Austin

  • UTexas.edu: Former President William J. Clinton to deliver Carpenter Lecture at The University of Texas at Austin (Tickets for Clinton lecture available Feb. 10)
  • I received this via an email newsletter from my old church’s campus ministry group in Austin a message concerning some recent incidents at UT-Austin. Here are some excerpts from that email…
      . . .

      1.  January 20 during the evening of MLK Day sometime between Monday late night and Tuesday morning, eggs were thrown on the MLK statue on the East Mall.  While the statue is surveillance with cameras…it was later said by UTPD that the cameras had not been working for a number of weeks.

    I remember when this statute was errected and I was proud to be at the dedication ceremony for it. It is such a powerfully moving statute, showing Dr. King in his academic robe looking into the distance on the East mall of the UT campus.

    It is sad of course that bigots would behave like this, but I think it also shows the power of Dr. King’s life and message, that the bigots would feel threatened like this. Eggs will wash away. Dr. King’s message will live on.

     

      2.  January 18-  UT Student Kevin Curry, a member a Student Government for 2 years, one of the recipients of this years Outstanding Students honored at parents weekend, is a member G Phi a Christian Fraternity, a business honors MIS program. Also, an African-American was playing the piano in the UNION while waiting for his bible study to start was stopped by the UTPD for looking “furtive” and routinely asked for his id to verify his student status.  Even after insisting that he (and his friends) was a student and showed UTPD both his ID’s he was checked for warrants and detained by UTPD(an investigation is pending).  For those of us who know Kevin, he is not the type of guy that causes situations or makes up things for the sake of racial strife.

     

    This is neither the first nor will it likely be the last time that UT campus (and also Austin PD) cops harrass minority students and guests of the University. I hope Kevin gets a lawyer and sues. It is time that Austin-area cops enter the 21st century.

      3.  Lastly, this week 2 Fraternities were discovered to have had parties that people were dressed up as derogatory images of African-Americans.  One fraternity Kappa Alpha and the other Phi Gamma Delta.  This is not the first time Kappa Alpha have conducted themselves in this way.

    Sadly this is not just a UT-phenomenon, given the recent controversy concerning the “Klan”-themed frat party at Oklahoma State University.

      . . . You might wonder why I am bringing this to your attention..Well I will tell you.  We as Christian have a command to bring reconciliation (in all forms) and justice to this earth and above all Love.  Also, Hope Student Life is a campus ministry.  Therefore, as a campus ministry our prayers should focus on tensions, injustices, possible bitterness and anger, ignorance, and healing of the pain caused by incidents such as these.

      . . . While the Univeristy is most concerned about protecting its image our concern ought to be about addressing old and current sins of discrimination and hate.  What the two Fraternities did on campus is not new, and what is worse than what the frats did, or the egging of MLK, or the racial profiling of Kevin Curry is that a number of students through off hand comments and the Firing Line in the Daily Texan have made comments such as, “What is the Big Deal” or “Why is everyone being so sensitive”….These are the attitudes that should be of the most concern….

    There are two meetings planned to deal with these incidents. The first is on Febuary 17th 6pm in WCH 1.120, with President Larry Faulkner will hosting a Q/A session along with introducing a new committee that will be charged with monitoring and addressing these issues. There will later be a follow-up meeting on Febuary 24th from 7-9pm at the Sanchez Bldg 144 (aka the Education Building, south of the main library).

    I am glad to see Faulkner take action on this. I am curious though as to whether anything real will happen or if this is just an attempt to avoid bad P.R. Time will tell I suppose.