- Galveston, TX Weather :: 66F Overcast November 22, 201766F Overcast
- Galveston, TX Weather :: 66F Overcast November 22, 2017
- Shorthanded Dynamo fall to Sounders 2-0 in first leg of Western Conference Championship November 22, 2017The Houston Dynamo fell to the Seattle Sounders in the first leg of the MLS Western Conference Championship on Tuesday.PHOTOS: Dynamo face Sounders in first leg of Western Conference ChampionshipSeattle won 2-0 in front of a sold-out crowd at BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown.Houston was forced to play a significant part of the game with […]
- Been waiting to relive Astros' 2017 World Series run? Your time has come November 22, 2017Have you been waiting to relive the Astros' historic 2017 title run?Your time has come.On Tuesday, Major League Baseball hosted the premiere of The 2017 World Series Documentary at Cullen Performance Hall at 7 p.m.The Orange Carpet event started at 6 p.m.Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.The Cullen Performance Hall is on the […]
- What you need to know about the Dynamo game November 22, 2017If you're planning to jump on the Dynamo bandwagon then tonight is the night to do it. Houston's Major League Soccer team is hosting Leg 1 (aka game 1) of the Western Conference Championship. That's the MLS equivalent of the Houston Astros making it into the ALCS.This is the only Western Conference Championship game that […]
- Houston Astros fans wait hours outside Academy Sports to meet Jose Altuve November 21, 2017Close to 200 diehard Jose Altuve fans wrapped themselves around the building at Academy Sports in Katy Sunday. They were sleeping in tents, in sleeping bags, they have heaters and hot cocoa and even some camping stoves as they huddle outside the store at I-10 and The Grand Parkway waiting for their hero to arrive.PHOTOS: […]
- A look at the AFC playoff picture: Texans hang on to slim hopes with 6 games left November 21, 2017The NFL playoff party is still several weeks away, but here we are with six games left on the regular season schedule and the Texans, who stand 4-6, are still mathematically alive in the AFC race.Yes, you heard me correctly.The Texans can make it to the playoffs if all things fall into place in the […]
- Dynamo in MLS conference finals after turnaround season November 21, 2017Last year, the Houston Dynamo finished at the bottom of the Western Conference. This season they're playing for the conference title.After a bit of a layoff, the Major League Soccer playoffs continue Tuesday when the two-legged conference finals start. In the East, the Columbus Crew host Toronto FC, while the Seattle Sounders visit the Dynamo […]
- Former Cowboys wide receiver Terry Glenn killed in car wreck November 20, 2017Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terry Glenn has died in a car accident near Irving, Texas, Matt Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Terry Glenn played with the Cowboys from 2003-2007 during the start of Tony Romo's time as quarterback. He ranks 15th all-time in receiving yards for Dallas.Glenn played 12 seasons in the […]
- Atlanta's Georgia Dome demolished after 25 years of use November 20, 2017The only facility in the world to host the Olympics, Super Bowl and Final Four was reduced to rubble.A little more than 25 years after opening, the Georgia Dome, former home of the Atlanta Falcons and the scene for several historic sporting events, was imploded Monday morning. The adjacent Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened this summer.In the […]
- Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna dies at age 49 November 20, 2017Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna has died at the age of 49 after a long battle with cancer, the World Tennis Association (WTA) has announced.In a statement on its website, the WTA said the former world No.2 died peacefully "surrounded by her family in her native Czech Republic."Novotna captured hearts of fans when she burst […]
- What to know about Jose Altuve autograph session November 20, 2017Here's a look at what you need to know about the Jose Altuve autograph session Monday at Academy.WHEN: Monday, Nov. 20, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.WHERE: Academy Sports + Outdoors at 23155 Katy Freeway, Katy, TX 77450WHAT: Free autographs from AL MVP Jose AltuveMUST-HAVE INFO FOR FANS: 300 passes will be distributed two hours before […]
- Shorthanded Dynamo fall to Sounders 2-0 in first leg of Western Conference Championship November 22, 2017
- Club 24 Celebrates Holiday Season with Galveston Bay Dinner Cruise November 22, 2017Kemah, Texas: One of the star attractions on the Texas coast is a Galveston Bay dinner cruise. Club 24 Plus has now made the three-hour dinner ...
- Home rule cities elect members to H-GAC Board of Directors November 21, 2017Home rule city representatives to the Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors includes Dickinson Councilmember William King III and ...
