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Joshua Tang, history senior.

Photo Credit: Gabriella Belzer | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s Note: In anticipation of the May 1 deadline for admitted high-school students to choose to attend the University, we asked student leaders on campus to tell us why they came to UT. Their responses will appear on the opinion page through Thursday.

My path to the 40 Acres was a winding, but rewarding, one. I made the mistake of not starting my college career as a Longhorn. Instead, I moved from Houston to Ohio to study at a small liberal arts college. I felt limited by the opportunities that were available to me and knew that I was missing out on the chance to use college as an avenue for personal growth. So I decided to transfer.

 I did not originally intend to transfer to The University of Texas at Austin. In fact, I thought that I would end up finishing my college career in our nation’s capital. The fall of my sophomore year I visited family in the Washington, D.C., area. It was then that I was convinced that Washington was the place I needed to be. No other area, I reasoned, could give me the same opportunities to engage in meaningful work than Foggy Bottom. I applied to study foreign affairs in a school located blocks from the State Department. Fortunately, I also applied to be a Longhorn.

 I was admitted to the university in Washington, D.C. and to Texas. I took most of the summer to decide where I would enroll in the fall. Going to school in Foggy Bottom definitely carried much allure. Texas, however, grew more majestic as the days went on. UT struck me as a complete University driven by pride and the pursuit of excellence. UT seemed to require its students to strive to be the best from the classroom to the football field and to making a lasting difference. I decided to join the UT community and take part in this historic institution.

 Becoming a Longhorn has been the best decision that I have made. I have been able to take advantage of matchless opportunities that reflect only a small part of what this University has to offer. I once walked into the Multicultural Engagement Center, known as MEC, because the center’s name intrigued me. A year later, the MEC gave me the chance to work with civil rights organizations to help defend equal access to higher education. I knew I wanted to do more with my time when I was in Ohio. I didn’t know that more would mean speaking on the steps of the Supreme Court with civil rights legends. I once wanted to attend a school of international affairs. UT gave me the chance to be mentored by some of the sharpest minds in public policy as a Next Generation Scholar at the LBJ School’s Strauss Center for International Security and Law. I thought that I would have to give up studying the great books when I transferred. Instead, I have been able to ponder some of the West’s most important works as a scholar with the Jefferson Center for Core Texts and Ideas. Just as important, I have made lifelong friends while working with an incredible Student Government Executive Board.

 You will give yourself boundless opportunities if you decide to join the Longhorn community. What you will learn and experience on the 40 Acres can be the basis of deep personal change that doesn’t end with you. As Longhorns are accustomed to saying: What Starts Here Changes the World. 

Tang is a history and government senior from Houston with a May 2014 graduation date. 

Hump Day

Two high school students, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, were found guilty Sunday of raping a 16-year-old girl in a controversial case in Steubenville, Ohio.

Despite a myriad of photos taken the night of the party on August 11 and the victim reporting she had little recollection of the entire night, much of the arguments focused on victim-blaming and whether alcohol had “substantially impaired” her ability to consent to sex. 

Although Mays himself texted “LOL, she couldn’t even move” after friends wondered how he had sex with “a dead girl,” referring to the girl’s intoxicated state, defense attorney Walter Madison claimed consent is not an affirmative “yes.” Madison told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that what happened wasn’t rape because the victim “didn’t affirmatively say no.”

In an article for The Nation, feminist writer Jessica Valenti explored the common theme of victim-blaming by our court system, writing that “until American culture and law frames sexual consent as proactively, enthusiastically given, there will be no justice for rape victims. It’s time for the US to lose the “‘no’ means no” model for understanding sexual assault and focus on “only ‘yes’ means yes” instead.” 

The Steubenville trial draws attention to the crucial need to engage men and women in conversations regarding sexual assault and how to actively ask for and give consent. Through education in school, we must address what consent is and how to recognize the circumstances in which someone is unable provide consent.

The case in Steubenville also brings forth the stark reality that the myth that “all rapists hide in dark alleys” still persists. Although the trial has generated steady media coverage since August, it became apparent during the trial that the two defendants and those involved still had little understanding of what constitutes rape.

“It wasn’t violent,” teammate Evan Westlake told Yahoo! News when asked why he didn’t stop Richmond and Mays when he witnessed the assault of the non-moving and highly intoxicated girl. “I didn’t know exactly what rape was. I always pictured it as forcing yourself on someone.”

