How Republicans’ threats to tenure and diversity might undercut their own efforts to advance Texas’ universities
Texas lawmakers are poised to create a new multibillion-dollar endowment to boost emerging research universities in national rankings. But faculty members say banning diversity offices and tenure would stymie those efforts.
Texas higher ed leaders optimistic about funding, faculty uneasy about culture wars as new session starts
Community colleges want a funding overhaul this legislative session, and four-year universities are hoping for a boost in research funds. Meanwhile, faculty are bracing for a potential threat to tenure and limits to conversations about race.
A Texas State bone marrow registry program became a national model. Now, its leader is under investigation for diverting money to support an affair.
The university has declined to say much about the questionable spending, documented in records provided to The Texas Tribune. The Texas State University System is investigating the matter.
Texas State University president to retire at end of school year after 20 years
President Denise Trauth oversaw years of growth at Texas State as it became a Hispanic Serving Institution, a Texas Emerging Research University and underwent the most construction projects since the university's founding.
Texas universities urge passage of funding bill for campus construction to train more medical students after pandemic
Rep. Jim Murphy said lawmakers selected projects that would address the state’s nursing and medical professional shortages as the COVID-19 pandemic reiterated additional need for skilled workers.
Here are the spring 2021 graduation ceremony plans for San Antonio-area universities, colleges
The University of Texas at San Antonio recently announced that it will hold in-person commencement ceremonies for graduates, but guests will not be allowed. Read more on the details for graduation ceremonies at each San Antonio-area university below. AdKSAT has reached out to the Alamo Colleges, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, Trinity University and the University of the Incarnate Word for more details on their graduation ceremonies. San Antonio College will have its commencement in person at 11 a.m. on May 8 at the San Antonio College campus. University of the Incarnate WordGraduates will be honored with in-person, outdoor graduation ceremonies on May 7-8 at Benson Stadium.
Rescue organization to resume search for Texas State student last seen near Luling
LULING, Texas – A nonprofit organization dedicated to finding missing people will restart its search for a Texas State student who has not been seen since December. Starting Friday, Texas Search and Rescue — known as TEXSAR — will commence on a large search for Jason David Landry, 21. Landry was involved in a car crash near Luling that happened around midnight on Dec. 14, according to the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office. TEXSAR officials said more than 100 members will be involved in this search, including a search and rescue K9 team and a mounted search patrol. Related:Law enforcement searching for Texas State student who disappeared after crash near LulingSearch continues for missing Texas State student who crashed car while returning home from school
Dwindling food, flooded halls, unflushable toilets: Texas’ university dorms descend into chaos during winter storm
“I feel like I’m in hell, like I’m in prison,” said Texas State University freshman Nicholas Ware, who spent three days without heat and power until Wednesday evening. Anh Adams, another freshman at Texas State, was forced to evacuate her dorm Monday morning after a pipe burst on the floor above her. Texas State officials did not return a request for comment. At Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, students have been without water, which has limited their access to toilets. “People have just assumed that that's not something they need to worry about right now.”AdDisclosure: Facebook, Sam Houston State University, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University and University of North Texas have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors.
New developments arise in case of missing Texas State University student
New developments are arising in the mysterious disappearance of Texas State University student Jason Landry. The 21-year-old disappeared in December as he drove home to the Houston area to visit his family ahead of the holidays. Data shows at 11:24 p.m., Jason entered the city of Luling, off of Highway 80, and stopped using the Waze App and began using Snapchat. At 12:31 a.m., Landry’s vehicle was found after it was damaged. RELATED: Search continues for missing Texas State student who crashed car while returning home from school
Republican Texas lawmakers reviving push to end in-state tuition for undocumented college students
Two state lawmakers want to prevent undocumented college students from being able to pay in-state tuition rates. Two freshman Republican state representatives want to stop undocumented immigrants from being able to pay in-state tuition at Texas’ public universities, they announced Friday. In 2001, Texas became the first state to allow undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition. In his statement, Cason called in-state tuition rates for undocumented students “handouts” from the Legislature that frustrate Texans whose property taxes are rising. AdThis is not the first time Texas GOP lawmakers have sought to repeal the 2001 law that allows undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition.
‘It was a mistake,’: Texas State University says after Rep. Doggett’s video omitted from program
(Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)SAN MARCOS, Texas – Texas State University officials say they made a mistake and that event organizers acted “without following university policy,” when they did not allow a video from U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett to be played in a university-sponsored program. Below is a draft of the program schedule, provided to KSAT by Doggett’s office:Draft schedule of Texas State event. At the end of the video, he urges students at Texas State to engage with him with what they think of the future. The request for the Congressman’s video and the decision to not include the video in the inauguration program was made deep in the university organization without following university policy. He frequently speaks at our new student convocation, welcoming freshmen to Texas State and encouraging them to be involved in the civic process.
