With graduation, UT caps a tragic, turbulent 2016-17 academic year

Incoming freshman Maxwell Gaddy, from Midland gets help from his father Chris and sister Jenna, 16, moving into Duren Residence Hall on the UT-Austin campus on Aug. 19, 2016. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

As May approaches, so does the end of another academic year at the University of Texas. Over the course of the last several months, a lot has happened on the Forty Acres: Campus carry, protests, demonstrations, a farewell to Charlie Strong, a memorial for Haruka Weiser and, more recently, a drive-by shooting on campus. Here’s a quick recap of some major things that happened during the 2016-2017 academic year:

August

UT honors victims of 1966 tower shooting for 50th anniversary:

On Aug. 1, victims of the 1966 sniper attack were honored at the UT Tower. A memorial was also placed near UT’s turtle pond, with the names of the 15 people who were killed by engineering student Charles Whitman. Survivors, the student body president at the time and the police officers who were involved with the incident attended the commemoration ceremony. This 50th anniversary coincidentally fell on the same day that the campus carry gun law went into effect.

Campus carry law goes into effect:

On August 1, Senate Bill 11, legislation also known as “campus carry” went into effect, permitting the concealed carry of handguns by license holders on campus.

Campus carry is protested with sex toys:

What better way to start off the first day of a new school year than with a protest with dildos. “Cocks Not Glocks” showed their opposition to the new campus carry gun law by brandishing the sex toys on backpacks and holding a rally on campus. In August, the event organizers said they hoped students would continue to carry the items until the law was repealed — the dildo-carrying ended shortly after the protest and the law remains on the books.

September

Bevo XV makes debut:

The young calf made his appearance as the new mascot of UT on Sept. 4 at the football game against Notre Dame— the Longhorns beat the Irish 50-47 after double overtime.

Security officer shot at Sigma Chi party:

On Sept. 11, a security guard was shot in the foot at a fraternity party by a party guest – who was not a student – who had earlier been thrown out of the party for causing trouble. The guard who was shot has sued Sigma Chi, accusing the fraternity of not doing enough to prevent the shooting.

October

Anti-affirmative action bake sale held:

On Oct. 26, the Young Conservatives of Texas held a bake sale that protested the affirmative action policy in college admission. The item prices were listed differently based on gender and race.

November

UT students organize anti-Trump protest:

The day after Donald Trump won the presidential election, hundreds of UT students gathered at the UT Tower for a rally that turned into a daylong march throughout downtown Austin.

UT fires head football coach Charlie Strong:

After three seasons and a record of 16-21, the lowest winning percentage in Longhorn football history, Strong was fired on Nov. 26. Many football players and members of the UT community were upset with this decision— several players reacted on Twitter, thanking Strong and saying bye. It wasn’t long before Strong was hired as the new University of South Florida head football coach and Tom Herman took over the Longhorn football program.

Matthew McConaughey give students a ride:

Alright, alright, alright! If you were lucky enough to call a SURE ride on this night, you may have had Matthew McConaughey as your golf cart driver.

Not to mention, McConaughey also co-taught a film class in the College of Communication, “Advanced Producing: Script to Screen”— Professor McConaughey?

February

The Ellen Show comes to UT:

On Feb. 7, UT students got in formation and put together their best Beyonce costumes in hope of winning two tickets to the Grammys from The Ellen Show. Sophomore Collin Wang won the contest by recreating Beyonce’s underwater pregnancy photo.

March

First Latina, physically disabled student body president is elected:

Fourth-year government and Mexican-American studies major Alejandrina Guzman made UT history when she was elected as the 2017-2018 student body president. Guzman and her running mate Micky Wolf captured 54 percent of the vote after a campus-wide run-off.

Survey released: 15 percent of female undergraduates say they have been raped:

A shocking report was released toward the end of March, detailing sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and harassment. Key findings of the random and voluntary survey also found that 12 percent of undergraduate women said they had experienced attempted rape and 22 percent of students reported having experienced sexist gender harassment from UT faculty or staff.

April

One-year memorial held for slain student Haruka Weiser:

On April 3, UT held a memorial ceremony for Haruka Weiser, the 18-year-old dance student who was found dead on campus in Waller Creek in 2016. Since her killing, the university has made it a priority to enhance safety and security on campus.

UT football gets 43-inch tv screens instead of name plates

Paper name plates are a thing of the past for the Longhorn football program. 43-inch flat screens were installed on every player’s locker, each costing about $10,500. Also, glowing locker doors were implemented!

Gregory Vincent announces he will leave UT for his alma mater:

On April 20 , Gregory Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement, announced that he would be leaving UT in July to be president of his alma mater, Hobart and William Smith— after 11 years of diversity and inclusion work on the Forty Acres.

UT Recreational Sports celebrates 100 years:

On April 21, the university celebrated a century of RecSports, which has grown to 500,000 square feet of recreational space and 47 club sports. UT was one of the first colleges in the country to organize an intramural sports program.