“That was part of the arrogance,” Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! News writer, wrote. “Arrogance from the defendants. Arrogance from the friends. Arrogance within the culture. Arrogance based on the fact that this night, witnesses testified over and over, wasn’t strikingly different than any other night in the life of a Big Red football player.”

Rather than recognizing the events that unfolded as a violation of human rights and dignity, multiple teens at the party in Steubenville recorded the events, and later jokingly posted the videos and photos on social media. 

Recovered Video footage showed the victim naked and passed out with the onlookers laughing and saying “she’s dead” and “I’m going to join the rape crew.” Moments prior to the alleged sexual assaults taking place, she laid out in the middle of a street puking in only shorts and a bra as a group of boys offered each other $3 to urinate on her. 

The inaction of the onlookers and the rape jokes show a tragic way in which rape culture is perpetrated in our society — instead of standing up for what we know is right, we may feel more compelled to join in with the crowd. 

In her book, “Trauma and Recovery,” Judith Herman writes, “It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil.”

It is crucial that we empower each other and our communities to take active roles in stopping rape and sexual violence when we see it occurring. Until we realize and take collective responsibility that Steubenville is not an isolated incident — that this could have been practically any town or college campus in America — we will not see change.  

Published on March 20, 2013 as "Steunbenville rape case begs consent discussion". 

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a southwest Ohio highway pileup involving as many as 85 vehicles has left one person dead.

The Interstate 275 crash was one of four pileups that snared dozens of vehicles in the state on Monday. Parts of the state saw scattered snow showers Monday, with isolated pockets of heavier snowfall.

One woman died in the I-275 pileup outside Cincinnati and at least 20 were injured.

A State Highway Patrol dispatcher says as many as 50 vehicles could be involved in a pileup on I-75, between Middletown and Monroe. Minor injuries are reported.

The patrol says four semitrailers and about 20 cars were involved in an afternoon pileup on I-71 near Mansfield.

Lanes of I-270 have been reopened following a multi-vehicle crash near Columbus.

People vote early during at a polling place in downtown Chicago, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. About 30 million people have already voted in 34 states and the District of Columbia, either by mail or in person.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The White House the prize, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney raced through a final full day of campaigning on Monday through Ohio and other battleground states holding the keys to victory in a tight race. Both promised brighter days ahead for a nation still struggling with a sluggish economy and high joblessness.

“Our work is not done yet,” Obama told a cheering crowd of nearly 20,000 in chilly Madison, Wis., imploring his audience to give him
another four years.

Romney projected optimism as he neared the end of his six-year quest for the presidency. “If you believe we can do better. If you believe America should beon a better course.

If you’re tired of being tired ... then I ask you to vote for real change,” he said in a Virginia suburb of the nation’s capital. With many of the late polls in key states tilting slightly against him, he decided to campaign on Election Day in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where he and Republicans made a big, late push.

The presidency aside, there are 33 Senate seats on the ballot Tuesday, and according to one Republican official, a growing sense of resignation among his party’s rank and file that Democrats will hold their majority.

The situation was reversed in the House, where Democrats made no claims they were on the verge of victory in pursuit of the 25 seats they need to gain control.

National opinion polls in the presidential race made the popular vote a virtual tie.

In state-by-state surveys, it appeared Obama held small advantages in Nevada, Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin — enough to deliver a second term if they endured, but not so significant that they could withstand an Election Day surge by Romney supporters. Both men appealed to an ever smaller universe of undecided voters.

More than 30 million absentee or early ballots have been cast, including in excess of 3 million in Florida. The state also had a legal controversy, in the form of a Democratic lawsuit seeking an extension of time for pre-Election Day voting.

There were other concerns, logistical rather than legal.

Officials in one part of New Jersey delivered voting equipment to emergency shelters so voters displaced by Superstorm Sandy last week could cast ballots. New York City made arrangements for shuttle buses to provide transportation for some in hard-hit areas unable to reach their polling places.

In his longest campaign day, Romney raced from Florida to a pair of speeches in Virginia to Ohio and then an election eve rally in New Hampshire.

Obama selected Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa for his final campaign day, an itinerary that reflected his campaign’s decision to try to erect a Midwestern firewall against Romney’s challenge. Vice President Joe Biden and Republican running mate Paul Ryan of Wisconsin went through their final campaign paces, as well.