- Official Glen Campbell Webstore Launches Today With Exclusive Releases And Advance Pre ... November 21, 2017... Gentle On My Mind is on clear green vinyl and Galveston is on coke bottle clear vinyl. 100 bundles of the three classic LPs are available or each can ...
- Looking Back 11/23 November 21, 2017A member of the Army Corps of Engineers, he was involved in the enlargement of Ellis Island, the building of the breakwater in San Pedro, CA and reconstruction of the jetties at Galveston. After serving as district engineer at the expanding ports of Los Angeles and Galveston, he was selected by General ...
- Posts Tagged 'Texas A&M Galveston' November 21, 2017Anna Armitage of Texas A&M Galveston is studying how the transition from salt marsh wetlands to mangroves might change how hurricanes affect the ...
- Carnival Cruise Line to Increase Short Cruise Programmes November 21, 2017Carnival Dream will launch four- and five-day cruises to Mexico year-round from Galveston beginning May 2019, providing Texans with a convenient new vacation option. Carnival Valor, currently based in Galveston, will shift to New Orleans to begin year-round four- and five-day cruises, also beginning ...
- Step Back in Time During Galveston's Dickens on The Strand November 21, 2017English novelist Charles Dickens garnered great literary success with The Adventures of Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and the perennial favorite, A Christmas Carol, and now several of his descendants will be front and center during Galveston's world-famous Victorian holiday festival, Dickens on The ...
- TX Marine Warning and Forecast November 21, 2017TX Marine Warnings and Forecast for Wednesday, November 22, 2017. _____. SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY. URGENT - MARINE WEATHER ...
- TX Marine Warning and Forecast November 21, 2017TX Marine Warnings and Forecast for Wednesday, November 22, 2017. _____. SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY. URGENT - MARINE WEATHER MESSAGE. NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HOUSTON/GALVESTON TX. 321 AM CST TUE NOV 21 2017 ...A SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FOR ...
- TX Houston/Galveston TX Zone Forecast November 21, 2017National Weather Service Houston/Galveston TX. 257 PM CST Tue Nov 21 2017. TXZ211-221000-. Austin-. Including the cities of Bellville and Sealy.
- Club 24 Celebrates Holiday Season with Galveston Bay Dinner Cruise November 22, 2017
Travel through time!
- Registration opens for League City’s Citizens University November 21, 2017Citizens interested in learning more about municipal operations are invited to register for League City’s Citizens University.
- Texas A&M Board of Regents name Dr. Bill Merrell President Emeritus and Regents Professor November 21, 2017Dr. William “Bill” Merrell of Texas A&M University at Galveston has been honored with the distinguished titles of President Emeritus and as one of the 2017-2018 Regents Professors by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.
- H-GAC Board of Directors November 21, 2017The Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors today voted unanimously to approve the Audit Committee’s recommendation to retain the firm of Whitley Penn to conduct the annual audit of H-GAC's financial records for the fiscal year ending 2017.
- Jamaica Beach City Council November 21, 2017Jamaica Beach City Council on Monday voted unanimously to cast the city's ballots in favor of re-electing Victor Pierson to the Galveston Central Appraisal District Board of Directors.
- Health District Offering Free HIV, Syphilis and TB Testing on World AIDS Day November 20, 2017The Galveston County Health District (GCHD) continues the fight to end HIV by offering free testing, education and resources on World AIDS Day, December 1.
- Galveston County Commissioners Court November 20, 2017Galveston County Commissioners Court today voted 3-2, with Ken Clark and Darrell Apffel opposed, to move forward with utilizing Bracewell, LLC as disclosure counsel for the issuance of bonds and refunding bonds.
- Bayou Animal Services November 20, 2017Bayou Animal Services today announced that it has received a $500,000 grant from the Petco Foundation to support the construction of a new animal shelter.
- City of League City November 20, 2017The City of League City today announced service impacts in the city throughout the Thanksgiving holiday.
- Texas Governor's Office November 20, 2017Texas Governor Greg Abbott today announced that he has extended the State Disaster Declaration for counties affected by Hurricane Harvey.