Rescue organization suspends search for Texas State student who disappeared near Luling
LULING, Texas – Texas EquuSearch, a volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to searching for missing people, has suspended its search for a Texas State student who disappeared near Luling. Law enforcement officers found the crashed vehicle near Salt Flat Road north of Interstate 10, but do not know how the incident occurred. On Dec. 14, officials had a helicopter crew search the area for Landry or any other possible victims and conducted a search on the ground. The search organization said that they believe that the area where Landry disappeared has been “searched thoroughly.” Frank Black, spokesperson for the organization, said they will wait until law enforcement officials obtain “credible and sufficient information” for their teams to search. As a result, Texas EquuSearch is suspending our search operations for Jason until law enforcement investigators obtain credible and sufficient information that would lead our team into a more specific area to search.”Related:Law enforcement searching for Texas State student who disappeared after crash near LulingSearch continues for missing Texas State student who crashed car while returning home from school
Search continues for missing Texas State student who crashed car while returning home from school
CALDWELL COUNTY, Texas – Authorities are still searching for a 21-year-old Texas State University student has not been seen since a car crash earlier this week. Landry was reported missing Monday morning after Caldwell County officials said he crashed his vehicle on Salt Flat Road, near Luling. County officials told the Statesman his car went off the road and spun out, though it’s unclear what caused the crash. Landry is described as being 6 feet, 1 inch tall with brown hair and brown eyes, according to the Caldwell County Office of Emergency Management. Anyone with information on Landry’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Caldwell County sheriff’s office at 512-398-6777.
Law enforcement searching for Texas State student who disappeared after crash near Luling
LULING, Texas – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is continuing their search for a Texas State student who disappeared following a car crash near Luling, Texas. According to a department spokesperson, the crash happened at around midnight Monday morning. Law enforcement officers found a crashed vehicle near Salt Flat Road north of Interstate 10, but do not know how the incident occurred. Officials are still trying to locate the victim who they believe may be Jason David Landry, 21, a Texas State University student. A university spokesperson confirmed that DPS would be handling the case.
Records detail hiring of Beto O’Rourke by Texas State, including salary, resume and his future plans
SAN MARCOS, Texas – Texas State University hired a new adjunct professor to teach a Texas politics class who has strong name ID. Grasso responded that the former Texas congressman would be teaching PS 4325, Texas Politics, via a remote learning platform — Zoom. Did the coronavirus impact any hiring at Texas State? Texas State issued the following statement to KSAT regarding O’Rourke’s hiring:“Our goal at Texas State is to provide our students with a well-rounded academic experience. Read Texas State’s communication with O’Rourke in full below:Related: Beto O’Rourke to teach politics at Texas State University in 2021, report says
Texas State football player killed in San Marcos shooting, botched drug deal, officials say
SAN MARCOS, Texas – Two people have been arrested in the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Texas State University football player during an apparent botched drug deal in San Marcos. City officials said officers arrived at the scene to find Winters with a gunshot wound to the chest. According to the Texas State athletics department’s website, Winters was a sophomore defensive back on the team. City officials said anyone with information about the whereabouts or identity of the two other people involved in the shooting is asked to contact San Marcos police. Winter’s death marks the third homicide in San Marcos this year.
Texas voters have to wear masks while voting despite Gov. Greg Abbott's exemption, federal judge rules
Voters cast their ballots at the Performing Arts Center at Texas State University in San Marcos. Texas voters should be required to wear face masks when casting ballots during the pandemic, a federal district judge ruled Tuesday, invalidating an exemption for polling places that Gov. Greg Abbott had included in his statewide mask mandate. The argument for a mask mandate at the polls was first raised in a much broader lawsuit filed against Abbott and the Texas secretary of state in July by Mi Familia Vota, the Texas NAACP and two Texas voters. “Under these conditions, Black and Latino voters must choose between not voting or risking their lives or the lives of their loved ones to vote.
