University of Texas: ‘Border Patrol’ Frat Party a ‘Freedom of Speech’ Issue

Remember a few weeks ago when a University of Texas fraternity’s “border patrol” party led to a letter of concern from UT students? According to local reports out of UT, university officials see no problem with the party and the Fiji frat won’t face any penalties or punishment from the school:

Texas Fiji’s “border patrol” theme party held on Feb. 7 did not violate any University rules and will not result in any penalty for the fraternity, according to Soncia Reagins-Lilly, senior associate vice president for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.

Though the party was intended to have a “Western” theme, according to Fiji President Andrew Campbell, several party attendees said the party theme was communicated as “border patrol.” Many attendees wore sombreros, ponchos and construction hats with names such as “Jefe” and “Pablo Sanchez” written on them.

Reagins-Lilly said the fraternity did not violate any rules, primarily because the party was held off campus, but she said the Dean of Students office is working with the fraternity to increase its cultural sensitivity.
“Civility, diversity and citizenship are integrated into the fabric of the University of Texas at Austin,” Reagins-Lilly said. “‘There is ongoing work integrated in everything we do.”


Favourite tweets from "Shit Academics Say"

There is a twitter account entitled, “Shit Academics Say,” which rings so true and which I love so much that I’ve been retweeting entries periodically.  Here are some of their recent entries that made me snort with laughter while hanging my head in shame:

1. “Email me to remind me to email you.”

2. “You had me at ‘hence.’”

3. “I am outdoorsy.  I look out the window when I work.”

4. “I’ll be there in just a minute.  I just gotta finish writing this one thing.”

5. “I will not work over the holidays.  I will not work over the holidays.  Except those reviews and revisions that should only take a few hours.”

6. “Praxis.”

7. “Nothing. I was talking to myself.”

8. “I had a dream that I cheated on my manuscript with another manuscript.”

9. “If you want it done right, don’t tell your co-authors until it is done.”

10. “I crossed my arms halfway through the talk to clearly express my displeasure with the speaker unjustifiably equating our lines of work.”

Seriously, fellow academics: run, don’t walk, towards this twitter site.  It gave me countless hours of amusement.

The only English language piece we found was a story by Prensa Latina:

San Juan, May 13 (Prensa Latina) Thousands of members of the Puerto Rican university community rejected the possible cuts to the budget of state University of Puerto Rico, in a massive march because of the fiscal crisis of the island.

Students, teachers, investigators and non-teaching workers of the UPR and members of private universities met at the Capitol of San Juan to march up to La Fortaleza, the host of the Puerto Rican Executive.

There is very little evidence that the real interest rate in the Eurozone as a whole has come down. Only in the ‘catching up’ countries such as Ireland, Spain, Portugal, and Greece did the real interest rate come down significantly. It is in these countries (with the exception of Portugal) that we observe an acceleration of economic growth as predicted by the theory. Much of this growth, however, turns out to have been temporary.

Paul De Grauwe, Economics of Monetary Union, on exchange rate uncertainty and economic growth.

Image: Euro coin and banknotes by Avij. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

One-in-five Latino students in Illinois participate in AP exams, which could earn them college credit prior to attending college. Also, over the last decade, participation among Latino students in Illinois has quadrupled, reaching 10,000 (9,287 in 2014 compared to 2,160 in 2004).


Congratulations to Luke Mason, University of Surrey, who has been named Law Teacher of the Year 2014. He was presented with the coveted national teaching award, sponsored by Oxford University Press, on 28 February. 

In the top photo, Luke Mason stands on the far right together with the other finalists: Kai Möller, Mark Edwards, Sarah Marie Nason, Mark Davys, and Lars Mosesson (left to right).

The announcement comes at the end of a rigorous and demanding judging process spanning several months. Julian Webb, one of the judges, paid tribute to candidates saying that excellence was the new normal when it came to the Law Teacher of the Year and that they had to look for an “indefinable spark” to distinguish the winner.

Today, some 800 of the roughly 3,000 four-year colleges and universities in America make SAT or ACT submissions optional. But before a new study released Tuesday, no one had taken a hard, broad look at just how students who take advantage of “test-optional” policies are doing: how, for example, their grades and graduation rates stack up next to their counterparts who submitted their test results to admissions offices.

We have some fantastic recent and upcoming releases at TNP this February, March and April. Fukushima by David Lochbaum and Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists and Susan Q. Stranahan is an invaluable read for energy activists: recounting the story of the reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, it is both an intense narrative account and a call to action for anti-nuclear activists.  Check out the Los Angeles Times review and Edwin Lyman and Susan Q. Stranahan on Democracy Now! this morning.

Joshua Steckel and Beth Zasloff’s Hold Fast to Dreams, out on 3/25, tells the story of Josh, a college guidance counselor, and ten high school students from a Brooklyn high school as they navigate their way through college applications and their inaugural college years while battling daily realities like insecure immigration status and homelessness. It’s moving and momentous, and it reimagines a higher education system in which the choice to go to college is available to all. Kirkus calls it “A powerful story of courage and hope that should inspire others to follow trailblazers like Steckel and his students.”

And in April, Julia Deck’s novel Viviane, translated from the French by Linda Coverdale is officially on sale! A huge sensation in France, the novel is narrated by a 42-year-old recently separated woman who has just committed a violent crime; it plays with narration and perspective and madness in a very satisfying way—and it just won a French Voices award!

We’ve had a fantastic time keeping tabs on our favorite publishing houses, non-profits, publications, and activist organizations and posting everything from facts and figures on Black life from our book Black Stats to book reviews by amazing interns. And of course we want to hear from our readers – reblog or be in touch with what you’d like to see more from us here on Tumblr.