Cameron Crane

Photo Credit: Mariana Munoz | Daily Texan Staff

After a group of Student Government representatives sought his removal, Chris Jordan, SG chief of staff, will be monitored by assembly members for compliance with SG policy and behavior.

At the SG meeting Tuesday, Jessica Sherman, external affairs committee chair, announced that there would be a new code of conduct and expectations implemented as a zero-tolerance policy to address the responsibilities and behavior of an executive member. 

The announcement came after members of the assembly attempted to remove Jordan from office. A draft of a document, titled “In Support of Chris Jordan’s Removal From Office,” called for his removal, listing reasons behind the assembly’s decision. According to Cameron Crane, College of Natural Sciences representative, the anonymously written document was supported by over 20 assembly members and was intended for internal sharing. Currently, no formal document is required to remove an individual from an appointment.

According to Crane, who said he did not contribute to the document, assembly members had been sharing and contributing to it over the past week. 

The document outlines claims of Jordan’s alleged misconduct, which include Jordan’s supposed failure to release interview notes for external and internal positions in April. The document claims his actions were intentional and that he was aware of the rules requiring the notes to be released. 

According to the document, Jordan has also “exhibited patterns of bullying and physical aggression.” In addition, it stated Jordan failed to communicate with his agency directors and other UT-related entities, claiming he did not file impact reports and poorly handled a proposed Austin City Council debate.

“I don’t think that he has been doing the duties outlined for his position,” Austin Ferguson, College of Fine Arts representative, said in an email. “His lack of transparency and initiative in ensuring that communication is upheld has been the thing that I have picked up on the most. This, in turn, has created some tension between the various branches.”

Jordan’s biggest concern, he said, is the behavioral accusations made against him, including a claim that he shoved Sergio Cavazos, College of Liberal Arts representative, at last week’s meeting. As a result, he notified the Office of the Dean of Students about the document.

“I want to feel safe and feel that I have the opportunity to defend myself because some of this is constructive criticism, and I’d be happy to sit down and talk about it, and we can go down the list, but some of it is just not true,” Jordan said.  

Members of the executive board and the assembly discussed the accusations with Jordan before Tuesday’s SG meeting. Crane — who was present at the meeting, along with Cavazos and Tanner Long, also a College of Liberal Arts representative — said the group decided to implement the code of conduct announced at the meeting once Jordan left. Crane said this compromise would best represent the assembly’s concerns and suggestions as a whole.

According to the assembly board, a group of six SG representatives that speak for the assembly — Braydon Jones, Melysa Barth, Jamie Nalley, Sherman, Cavazos, Chandler Foster and Shannon Geison — communication has been their biggest problem with Jordan this year.

“For the most part, the legislative branch has no knowledge of what agencies are doing internally and externally,” the board said in an email sent by Geison. “[Jordan] can absolutely fix it by apologizing and sharing how he plans to move forward.”

SG President Kori Rady said he stopped Jordan’s removal prior to Tuesday’s meeting in favor of the compromise announced at the meeting. Rady would like to see this code applied to other SG members, not just Jordan.

“I’m the leader of the organization,” Rady said. “And when I see that there is misinformation [and] miscommunication, it is my job to connect the different parties who are not aligned and [make] sure they are on the same page.”

Jordan said he walked into Tuesday’s meeting thinking he was going to be impeached after seeing the document. Although impeachment and removal from office are two different processes, Jordan said they send the same message. 

“What it is is that they don’t have faith in me to do my job and are removing me from my job,” Jordan said. 

Three Student Government representatives are proposing the University hold fewer Friday classes.

Photo Credit: Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff

While most students want to work less on Fridays, three Student Government members are pushing to work more.

SG representatives Cameron Crane, Adam Sacks and Tanner Long have composed an SG resolution asking the University to create more upper division Monday-Wednesday courses. Crane said this would give students Fridays off to work, intern or apply to graduate and professional schools.

“This isn’t [necessarily] adding more classes, because that creates an added cost,” Crane said. “This is just restructuring and shifting courses so that more Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes are offered on a Monday-Wednesday sequence.”

According to Crane, the resolution is being presented for academic purposes, not just as a way for students to have a free Friday. He said the free day would, ideally, increase graduation rates. 

“[Students] can pick and choose, so they can still work and still maintain full-time status,” Crane said. “Versus if they had to cram all of their classes on to Tuesday and Thursday, and not all of their classes for their major are offered that day, well then they might have to stay here an extra semester.”

Monday-Wednesday courses are currently offered in departments across campus, but, according to Crane, they are especially present in the McCombs School
of Business.

Leah Miller, director of academic services for McCombs, said that Monday-Wednesday courses are popular with students and faculty, but they limit the availability of a class and reduce the number of classes that can be scheduled on those days. She said they also create conflicts with Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes.

Marketing lecturer Bill Peterson has been teaching Monday-Wednesday classes for about seven years and said he prefers to do so because they allow the class to be more in-depth.

“I find that in Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes, typically they would be for 50 minutes each of those three days,” Peterson said. “It really isn’t enough time to get into any meaty discussions or exercises or even into a rhythm, in my experience.”

Currently, most Monday-Wednesday and Tuesday-Thursday classes meet for 75 minutes.

After meeting with an official from the Office of the Registrar, Sacks said, for the sequence change to be made, the students would need to talk with faculty members, do extensive research and come up with a detailed plan of action.

“My current curiosity with this issue is how it would affect very specific programs, like upper-division engineering classes, Plan II and [Business Honors Program],” Sacks said. “Programs of this type are very specific in how they like to structure their classes.”

The proposition will be presented at an SG meeting Monday, according to Crane. If the proposal is approved by the SG assembly, Crane said the next step in implementing it would be to continue research and present the idea to Faculty Council.