- Registration opens for League City’s Citizens University November 21, 2017
- Steel never settles — neither should Trump on trade 22 Nov 2017 11:55 The Hill America was built on steel. Born in the 1850s, the steel industry connected our country through rail and illuminated its cities with soaring skyscrapers. The resource that powers U.S. manufacturing and construction, steel builds our bridges, assembles our …
- washington Trump all but endorses GOP&#8217;s Moore despite sex accusations 22 Nov 2017 11:54 www.vindy.com Published: Wed, November 22, 2017 @ 12:00 a.m. Associated Press WASHINGTON Silent for more than a week, President Donald Trump all but endorsed embattled Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore on Tuesday, discounting the sexual assault allegations …
- Trump support of Moore a ‘huge gift’ for Dems 22 Nov 2017 11:53 msnbc New Report: Trump “vented about” and ... President Trump, who is himself accused of sexual assault, broke his silence on Roy Moore today, suggesting electing a Democrat is worse than electing an accused child molester to the U.S. Senate as a new report …
- North Korea calls terror relisting 'serious provocation' by Trump: state media 22 Nov 2017 11:53 Reuters.com SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea responded on Wednesday to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to relist the county as a state sponsor of terrorism, calling it a “grave provocation and aggressive violation”, North Korean state media reported. North Korean …
- Billionaire could get $5.6M in state funds for Trump Plaza demolition 22 Nov 2017 11:42 NJ.com ATLANTIC CITY -- A New Jersey redevelopment agency has given preliminary approval to a $5.6 million payment to billionaire investor Carl Icahn to help pay for the demolition of part of Atlantic City's former Trump Plaza casino. The Casino Reinvestment …
- Trump, Putin hold hour-long phone call on foreign affairs 22 Nov 2017 11:41 Tert Donald Trump has spoken on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss issues involving Syria, Iran, North Korea and Ukraine, the Independent reports, citing the White House. Mr Trump and Mr Putin spoke informally multiple times last week …
- Trump is still botching the Puerto Rico crisis 22 Nov 2017 11:39 The Week Magazine Sign Up for Our free email newsletters Americans are fleeing Puerto Rico in droves. The reason is that a grinding economic crisis became a full-blown humanitarian disaster after the Trump administration utterly botched the response to Hurricane Maria. At …
- Trump and Putin discuss fight against Taliban and other terror groups 22 Nov 2017 11:36 Khaama Press By Khaama Press - Wed Nov 22 2017, 2:43 pm The US President Donald Trump discussed the fight against Taliban and other terror groups during a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the White House said. “President Donald J. …
- If Trump wants to use nuclear weapons, whether it's 'legal' won't matter 22 Nov 2017 11:36 The Washington Post The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Nov. 14 held a hearing to examine the president's authority to order a nuclear strike amid rising tensions with North Korea. (Jordan Frasier/The Washington Post) No national decision is as consequential, …
- The Resistance to Trump: Year One 22 Nov 2017 11:35 The Nation Demonstrators march against Trump’s executive order banning travel to the United States by citizens of several countries at Los Angeles International Airport, January 29, 2017. (AP Photo / Ryan Kang) In the year since Trump’s election, the president’s …
- Medical marijuana in Texas: What you need to know
- Harris County deputy suspended after striking handcuffed man after chase
- Woman with F-Trump sticker adds Sheriff Troy Nehls to display on truck
- Abbott calls White House’s latest disaster aid request “completely inadequate”
- Former United Airlines pilot pleads guilty to running prostitution ring
- Abbott, Patrick push back on TxDOT’s plans for financing new toll projects
- Trial dates set for ex-deputy, husband charged in John Hernandez’s death
- Cities race to annex land before new Texas law goes into effect Dec. 1
- A “glitch” on U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s website asked for visitors’ Social Security numbers
- Greg Abbott Declares War on Moderate Republicans
- He thought he had a free court-appointed lawyer. Then he got a bill for $10,000
- Man fights to prove he’s alive after bank reports him as deceased
- Scam costs Friendswood man thousands of dollars
- At the Texas Capitol, victims of sexual harassment must fend for themselves
- Human Rights Lawyer on How Government is Complicit in Mexico’s Drug War
- ‘Sean Hannity Show’ fans smash Keurig brewers over pulled ads
- Another woman accuses former President George H.W. Bush of groping