Texas State University to hold in-person, socially distanced commencement ceremonies in December
SAN MARCOS, Texas – Texas State University announced Monday that it will host in-person, socially distanced commencement ceremonies for its latest crop of graduates. The in-person ceremony for fall graduates will be held on Dec. 11 and a virtual ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 12. Earlier this month, Texas State sent spring and summer graduates who participated in the university’s first-ever virtual commencement ceremony a survey link to gauge interest in an in-person ceremony. For more information on the commencement ceremonies and schedule, click here. Related: Texas State University pauses diversity training after Trump executive order threatens federal funding
TribCast: What high early voting turnout means for Texas
Early voters cast their ballots at the Performing Arts Center at Texas State University in San Marcos on Monday. Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune(Audio unavailable. Click here to listen on texastribune.org.) In this week's episode, Matthew speaks with Alex, Cassi and Patrick about the state of politics in Texas less than two weeks before Election Day.
Beto O’Rourke to teach politics at Texas State University in 2021, report says
Since former Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s near-upset victory against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 and his short-lived presidential run, political observers have wondered what his next move would be. But on Thursday night, the University Star reported that O’Rourke is expected to teach politics at Texas State University in San Marcos in 2021. Based on the situation on campus next year, Grasso told the paper O’Rourke could theoretically teach face-to-face on campus. Texas State is among the largest public universities in the state and has been recognized as a Hispanic-serving institution. “I don’t know that so much it’s going to increase enrollments; it’ll certainly increase visibility,” Grasso told the Star.
Texas State University pauses diversity training after Trump executive order threatens federal funding
Nationwide, the University of Iowa has also suspended training while reviewing the order, as well as some corporations that do business with the federal government. Prior to the order, Texas State offered year-round voluntary diversity training which includes discussions about unconscious bias and microaggressions, Texas State spokesperson Sandra Pantlik said. Texas State law professor Lynn Crossett, who has previously taken diversity training from the university, said there’s nothing controversial within the Texas State training, but the vagueness of the order creates a certain amount of risk for universities. While he said it’s a problem that some universities are canceling diversity training, students shouldn’t worry about long term effects because the order will likely be challenged. But for Benbow, at Texas State, the damage by the university has been done.
Online, spaced-out or even outside: A look at college courses at San Antonio-area universities during the pandemic
Like Trinity, Texas State University in San Marcos has created remote learning study spaces and adopted a new approach to face-to-face learning, applicable to art students. This is what my $25,000 tuition buys me at Texas State! This is what my $25,000 tuition buys me at Texas State! However, a majority of face-to-face classes will include an online or remote component in an effort to reduce classroom density. Video of UTSA students in the orchestra participating in a socially distanced rehearsal is below:Read also:
Texas coronavirus hospitalizations are at a two-month low, but school reopenings pose new risks
People might think we're out of the woods, said Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston. The last time Texas coronavirus hospitalizations were this low was in late June. Some Texas schools have begun in-person instruction, while many others are waiting to reopen after Labor Day or later in the fall. School leaders must weigh the public health risks of reopening against the social and developmental harm of keeping kids out of school. In Texas, about 53% of public school students are Hispanic, and about 13% are Black.
Texas State says students in residence halls with COVID-19 are immediately moved out
SAN MARCOS, Texas As Texas State University students head to class in person, online, and in hybrid courses the university has created a plan to mitigate the spread of the virus for residents in on-campus dorm rooms. Sandra Pantlik, the universitys assistant vice president of university advancement, said the university is reporting that no students at Texas State who have tested positive for COVID-19 are currently living in residence halls. According to Pantlik, positive cases reported to the university are immediately moved out of residence halls and if they are not able to leave campus, they are moved into isolation at a university-owned single apartment, not a residence hall. These are not positive cases, they are asymptomatic close contacts, Pantlik said in an email. RELATED: Texas State University to begin in-person, online classes this week
Texas State University welcomed students back in person Monday. Campus was a ghost town.
At 9:45 a.m. Monday, Texas State University looked like a ghost town. By lunchtime at Texas State, campus was still quiet. Approximately 42% of classes are being offered online and 58% are face to face, said Jayme Blaschke, a Texas State spokesperson. At Texas State, almost half of the student population identifies as Hispanic or Black, groups that are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus nationwide and in Texas. Disclosure: Texas State University, Sam Houston State University, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors.
Texas State University researchers get $500K grant from TPWD to study deadly disease in bats
SAN ANTONIO Texas Parks and Wildlife has awarded a significant grant to Texas State University in an effort to better understand the threat of white-nose syndrome in Texas bats. TPWD is giving Texas State a $500,000 grant, making it one of the largest grants ever given by the department to study non-game wildlife, officials said. Here in Central Texas, bats aid farmers by eating the insects feeding on their crops and are estimated to save cotton farmers $74 per acre in pesticide use. Thus, it is unknown how susceptible Mexican free-tailed bats are to white-nose syndrome, said Texas State associate professor Ivan Castro-Arellano. The study will also identify weather-related and landscape habitat activity patterns for Texas bats in order to help predict the distribution and activity of priority bat species.