“If this passes, then we now know this is the official voice of students and this is what students want,” Crane said. “Now we’ll take it to the next phase of having discussion with faculty and seeing what their input is.”

More Monday-Wednesday classes would help students

Human biology junior Cameron Crane was a finalist to serve as the student regent on the UT System Board of Regents.
Human biology junior Cameron Crane was a finalist to serve as the student regent on the UT System Board of Regents.

On Tuesday, Student Government introduced legislation in support of increasing the number of classes available on a Monday-Wednesday schedule. The resolution states that if students have more flexibility in choosing their schedules, graduation rates may increase. Although there's not really a way to measure this, it definitely makes sense — low graduation rates can be attributed to many factors, so diminishing the potential severity of one factor won't do any harm.

Also, the legislation, which points out that the McCombs School of Business already offers classes only Monday through Thursday, says students with three-day weekends could work more hours, possibly reducing their debt upon graduation, and would have additional time to learn outside the classroom through interning, doing research or shadowing professionals, among other opportunities. In addition, students without Friday classes would be able to "attend interviews for, but not limited to, graduate schools, professional schools, and long-term employment with limited disruption and absence from current classes."

Cameron Crane, a College of Natural Sciences representative who co-authored the legislation, said he's applying to medical school, and he had to schedule interviews months in advance before professors had posted their syllabi.

"It's very stressful having to take time off from classes," Crane said. "This caused the stress of, ‘will this conflict with an exam?’ and many professors will not excuse you because unfortunately, it's not a University-excused absence."

At least one UT official said meeting three times per week allows more learning to occur, according to Crane. While this may be the case, I doubt the possible increase in learning is a significant enough difference to outweigh the benefits of more time to work, intern and even to study. Personally, I plan to study for at least a few hours on Fridays, because people generally don't plan much during the day on Fridays, so I'll have fewer distractions than on Saturdays and Sundays. Also, if UT included more Monday-Wednesday classes, many professors won't have to break up their lecture material into smaller time segments.

Of course, the school does offer some Monday-Wednesday classes, but the increase in scheduling options will definitely benefit all students — even if some students prefer Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes, it's no doubt comforting for students to know that they have the option to focus their course schedule on the days they think would be best for them.

Human biology junior Cameron Crane was a finalist to serve as the student regent on the UT System Board of Regents.

Photo Credit: Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff

Human biology junior Cameron Crane is one of four finalists for the student regent position on the UT System Board of Regents.

Crane is the only current UT student who is a finalist, according to the candidates’ applications obtained from the governor’s office by The Daily Texan through the Texas Public Information Act.

The student regent is a non-voting position on the board, intended to give students representation in board decisions. The student regent is appointed by the governor from applicants from any of the System institutions. The current student regent Nash Horne, a UT communication studies senior, will finish his one-year term on May 31.  

If Crane is selected, he will be working alongside a familiar face, as Regent Ernest Aliseda is his uncle. Crane’s father is a U.S. district judge, his mother is the president of the McAllen Independent School District School Board and another one of his uncles is the city commissioner in McAllen.

Crane listed Aliseda as a reference on his application, though he said he did not consult Aliseda before applying. Aliseda declined to comment on his nephew’s application but said Horne has been helpful to him in his work on the board. 

“It’s important to have a student’s perspective on things,” Aliseda said. “I think that having someone there that would give that perspective … has been beneficial for me. It’s great to have that perspective before having to make a decision that might impact students at all of our institutions.”  

Crane said the student regent position is vital to the board and its decision making process. 

“Regardless of [the student regent’s] voting power, their voice is still heard and is very important to the Board of Regents and the decisions that they make,” Crane said. “I think the student regent is one of the most important positions within [the board] because they are there for the students.” 

Despite recent tensions between the board and President William Powers Jr. over the past few years, Crane said he thinks Powers and the board are resolving their relationship and the existing tension did not affect his desire to apply for the student regent position. 

“I think President Powers is a great president for UT, and I hope that he stays here in the long term,” Crane said. “I think that [the tension] has kind of gone away in a sense. It’s definitely not as heightened as it used to be. I think that President Powers is doing a great job at reaching out to regents, he’s doing a good job at rebuilding and re-establishing a good relationship, which is beneficial for the board and students at UT.”

Crane said as a student regent he hopes to address students’ concerns about higher education costs.

“I think the biggest issue right now, at most institutions, is affordability,” Crane said. “At UT, it’s not just tuition affordability, it’s housing affordability and I think something definitely needs to be done with that … If we want to continue on the cutting edge and being the premier public university system in the country, something has to be done, whether it’s increasing tuition or cutting costs.”

According to his application, Crane is a member of Sigma Alpha Lambda, Alpha Lambda Delta and the Republican National Committee, and he volunteers at St. David’s Hospital. In November 2012, Crane was detained at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after an expandable baton was found in his backpack during a routine baggage screening. Crane — who has volunteered at the McAllen National Airport as an airport operations intern, overseeing internal security, since 2009 — said he simply forgot to remove the baton from his bag.

UT student faces felony for bringing metal baton to airport

A UT student is facing a felony charge after an airport official found an expandable metal baton in his backpack Wednesday that the student told officials he had forgotten to remove.

According to an affidavit for arrest and detention issued for biology senior Cameron Crane on Wednesday, an Austin-Bergstrom International Airport employee discovered an expandable baton inside the main compartment of Crane’s backpack after a routine luggage screening prompted a secondary screening and then search of the backpack.

According to the affidavit, Crane told airport officials the baton was his, and he had forgotten to remove it from his backpack.

Crane was subsequently arrested and charged with carrying weapon in a prohibited place, a third degree felony punishable with two to 10 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000.

Crane was released on bond later Wednesday.