Of Work and West Campus

A map published by the Workers Defense Project, a collective of organizers and laborers advocating for low-wage workers, shows the meteoric growth of Austin. Dimpled across downtown are dozens of construction sites and half-finished high rises. The city’s population grew 37% in 2010 and shows no sign of stopping. As of March 2013, Austin was still the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country. A crowded future is on the horizon— brimming with new jobs and fresh faces.

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Tax-free Textbooks in Texas?

Library BooksAll too often, we read about new and disappointing ways the Republican controlled Texas Legislature is attempting to grease the slippery slope towards educational inferiority. That’s why it can be a real breath of fresh air when something like this comes along. If State Representative Mary González (D-Clint) has her way, Texas college and university students will be paying less at the campus bookstore in the near future, making it more possible for young Texans to seek the degrees increasingly demanded by the modern job market.

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Don’t Bother with the National Association of Scholars

cesar chavezA lot of column space in The Daily Texan has lately been devoted to the National Association of Scholars and their report denouncing UT’s (and A&M’s) U.S. history courses for focusing too much on gender, race, and class. Thankfully most of it has been challenging the report, but the way the paper (and even some professors) have gone about refuting the report is troubling. UT’s defenders have pointed out that the NAS’ study used only information from class syllabi, rather than attending lectures or talking to students and professors. This is a good point, and it’s an obvious flaw in their methodology (if you want to dignify the study by implying they had one). But there are more serious problems with this study than just how the NAS went about it. Continue reading

Students Needed on Austin’s Redistricting Commission and Review Panel

The process of drawing the single member districts that Austinites voted for last November is underway, and one spot on the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is reserved for a student. We certainly need a strong student voice on the commission that will draw the new city council districts so that students are represented on city council and their needs are not neglected. If you are a student who thinks this is a trivial matter, consider the proposed zoning ordinance that currently threatens both Co-operative and Greek houses, and that will be voted on by city council.

Fortunately, one spot on the 14-person commission is reserved for a current student. Unfortunately, many students interested in serving on the commission may not qualify because of past political work, and those applying to the commission will have to accept some future restrictions on their dealings with the city.

Just as importantly, students can also apply to the Review Panel that will select the 60 candidates from which at least 8 members of the redistricting commission will be selected.

I know there are plenty of students out there who are more than capable of representing Austin’s student population on the redistricting commission and the review panel. I know you are busy, but the application deadline is February 22 for both the commission and the panel. Get to it.

Apply to the review panel

Apply to the redistricting commission