Lt. Joel Vettel of the Fargo Police Department talks to the media near the North Dakota State University campus in Fargo, N.D., following a bomb threat that forced the evacuation of the campus on Friday.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

The FBI is searching for a connection between the false bomb threats at UT, North Dakota State University and Hiram College in Ohio that caused the campuses to be evacuated Friday.

“One of the many things we’re looking into is the possible connection to the other hoax calls,” said Erik Vasys, a spokesperson for the San Antonio division investigating the UT bomb threat.

The bomb threat came at the end of a week when two other false alarm situations near UT had already disrupted campus. Eight campus buildings’ fire alarms were pulled Monday, forcing evacuations. A squad of University and Austin police officers closed off an area around the corner of 24th and Guadalupe streets Thursday while they investigated a suspicious cooler left on the sidewalk. The area was closed for an hour until police were able to determine the cooler was not dangerous.

UTPD Police Chief Robert Dahlstrom said his department is communicating with the other two colleges that received bomb threats Friday through the Joint Terrorism Task Force, an FBI partnership with other law enforcement agencies focused on cases involving terrorism.

“I don’t know that this is related to the other incidents at all, but when you look into these situations, you have to look at what is going on everywhere,” Dahlstrom said.

UT was the first to receive a threat by phone at approximately 8:35 a.m. North Dakota received its bomb threat by phone at approximately 9:45 a.m. and Hiram College received a threatening email at approximately 4 p.m. At UT, 69,000 people received an emergency text message to leave all campus buildings, according to a UT statement.

Dean Bresciani, North Dakota State University president, said about 20,000 people evacuated North Dakota State’s Fargo campus Friday, according to the Associated Press. Hiram College has 1,300 students. Authorities evacuated, searched and declared all three schools safe Friday. At a press conference Friday, UT President William Powers Jr. said he had information about whether or not the events were related but could not provide it because the investigation was ongoing.

Valparaiso University, a private college in Indiana, also received threats Friday that turned out to be false but did not evacuate campus. Valparaiso notified students Friday morning that it had received an unspecified threat stating “dangerous and criminal” activity would occur at 11:15 a.m., according to a statement released Friday. The university found graffiti in one of its bathrooms, implying criminal activity might occur during the school’s chapel break. The school had no reason to believe the threat was connected with incidents at the University of Texas and North Dakota State University, according to its statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those institutions for the anxiety they experienced today,” Valparaiso University Provost Mark Schwehn wrote in the statement.

Also on Friday, authorities in Kansas City, Mo., closed off several blocks to investigate a vehicle believed to contain a bomb. A man walked into a downtown federal office building to ask if he was on a terrorist watch list and was detained while officers searched his car, according to The Kansas City Star. After four hours of searching, the FBI determined the car contained nothing threatening.

Printed on Monday, September 17, 2012 as: Fake threats across U.S. catch FBI's attention

Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum shared victories in yesterday's Super Tuesday contests, dueling in Ohio with a virtual tie of 37% each. No Republican has ever won the White House without securing a victory in Ohio. (Courtesy of the Associated Press)

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney split six states and dueled in an almost impossibly close race in Ohio on a Super Tuesday that stretched from one end of the country to the other in the most turbulent Republican presidential race in a generation.

A resurgent Santorum broke through in primaries in Oklahoma and Tennessee and in the North Dakota caucuses, raising fresh doubts about Romney’s ability to corral the votes of conservatives in some of the most Republican states in the country.

Romney had a home-state win in Massachusetts to go with victories in Vermont and in Virginia, where neither Santorum nor Newt Gingrich qualified for the ballot. He also led in early Idaho caucus returns and padded his lead for delegates to the Republican National Convention.

On the busiest night of the campaign season, Ohio was the marquee matchup, a second industrial state showdown in as many weeks between Romney and Santorum. It drew the most campaigning and television advertisements of all 10 Super Tuesday contests and for good reason— no Republican has ever won the White House without carrying the state in the fall.

After trailing for much of the night, Romney forged ahead in a count that stretched toward midnight. With votes tallied in 91 percent of the state’s precincts, he led by about 5,000 votes out of 1.1 million cast.

Gingrich had a victory in his column — his first win in more than six weeks. The former House speaker triumphed at home in Georgia, but a barrage of attack ads by a super PAC supporting Romney helped hold him below 50 percent and forced him to share the delegates.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul pinned his hopes on Idaho and Alaska as he scratched for his first victory of the campaign season. As of print deadline, results in Alaska had not been called.

Whatever the outcome in Ohio, Romney was on track to pad his lead in the hunt for delegates to the Republican National Convention. Not surprisingly, given his mixed night, he focused on the delegate chase.