- Student sent home from school bruised, claims PE teacher slammed him onto concrete
- Gov. Greg Abbott endorses primary challenger to state Rep. Sarah Davis
- Analysis: A media exec in Texas politics, not quite ready for prime time
- Police dogs trained to ignore marijuana
- Former HPD officer accused of tampering with evidence makes first court appearance
- Rent-to-own complaints spur investigation by federal agency
- HPD officer accused of tampering with evidence
- Joel Osteen impersonator breaches security at Los Angeles event
- Former ‘All My Children’ star arrested in Galveston
- Cornyn and Cruz under pressure over allegations in Alabama Senate race
- Family’s beloved pony shot to death in Liberty County
- Coastal officials say feds failing Harvey victims on short-term housing
- 22 Houston gang members indicted for multiple violent crimes, officials say
- The Faith-Tinged Fatalism of Greg Abbott’s Response to Texas’ Deadliest Mass Shooting
- Execution date set for Sugar Land man on death row
- Trump in Japan…
- Free of criminal charges, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes says she was victimized
- With no state-approved textbooks, Texas ethnic studies teachers make do
- Texas back in federal court over anti-“sanctuary cities” law
- Clara Harris granted parole for husband’s murder
- Coast Guard searching area near Freeport after boat catches fire, sinks
- Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez emerges as potential challenger to Gov. Greg Abbott
- With Trump Cuts, Obamacare Enrollment is a Volunteer Affair in Rural Texas
- Explosion at vodka distillery burns 3 in north Harris County
- Documents: Texas National Guard Installed Cellphone Spying Devices on Surveillance Planes
- Police increase reward for information in case of child’s body found on Galveston beach
- Meet Nueces County’s New DA, a Self-Professed ‘Mexican Biker Lawyer Covered in Tattoos’
- Leon Jacob, man accused in murder-for-hire plot, faces new charge
- The Brief: The deadliest mass shooting in Texas history
- Counterprotesters say white supremacists, not Russian Facebook ads, drew them to rally
- What we know about Texas church shooter
- Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constable shot several times, officials say
- $500 million in Ike relief is still unspent. Will Texas do better after Harvey?
- Prosecutor asks for current medical standards in death penalty evaluations
- How to earn quick cash by flipping items
- Rick Perry ties fossil fuel use to sexual assault prevention
- Abbott Supports Removing Inaccurate Capitol Displays. Do Slavery-Denying Plaques Count?
- A Russian Facebook page organized a protest in Texas. A different Russian page launched the counter-protest.
- 24 Texas Dairy Queens closing after franchise company files for bankruptcy
- USDA Rolls Back ‘Fair Practice’ Rule That Would’ve Protected Texas Chicken Farmers
- Trump nominating Ryan Patrick, son of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, to be U.S. attorney
- Fired in 2009, football coach Mike Leach still rages at Texas Tech and Texas law
- Texas Toxicologist Who Rejects Basic Science Appointed to EPA Science Board
- Abbott presses Congress for an extra $61 billion to rebuild after Harvey
- The ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Ban Has Already Reshaped Some Police Department Policies
- Hurricane Harvey flood looters exposed
- U.S. Supreme Court examines investigatory funding in Texas death penalty case
- Who’s Defending Texas’ Confederate Monuments?
- Kicking in doors and crushing credit: How a Texas-based retailer torments customers
- Harris County jailer accused of letting prisoner attack fellow inmate
- House Democrat: Abbott supports removing Confederate plaque from Texas Capitol
- Legislators mull changing Texas law allowing criminal charges against rent-to-own customers
- Houston woman’s daughter stranded at sea with another woman for 5 months
- ‘Fail State’ Delves into the Shadowy World of For-Profit Colleges
- Grambling State student charged in double homicide
- How renting furniture in Texas can land you in jail
- ‘Wedding crasher’ says she never attacked guest, apologizes to bride and groom
- Something Yuuuge was Missing From Franklin Graham’s Waco Revival
- Family: Florida deputy caught on camera breaking into dying man’s home
- Federal government rolls out eight border wall prototypes
- In ‘The Second Coming of the KKK,’ a Timely Lesson in the History of American Hate
- US launches ‘most advanced’ stealth sub amid undersea rivalry
- Houston man identified as victim of barge explosion near Port Aransas, officials say
- Controversial Halloween decoration in Katy leads to threats against homeowner
- What does boycotting Israel have to do with Hurricane Harvey relief?
