stand for,” Williams said.

Williams said he and Villarreal have reached out to the other executive alliances and hope to work together to accomplish their platform initiatives.

“They were talking about making this culture different and engaging students, and that is what were trying to do as well,” Williams said. “There is no type of bad blood between us. We all had a platform point and if we can take those ideas that they had and let them keep their names on them, because even if it wasn’t our idea we feel that students do want them to happen.”

The Ryan Shingledecker-Maddie Fogel campaign came in second with about 30 percent of the vote and the Connie Tao-Ryan Upchurch campaign came in third with about 13 percent of the vote. Chris Gilman and Alison Stoos garnered 4 percent of the vote for fourth place.

Ali Raza, government senior and one of eight newly elected University-wide representatives, said his campaign to better represent minority groups on campus will fit well with the new executive alliance.

“I’m really passionate about serving students and want to represent everyone on campus,” Raza said. “In the past Student Government has really hasn’t been there for people. Representatives tend to push forward their own agenda [and] their own self-interests within communities that are already visible.”

Elections started Wednesday morning and went until 5 p.m. Thursday. A total of 7,623 students voted for the president and vice president candidates, which is about a 14.9 percent student turnout. Last year only 4,483 student voted.

Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly said she was glad the candidates took the election code seriously and treated each other respectfully throughout the campaign period.

“I could not be more excited about an election period that was clean and ended with so much jubilation,” Reagins-Lilly said. “I’m excited to be working with these student leaders and have the opportunity to be a part of the evolution of their platform and how they operationalize that platform.”

Villarreal and Williams will begin their terms April 2, taking the place of current Student Government president and vice president Thor Lund and Wills Brown.

Published on March 1, 2013 as "SG leaders chosen".