Final semester, the world flipped the wrong way up. This semester, the pandemic upended every thing we thought we knew — or anticipated to know — about life in school. Nearly 2,000 members of our neighborhood have contracted COVID-19, and that quantity continues to develop.
Nevertheless, regardless of these “unprecedented times,” some issues stay the identical: the shortage of transparency UT administration affords its college students and its continuous failure to take heed to scholar voices. Whether or not it’s concerning COVID-19 coverage, online learning, sexual misconduct or Black students’ demands, our College’s disregard for scholar advocacy has persevered even by means of a pandemic.
Whereas we applaud the hardworking campus employees who hold our campus a clear and protected setting, college students have principally needed to combat for themselves this semester.
UT has largely stored college students at nighttime about how and why it makes crucial choices, regardless of college students providing enter by means of digital city corridor conferences, Scholar Authorities, The Each day Texan and even on-line.
Over a 12 months and a half in the past, the editorial board called for elevated transparency from College Communications. The board cited a number of practices, together with asking for questions upfront and an insistence on conducting interviews through electronic mail, that reinforce the assorted roadblocks scholar journalists face on campus.
We and different journalists on the Texan are nonetheless coping with the identical issues. Our columnists are repeatedly pissed off, and so are we.
Annoyed that we will’t get the interviews we’d like. Annoyed we will’t publish our items on deadline as a result of a communications liaison has refused to reply to our emails and telephone calls. Annoyed that we will’t do our jobs as a result of another person isn’t doing theirs.
All of this collectively is indicative of a bigger development, one which scholar journalists on campus have been dealing with for years. We’ve come to appreciate that these institutionalized issues will probably persist previous this semester, and we’re frightened that no quantity of stress will persuade our College to repair them.
This semester, we’ve largely targeted on methods to make campus as protected as attainable, however the pandemic isn’t the one factor that threatens scholar security. We haven’t forgotten UT administration’s failure to satisfy scholar calls for for transparency and motion concerning sexual misconduct.
Regardless of a city corridor final spring, scholar protests, the creation of a sexual misconduct working group and the hiring of out of doors experience, Sahotra Sarkar and Coleman Hutchison stay on the course schedule, together with others.
It’s unacceptable, however given UT’s track record on the subject, not stunning.
The editorial board has coated the continuing subject of sexual misconduct again and again and again. However we’ve but to see any vital coverage modifications. The pandemic isn’t an excuse to do the naked minimal on this matter, and we can’t enable this subject to be sidelined any longer.
Launch an up to date listing of employees and college discovered responsible of sexual misconduct. Create actionable steps for change. Give college students the restorative justice program they had been promised. We shouldn’t have to attend any longer.
Directors have additionally disregarded college students’ calls for for UT to get rid of traditions that honor UT’s racist historical past.
Over the summer time, quite a few Black scholar teams released a petition calling for UT to move UT’s tradition away from its racist roots. A few of these calls for had been met, both wholly or with compromise.
Others weren’t. One such demand involved “The Eyes of Texas.”
As an alternative of ending “The Eyes of Texas” custom, our directors determined a greater plan of action could be to ask the UT neighborhood to personal and acknowledge all features of the origins of our faculty track.
We perceive this track’s vile historical past. We all know how uncomfortable it makes our fellow college students. We all know Black college students have been talking into the void for years concerning the disrespect they really feel once they hear “The Eyes of Texas.”
College students know and have been speaking about these points for years. And for years, UT administration has pretended to listen to however by no means truly listened. However that’s nothing unprecedented, is it?
The editorial board consists of affiliate editors Abhirupa Dasgupta, Hannah Lopez, Sanika Nayak, Julia Zaksek, and editor-in-chief Emily Caldwell.