UT campus

The Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, which is on the UT campus, holds nearly 2,000 Native American human remains, according to Bryant Celestine, a representative from the Alabama-Coushatta tribe of Texas.

UT researchers originally acquired the human remains from excavations during New Deal-era public works’ projects, donations and purchases from private collections and other construction-related excavations, said Marybeth Tomka, head of collections at the laboratory. Celestine said he believes the human remains should belong to their respective tribes.

Bureaucratic requirements within the repatriation process and the historical realities of Texan Native Americans make it difficult for tribes to reclaim and rebury the remains of their ancestors today, according to Celestine and anthropology associate professor Shannon Speed.

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 currently governs the repatriation process for Native American human remains. In order for a tribe to complete the process, the tribe must be federally recognized and must be able to prove its affiliation with the remains in question.

The lack of natively Texan, federally recognized tribes in the country makes it difficult for the remains to reach the tribe that they belong to, Speed said.

“The biggest issue in Texas with regards to repatriation is that we have had many, many tribes over time in this area, but we currently only have three federally recognized tribes, none of which are original to the area,” Speed said. “All the remains are extremely unlikely to be from any one of those tribes, and the appropriate tribes aren’t automatically consulted for [Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act] because they are not federally recognized.”

Celestine said the requirement to prove the human remains’ affiliation with documentation hinders many tribes’ ability to repatriate remains because existing research has incorrect information.

“A lot of times the information that is in those documents is not necessarily from the native point of view,” Celestine said. “They contain assumptions that have been made over time based on one researcher’s experience, and at some point, it becomes the law of the land and anything that challenges that is normally disrespected and ignored. It impedes upon some tribes ability to get repatriation in certain instances.”

Tomka said the laboratory has recently undertaken new initiatives to reach out to tribes native to Texas living outside of the state and to make honest efforts in finding and using reliable information to ensure that all tribes have a fair opportunity to claim their ancestors.

“It’s just best policy to start the consultation process as soon as possible [and] as fair as possible,” Tomka said. “It works out for everybody because then nobody feels like they are being ignored [and] nobody feels like they are being stepped on or put aside. So we ask, ‘We are going into an area that is in your native lands. What would you like us to do?’”

Photo Credit: Caleb Kuntz | Daily Texan Staff

UT campus will close at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and remain closed until 1 p.m. Thursday because of inclement winter weather.

Classes will resume at 2 p.m., and UT shuttle services will start at 12:45 p.m.

University officials are concerned about precipitation freezing throughout the night, causing icy roads and poor driving conditions for those trying to get to the campus, according to University spokeswoman Cindy Posey. 

Posey said the safety of students, faculty and staff was the main concern and determining factor when officials looked at the conditions.

"We take into consideration students and employees traveling by foot, public transportation and car," Posey said. "We want everyone to be safe." 

The University issued a preliminary warning Wednesday afternoon saying officials would monitor the situation closely before making any decisions.

Posey said University officials will continue monitoring the situation tomorrow morning.

UT Incident Meteorologist Troy Kimmel said some areas in Austin are projected to have a quarter inch of ice and that it could take until afternoon for the ice to melt.

"The main thing I would suggest is that people not be on the rode after 10 p.m. tonight and should remain off the roads through the morning hours based on what we're seeing," Kimmel said.

AISD cancelled school for the entirety of the day.

In this podcast, Anthony Green and Madlin Mekelburg discuss the week in news including Student Government representatives calling for the removal of SG chief of staff Chris Jordan, criminal trespassing rates on the UT campus during winter months and Senate of College Council’s formation of The Transfer Student Ad-Hoc Committee. 

You can catch the podcast live every Friday at 3:30 p.m. on KVRX 91.7FM and online at kvrx.org 

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

After an initial test launch in October, the “Our Campus Story” feature on Snapchat has returned to the UT campus.

The feature allows students to post photos or videos on a regular feed that can be viewed by other users on or around campus for up to 24 hours. Snapchat originally announced that the launch of the feature at the University was temporary and would be brought back eventually.

“We’re going to visit a few other schools but hope to be back,” Snapchat said in an October email. “We hope you loved it.”

Along with UT, the feature was also available at the University of Southern California, Pennsylvania State University and the University of California-Los Angeles campuses since its launch in October. Mike Horn, UT’s director of digital strategy, said he didn’t quite understand why it had been taken down in the first place.  

“All I can assume is that they are testing the service out like it’s a beta program, and so we should expect it to be inconsistent,” Horn said.

Along with bringing back the feature at the test campuses this past week, Snapchat also expanded the feature to three more campuses: the University of Colorado-Boulder, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Texas A&M University.

“We can’t wait to roll out Our Campus Story to more schools across the world,” Snapchat said in a statement.

Madalynn Kainer, Texas A&M agricultural communications and journalism sophomore, said she enjoys the feature.

“I think it’s cool to see everyone’s perspective on what’s going on around campus,” Kainer said. “It allows you to get the whole picture of your school.”