Gunshots on campus:

On the morning of April 27, gunshots were reported on campus and UT police began investigating what they believe was a drive-by shooting. The suspect and the target were thought to be unaffiliated with the university, officials said. Several UT students took to social media to complain about the lack of timeliness when it came to alerting students about the incident and the vagueness of the emergency alert. UTPD notified the students, faculty and staff about the incident nearly an hour after it had taken place.

May

UT stabbing attack on students leaves 1 dead, 3 others injured

First-year student Harrison Brown was killed and three others were hospitalized after a stabbing attack on the University of Texas campus near Gregory Gym around 1:30 p.m. on May 1.

UT Police Chief David Carter identified the suspect in the attack as 21-year-old UT biology student Kendrex J. White of Killeen.

Carter said his officers saw a man, later identified as White, with a “large, bowie-style hunting knife.” One officer drew his gun and told White to get on the ground, which he did, before taking him into custody.

Within about a block, three more people were found stabbed, Carter said.

UT students and employees have been expressing annoyance on social media that they heard about this from campus media, local media and the UT community before a campus alert went out.

Longhorn Band dances through Austin in latest hype video

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Photo via Longhorn Band/YouTube

There’s something familiar about the UT Longhorn Band’s latest hype video. It’s like a play off of those sorority videos everyone’s always buzzing about — the difference being that this one’s full of burnt orange cowboy outfits, an irresistible dog and many of Austin’s most iconic spots.

Related: Jimmie Vaughan, Longhorn Band team up on orange-and-white rhythm & blues

The video, which was posted just a few days ago, has been circulating the university community, garnering more than 3,000 views. It comes in anticipation of Longhorn Band’s “Band Week” and the prospective 250 members expected this fall.

Read: Horns, Aggie bands recall the day music trumped rivalry, tragedy

Hook ’em, y’all.

What readers are saying about a possible Big 12 expansion

Big 12 chancellors, presidents and athletics directors are meeting this week in Irving to discuss the state of the league. Chief among those discussions: Should the Big 12 expand, or stay the way it is, currently with 10 teams? And how likely is it that the league will just dissolve?

Bevo Beat has put together a series of blogs discussing the Big 12’s expansion options. They’ll look at two schools a day for the rest of the week and weigh the pros and cons of each considered team joining the conference. First up for discussion this week are BYU and Boise State.

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But this is the Internet, and emotions run high, especially when speaking about college football. So what did readers have to say about all this Big 12 discussion? A lot.

One reader was annoyed about why the Big 12 was called the Big 12 when the conference only has 10 teams, and thought the conference had become “unwieldy.”HalHallBig12ConferenceFB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some were fed up with the conference and all the talk of expansion.

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As far as expansion talk, many readers weighed in on how they would rearrange the conference.

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And everyone had a lot of thoughts about whether or not the conference should add a championship game in football.

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What’s your take on all of the expansion talk? Let us know in the comments.

 

Reports: ‘Junior the Wendy’s Guy,’ a Texas Union fixture, died Monday

The man owning what were once the fastest fingers in the Texas Union died Monday, according to the Austin Chronicle.

 Junior rings up another customer at Wendy's in the UT Student Union in 2003. (Photo by Laura Skelding/American-Statesman)
Junior rings up another customer at Wendy’s in the UT Student Union in 2003. (Photo by Laura Skelding/American-Statesman)

The Chronicle reports that Ishmael Mohammed Jr., aka “Junior the Wendy’s Guy,” was found unconscious at an Austin bus stop Friday. An examination later showed severe bleeding in his brain, and despite surgery, he died early this week, according to the paper.

Mohammed was the toast of the University of Texas at Austin’s student union for more than a decade, nimbly taking orders for burgers and fries at unbelievable speed. He was “the Rachmaninoff of the register, holding the record for taking the most orders and sales within a 30-minute span, 246 orders for $1,035 — or one order every 7.3 seconds,” according to a 2014 American-Statesman story. Mohammed was the subject of short documentary in 2006.

In 2014, Benjamin McPhaul, a 2011 UT graduate, was approached by Mohammed and found out that the former Wendy’s employee had become homeless after leaving Austin for New York City in 2012 and later returning. McPhaul set up an online fundraising page for Mohammed, smashing the original goal and spreading the word about “Junior” across social media.

Mohammed’s daughter, Kimberly Guerin, told the Daily Texan that the family took her 61-year-old father off life support Sunday morning. From the Texan:

“I know he had been mugged before and that he has had stitches before,” Guerin said. “There have been altercations with people on the street, so they think it was probably a fall, but no one really knows because no one was there.”

Guerin initially set up a GoFundMe page to pay for her father’s funeral, but updates to the campaign indicate that the expenses have since been covered. She wrote on the fundraising page that “We are now going to use the donations to come up with a celebration of his life.”