Yet Santorum’s multiple victories, coupled with Gingrich’s win, provided fresh evidence that Romney’s conservative rivals retain the ability to outpoll him in certain parts of the country despite his huge organizational and financial advantages.

In Ohio, Romney’s campaign purchased about $1.5 million for television advertisements, and Restore Our Future spent $2.3 million. Santorum and Red, White and Blue, a super PAC that supports him, countered with about $1 million combined, a disadvantage of nearly four to one.

While the day boasted more primaries and caucuses than any other in 2012, it was a shadow of Super Tuesday in 2008, when there were 20 Republican contests.

There was another big difference, a trend away from winner-take-all contests to a system of allocating delegates in rough proportion to a candidate’s share of the popular vote.

Sen. John McCain won eight states on Super Tuesday in 2008 and lost 12 to Romney and Mike Huckabee combined. But six of McCain’s victories were winner-take-all primaries, allowing him to build an insurmountable delegate lead that all but sealed his nomination.

CANTON, Ohio — Mitt Romney’s allies are hoping Super Tuesday’s powerful imprint on the Republican presidential nomination will bring clarity, at long last, to the fractious contest and rouse Republicans behind their front-runner. But that’s strictly up to voters across the nation, weighing in on the most consequential day of the campaign to date.
Romney and his chief rival, Rick Santorum, scrambled for any advantage they could find Monday in Ohio, the most-watched contest in the 10-state extravaganza stretching from Alaska to the southeast.

Speaking to supporters at a guardrail factory in Canton, Ohio, Romney tried to snap the subject back to the economy and away from social conservative issues — this, after a furor erupted from radio host Rush Limbaugh’s caustic comments about a college student who testified to Congress about contraception.

“I look at this campaign right now and I see a lot of folks all talking about lots of things, but what we need to talk about to defeat Barack Obama is getting good jobs and scaling back the size of government, and that’s what I do,” Romney said. “Other people in this race have debated about the economy, they’ve read about the economy, they’ve talked about it in subcommittee meetings. But I’ve actually been in it.”

Santorum told Ohioans the election must be earned, not “bought,” in another swipe at Romney’s wealth and superior campaign machine. “Look into what the candidates have overcome and what they offer to this country — not just what money they have,” he told hundreds of students and supporters at Dayton Christian School, “but where’s the soul, where’s the conviction, where’s the fight?

“Money’s not going to buy this election.”

The latest polls found Santorum slipping in Ohio, putting him in a near dead heat with Romney, and Gingrich looking strong but not invincible in his home state of Georgia, which he needs to win to have any hope of resurrecting his candidacy. Ron Paul, trailing the delegate count and the expectations game, hoped one or more of the three caucus states, Alaska, Idaho and North Dakota, would finally give him a victory.

Fully one-third of the delegates needed to clinch the nomination are at stake Tuesday, altogether a larger prize than all the previous primaries and caucuses combined. President Barack Obama picked Tuesday for his first news conference of the year, a chance to steal a bit of thunder from the Republicans on their big day and defend a record of economic stewardship that is under daily assault in the GOP campaign.

On the eve of Super Tuesday, the message coming from Republican establishment figures was clear: It’s time, if not past time, to crystallize the competition and unite the party behind the effort to defeat Obama in the fall.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative members of the Senate, were among the latest GOP luminaries to swing behind Romney. Conservative John Ashcroft, attorney general in the George W. Bush administration and a former Missouri senator, threw his support behind Romney on Monday.

Cantor told CNN “we’re coalescing around Mitt Romney’s plan to actually address the economic challenges,” and “trying to find ways to work together and bring people together and set aside differences.”

Whether Super Tuesday marks that sort of turning point remains to be seen. Romney has been the presumed long-haul favorite from the start but Santorum’s surge unfolded as the latest in a line of surprises from a field now down to four candidates.

Gingrich, whose only victory was in the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary, has staked his campaign’s future on winning Georgia, the state he represented in Congress for 20 years, and on building a stronghold in the conservative South.

Toward that end, Gingrich scheduled stops Monday in Tennessee, where he appears to be in a close race with Santorum and Romney. Gingrich also planned to visit Alabama on Tuesday for the state’s March 13 primary before returning to Atlanta in the evening.

Santorum drew more on his personal biography than he has in recent days. He cast himself as a scrappy blue-collar fighter going up against Romney — a “country club Republican” in the words of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a Santorum supporter.