Texas State University to begin in-person, online classes this week
Classes start on Aug. 24, but as of Aug. 23, Texas Department of State Health Services has reported 5,250 cases of COVID-19 in Hays County. Wearing a facial covering is mandatory both indoors and outdoors on Texas State campuses unless individuals are alone, the roadmap states. You may ask, Why is Texas State enforcing such strict health and safety measures? What if we didnt? I wonder how long #TXST thinks we will last before going virtual because of a rise in COVID-19 cases? More from KSAT:Texas State University releases health guidelines for attending football games at Bobcat StadiumTexas becomes 4th state to surpass 10,000 virus deathsWere being treated as guinea pigs: Faculty members fear in-person return to Texas universities
Texas State University releases health guidelines for attending football games at Bobcat Stadium
SAN MARCOS – Sporting events at Texas State University’s Bobcat Stadium this year will be unlike anything in years past, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been working in conjunction with the NCAA, the Sun Belt Conference, university, federal, state, and local agencies to keep Bobcat Athletics facilities safe and within the State of Texas guidelines. We look forward to seeing Bobcat fans cheering on our teams this fall.”Before attending a game at Bobcat Stadium, university officials said spectators are encouraged to undergo a self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms. Hand sanitizer stations and social distancing signage will be placed throughout Bobcat Stadium as well. RELATED: UT Austin, Texas State University ask students to self-quarantine for 14 days before coming to campus
Texas State football reschedules game against SMU
SAN MARCOS While several college football conferences like the SEC and the Pac-12 have canceled their non-conference schedules outright, Texas State has decided to buck the trend. On Monday afternoon, Bobcats athletic director Larry Teis announced that the date for the programs home game against the SMU Mustangs had been moved up by a week to Saturday, Aug. 29. The game had originally been scheduled for the following Saturday, Sept. 5. Texas State is still scheduled to face UTSA in San Marcos on Sept. 12. Aside from the benefit of creating another bye week, Texas State is using the move to give themselves more scheduling flexibility in case the coronavirus pandemic forces them to restructure their schedule late in the season.
UT Austin, Texas State University ask students to self-quarantine for 14 days before coming to campus
As COVID-19 cases continue to surge all across Texas, some universities are urging students to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to campus for the fall semester. The University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University are doing just that as a way to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. During the 14-day self-quarantine, students should limit interactions with others and stay in their homes as much as possible while monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms, school officials said. University of Texas at Austin students will also be required to wear face masks, in addition to the 14-day quarantine. As we plan and prepare for the fall, the university is continuing to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19 in Austin,... Posted by The University of Texas at Austin on Wednesday, July 29, 2020Read also:
Some university students, staff prepare to return to campuses amid COVID-19 case surge in Texas
SAN ANTONIO Students at Texas State University in San Marcos are gearing up to return to face-to-face learning starting next Monday. The university has detailed its Roadmap to Return plan online, saying its a slow, methodical, phased-in approach to ensuring students return and safety precautions are met. They said Texas State is in constant communication with local and state health officials. The University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Incarnate Word expect to have their fall plan details by next week. James said professors at UIW are ready to pivot to online learning if the situation changes.
Texas biggest public universities will require masks this fall. Enforcement will be a challenge.
Eddie Gaspar/The Texas TribuneDetermined to see students return to college in the fall, some of Texas' biggest universities are requiring face masks as a safeguard against the coronavirus. Texas A&M University, the University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University officials have all announced that masks will be non-negotiable next semester. But along with anti-mask sentiment, state officials are worried that young Texans are accelerating the spread of COVID-19. In Hays County, home of Texas State, people in their 20s accounted for 50.7% of all the cases last week. Disclosure: Texas State University, the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors.
Texas State University fires employee who called Black Lives Matter protesters a ‘bunch of monkeys’
SAN MARCOS – An administrative assistant at Texas State University was fired this month after calling Black Lives Matter activists a “bunch of monkeys” and threatening to spread COVID-19 at a protest during a Facebook Live stream. The staff member was identified online as Stacia Brassell through social media posts from students at Texas State. Texas State University does not condone these posts and they do not reflect our values. Texas State Men’s Head Basketball Coach Danny Kaspar in currently under investigation for allegedly making racially insensitive remarks towards players during practice. “The university encourages all students to report incidents of racism, bias or prejudice in the Bias Response System,” the school’s tweet read.