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Former sophomore basketball guard Martez Walker was charged with criminal trespassing on the UT campus Tuesday, according to a Travis County affidavit.

After Walker was charged with assault with injury in the San Jacinto Residence Hall last week, he received a letter from Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly prohibiting him from returning to the dorm without permission from the vice president of student affairs, according to the affidavit.

The letter, which went into effect Thursday, stated, "If you violate the terms of this letter, you will be arrested for criminal trespass, in accordance with Texas' Criminal Trespass statute."

Despite this order, Travis County records show he was seen entering the dormitory at 10:08 a.m. Monday.  Once an officer arrived at the dorm, Walker was taken into custody for criminal trespass and transported to the Travis County Jail.

While UTPD said the incident happened on Monday, the affadavit reports Walker was booked on Tuesday.

Head coach Rick Barnes suspended Walker from the team indefinitely last Friday after the alleged assault. 

If convicted, Walker faces a Class A misdemeanor charge, which carries a penalty of up to $4,000 and/or a year in jail.

The title assigned to Yvette Nicole Brown’s upcoming event on the UT campus — “Navigating the Business of Success” — threw her off guard.

“That was not my title,” Brown said. “I was surprised as anyone else. It’s going to be a free, fun [and] hopefully joyous evening. It’s not going to be stuffy or like a lecture. We’re going to have time.”

Brown will be speaking as part of a speaker series sponsored by Campus Events + Entertainment on Wednesday night at The Texas Union. She encouraged those who talk to her on Twitter to stay afterward and introduce themselves by their Twitter handles rather than their names. 

The actress has appeared in many different TV shows and movies but is most recently and notably known as Shirley Bennet of Greendale Community College in the TV show “Community.” She promised to speak from the heart and not from notes, foregoing the formal approach the word “lecture” brings to mind.

“Whenever I speak to young people, I get a feel for the room,” Brown said. “I get a feel for where they’re coming from — I may be different than any speaker UT has had. I don’t have bullet points or magical speech plan.”

Brown loves her character Shirley but does not identify with her personality. The biggest similarity between Brown and her conservative, sassy character is their shared religion.

“We’re both Christians,” she said. “But Shirley is a mess — violent and judgmental. A good mess — I love her — and she’s always striving to be better. And we look alike.”

Brown explained “Community”’s following grew from fan-based social media involvement. After NBC canceled the show, Yahoo picked it up — a move Brown felt was appropriate.

“I kind of feel like the way our show has played out — it is a social media show,” Brown said. “It grew from social media and is celebrated by social media and lives and dies by social media. So it’s appropriate to be on Yahoo, since it’s an Internet show.”

Brown tries to stay active on all forms of social media, including Twitter and Facebook. While people familiar with “Community” may read her tweets in Shirley’s sugary voice, her normal speaking voice sounds very different. On the show, she alternates between a high, sweet voice and a deep, commanding tone, depending on Shirley’s mood.  

“I try to give that person their own thing — their own personality,” she said. “It all goes by what the writer writes, and Dan Harmon gave [Shirley] this wonderful duality. But neither one are me.”

But Brown is just as direct and tough as Shirley. When she goes through her Twitter feed, she tries to “destroy rude trolls.”

“I’ve never seen such vile comments and rudeness on Twitter and comment sections in the Internet,” Brown said. “When I see any of these shenanigans, I immediately shut it down. Politely, but to the point. I always speak my mind, and I always try to give teachable lessons.”

In this week's podcast, Jacob Kerr, Amanda Voeller and special guest Bobby Blanchard recap the biggest news stories from the Spring 2014 semester. They also discuss Bobby's recent story on student housing on the UT campus.

To call “Monday, Monday” a book about the 1966 UT Tower shooting is misleading and is a disservice to both the book and the historical event. The plot does kick off with a gripping retelling of one of the first American shootings, but the story quickly diverges.

Elizabeth Crook’s novel spans roughly four decades of three UT students’ lives directly affected by Charles Whitman’s rampage from the top of the Tower, which killed 13 people. Crook follows her characters from the tragedy that brought them together to their marriages, affairs, family secrets and journeys to West Texas.

Even though her retelling of the horror on the UT campus is well written and informed, the rest of the novel raises the question, “Why the Tower shooting?”

The shooting became little more than an inciting incident — an easily recognized buzzword that would draw in readers and provide context to keep readers’ attention when the story was lacking. 

The intensity of the day Shelly Maddox spent on the concrete with a bullet wound that introduces the story is quickly pulled out from beneath the reader and is replaced with a family drama. Subplots interweave with subplots, and every character keeps at least three secrets that are revealed in the last four chapters.

Seventy pages or so into the novel, the story shifts and it becomes easier to appreciate Crook’s take on a young mother who is unable to keep her baby and is faced with the opportunity to do what is right for her child. The characters develop, and as they gain distance from UT, the story improves. 

One struggle with reading “Monday, Monday,” is that it walks a fine line between establishing a historical and geographical context and name-dropping. At points it seems that Crook is determined to prove that she did her research, and she does so by taking any opportunity to show she has been on the UT campus. 