“I come to the people of Ohio as a candidate who shouldn’t be here,” Santorum said. “Growing up in a steelworker town, growing up having to fight for everything you got, is exactly the kind of person that we need to have.” The former Pennsylvania senator is acknowledging that to be successful over the long haul, he will need Gingrich to get out of the race.

While Romney has a significant advantage in northeastern states such as Vermont and Massachusetts — where he was governor — and Santorum is strong in conservative states such as Oklahoma, Ohio tops the list of hotly competitive and delegate-rich contests Tuesday. Both candidates focused on the state Monday after a weekend swing through the South.

Romney has been working to make the race about the economy and to avoid intensifying the debate over conservative social values, a strong suit for Santorum. That effort was not helped when Limbaugh called a Georgetown University law student a “slut” and a “prostitute” on his nationally syndicated radio program, later apologizing.

The woman had testified at a congressional hearing in favor of an Obama administration mandate that employee health plans include free contraceptive coverage.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, denounced Limbaugh’s comments Monday, saying his remarks “should be condemned” by people across the political spectrum. The 2012 GOP candidates have dissociated themselves from Limbaugh’s comments, though not as forcefully as McCain did on CBS’ “This Morning.”

Romney has won four consecutive contests, including Saturday’s Washington caucuses. His broad, well-disciplined organization all but assures he’ll collect more delegates than his opponents on Tuesday, in contrast with Santorum’s looser group of supporters. Santorum and Gingrich did not collect enough signatures to qualify for the Virginia ballot, for example, and Santorum cannot win 18 of Ohio’s 66 delegates for similar reasons.

All told, 419 delegates are at stake Tuesday. Romney leads with 203 delegates from previous contests, Santorum has 92, Gingrich has 33 and Paul, 25. It takes 1,144 delegates to win the nomination.

CHARDON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a teen who was hurt but survived a deadly shooting rampage at an Ohio high school has been released from the hospital.

The Chardon police chief says authorities learned Tuesday that the female Chardon High student had been released and was home with family. He said it is good news amid tragic circumstances.

The shootings Monday killed three students and wounded two, including the 18-year-old girl.

Published on Thursday, March 1, 2012 as: Teen hurt in Ohio school now home

CHARDON, Ohio — The Ohio teenager accused of killing three students in a shooting rampage in a high school cafeteria chose his victims at random and is “someone who’s not well,” a prosecutor said Tuesday as the slightly built young man appeared in juvenile court.

T.J. Lane, 17, admitted taking a .22-caliber pistol and a knife to Chardon High and firing 10 shots at a group of students sitting at a cafeteria table Monday morning, Prosecutor David Joyce said. He said Lane didn’t know the victims.

Lane will probably be charged with three counts of aggravated murder and other offenses, the prosecutor said.

A thin figure with short dark hair, Lane seemed small next to the sheriff's deputies who led him into court, and said little more than “Yes, sir” in response to questions from the judge.

His face twitched lightly while the prosecutor recounted the attack, and he sniffled and half-closed his eyes as he left the courtroom under guard.

The hearing came hours after the death toll rose to three, and as schoolmates and townspeople grappled with the tragedy and wondered what could have set off Lane, a young man described by other students as extremely quiet, with few if any friends.

The court appearance did little to solve the mystery. Afterward, though, the prosecutor appeared to rule out rumors and speculation that the gunman lashed out after being bullied or that the shooting had something to do with drug-dealing.

“He chose his victims at random. This is not about bullying. This is not about drugs,” Joyce said. “This is someone who's not well, and I’m sure in our court case we'll prove that to all of your desires and we'll make sure justice is done here in this county.”

Printed on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 as: Ohio school shooter killed three by choosing  random victims

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — Philosophical differences between the top two Republican presidential candidates are becoming starker.

Rick Santorum is driving harder on religious and social issues while Mitt Romney rarely discusses them in detail.

Santorum in recent days has questioned the usefulness of public schools and said President Barack Obama’s theology is not “based on the Bible.”

Campaigning in Ohio on Monday, he likened Obama to politicians who spread fear about certain technologies “so they can control your lives.”

The remarks contrast sharply with Romney’s steady emphasis on jobs, the economy and his resume as a can-do corporate executive.

The differences give Republican voters clear choices to shape their party’s image and identity heading into the fall battle against Obama.

Printed on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 as: Santorum uses Bible to attack Obama's governance, character