Feds pay Texas State researchers to find faster ways to locate dead bodies with drones
SAN MARCOS – Texas State University announced its Forensic Anthropology Center was awarded a $280,000 grant to utilize drones to locate human remains. According to the press release from the university, the drones are equipped with infrared, hyperspectral and multispectral imaging. We’re collecting temperature and decomposition scores and comparing that to the data from the drone,” Wescott said. She was not found for several days despite extensive searching that included an aerial drone," the press release reads. Wescott said the work conducted at Texas State and data gathered, could become crucial when utilizing drones in either a research or law enforcement related capacity.
Black activist critically injured after being shot by Austin police is recent San Antonio high school graduate
AUSTIN, Texas A black activist who was critically injured after he was shot by Austin police with less-lethal ammunition has been identified by family as Justin Howell, a 20-year-old Texas State University student who recently graduated from Communications Arts High School in San Antonio. GoFundMe information for Taft Band alumni Justin Howell injured in Austin this week. Texas State President Denise Trauth also issued a statement on Twitter confirming Howell is currently a student. Today, I learned one of our students, Justin Howell, was critically injured in a protest in Austin on Sunday, May 31. Howell blasted Manley in the op-ed for failing to take responsibility or apologize to his family and the group of protesters carrying his brother.
Texas State University announces $30 million in financial assistance to students affected by COVID-19
SAN MARCOS, Texas – Texas State University is trying to help students who have been affected by COVID-19. $15 million is from federal emergency funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the CARES Act. “For many of our students, the financial insecurity brought on by COVID-19 is an overwhelming burden,” said Texas State University President Denise Trauth. “I want to thank the members of our Texas Congressional delegation for their support of the CARES Act and the help it is providing our students. Students can complete an online application showing their need for the funds after April 27.
Texas State University: 10 people self-quarantined due to possible exposure to virus while overseas
Texas State University is continuing to monitor 10 people who will be under self-quarantine for 14 days due to possible exposure to the novel coronavirus. The university is monitoring the group “out of an abundance of caution," Dr. Emilio Carranco, the university’s chief medical officer, said in a statement. “The university is committed to protecting the health of our Texas State community and will continue to closely monitor the evolving coronavirus situation,” he said. There are no cases of the new virus, COVID-19, in the Texas State community or the San Marcos area. Unlike the growing number of college communities, like Rice, Princeton and Ohio State Universities, that have canceled classes, Texas State is continuing business as usual.
Graphic video shows Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members attack Texas State University student
SAN MARCOS, Texas – A Texas State University student is suing the local chapter of Pi Kappa Phi, the fraternity’s national chapter and at least three members of the fraternity following a brutal fight in San Marcos in October. Nikolas Panagiotopoulos, who was allegedly left with a fractured skull and traumatic brain injury due to the skirmish, is seeking $1 million in damages, according to KVUE. The Pi Kappa Phi University at Austin chapter was given a four-year ban for hazing in October after an investigation found that pledges were made to drink milk mixed with hand soap and laundry detergent, forced to eat cat food and shot with airsoft guns, the Dallas Morning News reported. Accusations of shoddy hiring practices dog Texas State University police departmentTwo people are facing felony aggravated assault charges as a result of the incident and the fraternity has been suspended. Panagiotopoulos is still working toward graduating in May.
Intermittent fasting may provide health benefits, Texas State study finds
SAN MARCOS, Texas – New research that was conducted in part at Texas State University indicates that intermittent fasting may provide significant health benefits. Some of the health benefits include improved cardiometabolic health, improved blood chemistry and reduced risk for diabetes, according to the study. It is a way to use fasting each day to promote various aspects of cardiometabolic health,” said Matthew McAllister, assistant professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance. First pediatric flu death of the season reported in San AntonioIn the Texas State University study, 22 men were divided into two groups to complete a 28-day study. And the reduction of daily calories would cause weight loss and other health benefits,” McAllister said.
Forensic experts, students work to identify immigrant remains
SAN MARCOS, Texas – The “processing” of immigrant bodies would be too gruesome for the untrained, but for forensic science students it is a necessary task that they volunteered to do on behalf of loved ones. "Their families are besides themselves trying to find out what happened to them," said Dr. Lori Baker, the forensic anthropologist at Baylor University. She is leading the volunteer effort by other experts and students at Baylor, Texas State University and the University of Indianapolis. You just don't hear about these things," said Sabrina Lacruz, who just graduated from Baylor with a degree in forensic science. "It is a silent mass disaster," said Dr. Kate Spradley, the forensic anthropologist at Texas State overseeing their work at the Freeman Ranch near San Marcos.