The characters attend class in the South Mall, eat in the Union Building and walk down the Drag. What could have been a nuanced connection between history and the novel is heavy-handed and overbearing. On their trips to Alpine, the characters don’t just drive through small towns, they go through Fredericksburg, Kerrville and Junction. With so many Texas landmark mentions, non-Texans will probably be left to follow along on Google Maps.

The main issue with “Monday, Monday” is one of expectations. The novel isn’t about the Tower shooting; it’s about characters dealing with their mistakes and facing their consequences, sometimes decades down the road. 

The fictionalized characters in Crook’s novel can hardly be called victims of the shooting, not because they didn’t have scars to prove it, but because the problems they faced weren’t caused by a gunman on the observation deck. They were caused by their own choices. After reaching that conclusion, “Monday, Monday” became an enjoyable — albeit slightly forced — family drama.

“I bleed burnt orange” is a cliche largely understood to be a metaphor, but thanks to a company specializing in college-themed fragrances, it just became a little easier to try to achieve oneness with your university. 

This week, the company Masik, which specializes in collegiate perfumes and colognes, rolled out a new line of UT-themed scents. The line, named “Passionate, Triumphant and Strong,” comes in scents for both men and women. Some of the smells listed on the company product description page as having gone into the formulas are “aged bourbon accord” in the men’s cologne and “skin musk” in the women’s perfume. It appears that Masik understands that hard liquor and body odor are two of the indispensable smells that define UT, particularly on game day. What’s more surprising is that UT is late to the party in licensing its name for a perfume. Both the University of Oklahoma and Texas A&M University already have their own, and Masik has plans to expand its line to include namesake scents for other universities in the future.

Anyone who’s been on the UT campus, or any other major public university campus for that matter, knows that collegiate brands are important. They’re distinctive, they help define the identity of the wearer and they represent an affiliation or value set to people who see it. A strong brand with a loyal contingent of consumers can be an attractive and valuable asset for the entity that owns it. According to figures released in January by the Wall Street Journal, UT is the most profitable college football franchise at $875 billion in net worth. 

Although, increasingly, churning out branded merchandise leads to bizarre products such as collegiate perfumes, it makes sense for UT to maximize the monetary value of not only the sports teams, but the Longhorn brand itself. It would behoove the administration to aggressively pursue this strategy, if it wasn’t clearly doing that already. The embrace of corporate sponsorship by college athletics teams has become a national norm, and the Longhorns are leading the way in going even further. According to a February article from the Houston Chronicle, men’s athletics director Steve Patterson has proposed UT playing a football game in Mexico City. This model has proved hugely successful for other, admittedly more globally marketable, sports teams. The NBA started staging games internationally in 1978 and has since expanded the scope of these games to more than 20 countries and made these games a regular practice.

Thinking globally about UT and the Longhorn brand is the only way for Texas to remain the financial juggernaut it has become. Expanding the brand abroad could more prominently feature the University to international academic talent. 

“Normally there would be an end for most brands,” marketing senior lecturer Stephen Walls said. “University athletic programs appear to be a bit different in that people will buy anything with the logo. In fact, you can already buy UT-branded car mats. I would say that as long as the product doesn’t tarnish the image of the university … then there probably is not much more of a limit.”

Increased branding for UT isn’t lacking in student support, either: a piece of legislation introduced to the Student Government assembly Tuesday supports the proliferation of branded material around UT campus, which the authors feel would “increase school spirit and to encourage a positive campus climate.”

Some people may protest that the inextricable tying of an educational institution with commercialism could raise conflicts of interest. But raising funds is one of the most essential functions of the University. One of President William Powers Jr.’s chief successes has been his ability to raise funds from the alumni community, bolstering the University’s balance sheet and national rankings. Extensive alumni and corporate fundraising efforts are now commonplace for every major school that runs on relatively unpredictable state funding. It is clear that UT stays competitive through its raising of revenue, and sometimes the best way to raise revenue is to capitalize on brand loyalty and recognition.

These revenue-raising campaigns also serve to insulate the University from devastating budget cuts from state legislators. In 2011, in the wake of dismal budget projections by the comptroller, the Legislature slashed higher education funding significantly. Although funding may have recovered somewhat since the recent oil boom, institutions that take state money seem to have learned a lesson about how fickle and unpredictable that money can be.

So while it may initially seem strange to introduce a fragrance to the market that bears a university’s name, it increasingly fits into a long-term funding strategy of continuously raising money. In a time of increasing financial pressure on public universities, the way to ensure that what starts here changes the world is to make sure that what starts here earns royalties, too.

Matula is a finance junior from Austin.

In this week's podcast, Jacob Kerr, Amanda Voeller and guest Madlin Mekelburg discuss the past week's Civil Rights Summit, which was hosted on the UT campus by the LBJ Library to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act. They also talk about the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations' report on Regent Wallace Hall.