- Rep. Dawnna Dukes cleared of criminal charges, attorneys say
- $5,000 reward being offered in shooting that caused man to lose his legs
- Tornado leaves trail of damage in two Dickinson neighborhoods, NWS says
- Former HPD officer indicted in 2016 shooting of unarmed neighbor
- State Rep. Victoria Neave pleads no contest to June DWI charge
- Texas attorney general opens investigation Into Harvey debris removal companies
- Police: 3 Texas men arrested after shot fired at Richard Spencer protesters
- Perry pursuing policy on coal, nuclear power at odds with Texas record
- Cornyn: Trump assured me more Harvey aid for Texas coming in November
- Dallas Fed CEO: Technology, not trade or immigration, is main reason for job loss
- Immigrant Workers in Texas Could Fill Farm Vacancies, but They’re Trapped in the Valley
- Texas Cities Embrace a Softer Approach to Pot Possession as State Reforms Stall
- This man robbed woman who was 9 months pregnant, shot her husband, authorities say
- Ex-KIPP Explore Academy staffer arrested after accusations of child indecency
- U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson walks back comments on sexual assault
- Who is this mystery man? Galveston woman begins search to find apparent veteran’s identity
- U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders face off in tax code debate
- A look back at Colt Stadium, the home of the Colt 45s
- After Failing to Prop Up Coal in Texas, Rick Perry is Trying Again Nationwide
- Potential new murder confession delays Texas serial killer’s execution
- Texas court halts execution to review claims that co-defendant lied at trial
- How much are property taxes in Houston going down next year?
- Cruz presses Sessions on Trump administration’s “catch-and-release” policy
- Federal Prisons Don’t Even Try to Rehabilitate the Undocumented
- Three teens charged with murder after missing teen’s body found
- Houston serial killer faces execution this week
- Insurance company accused of delayed response to storm claims
- Some Texas Republicans in Congress again outraised by challengers
- To fund bid against Ted Cruz, former mayor puts up building as prize in “essay and rib contest”
- U.S. House passes hurricane relief bill after tense day for Texas delegation, Abbott
- It’s Time to End Austin’s Failed Experiment in Police Oversight, Activists Say
- Prosecutors drop 1 of 13 felony charges against Rep. Dawwna Dukes
- League City mayor hospitalized after heart attack
- ICE Detained a Pregnant Rape Survivor for Six Months, Records Show
- Husband, wife each lose leg after hit-and-run crash in Waller County
- Temporary bans placed on fishing near site of busted cap
- Texas man travels to Orlando to sexually assault 9-year-old girl, police say
- Mom, older brother charged after 11-year-old found smoking meth
- Days from execution, man convicted in prison guard’s murder insists on innocence
- Truck involved in multiple accidents leaves 1 dead, 1 injured in Texas City, police say
- $1M worth of iPads mostly unused after being purchased for local elections
- Woman caught on camera stomping small dog inside elevator
- How much has been raised for Harvey relief — and how’s it being spent?
- The Case to End Assembly Line Justice for Poor People in Harris County
- Mother, son charged in murder-for-hire plot
- How scammers are using homeowners to defraud FEMA
- Police find man’s body stuffed in closet after victim ‘tortured’ to death
- In historic win, charters getting state funding for facilities for the first time
- Dreamers greet DACA renewal deadline with anxiety and unanswered questions
- Attorney General Ken Paxton’s trial is delayed for a third time
- Judge blocks Texas secretary of state from giving voter information to Trump commission
- East Texas county sues drug companies, alleges role in opioid crisis
- North Korean workers prepare seafood for U.S. stores, restaurants
- 3 Harris County Sheriff’s Office employees indicted in assault cases
- Reward raised for man on Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offenders list
- Texas business mogul Mark Cuban offers details for hypothetical 2020 presidential run
- Woman accused of killing taxi driver appears in court
- Texas death row inmate Duane Buck has sentence reduced to life after Supreme Court orders retrial
- Hearing in Paxton case to consider delaying trial for third time
- Appellate judges show concern over Harris County bail practices, court ruling
- 28 organizations that got money from the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
- Pasadena drops appeal, will remain under federal oversight of election laws
- Almost 400,000 Texans’ insurance at risk after Congress fails to renew CHIP
- How Harris County’s federal bail lawsuit spreads beyond Houston
- HHS Secretary Tom Price resigns amid criticism of his travel on private planes
- Houston mayor calls off property tax hike after Abbott delivers $50 million
- ‘I’m just gonna shoot him if things go sideways,’ cop tells college student during traffic stop
- Hearing set for Friday in wrongful death suit in John Hernandez case
- Aide found half-naked after sexual contact with student, deputies say
- Thousands of Poor Texans Could Lose Health Care With Congress Distracted by ACA Repeal
- Slideshow: For southeast Texas, recovery after Harvey is slow
- Even Hurricane Harvey Can’t Temper GOP Hostility Toward Texas’ Big Cities
- Murder suspect arrested in 27-year-old ‘killer clown’ shooting married to victim’s husband
- Texas attorney general now accepting complaints on “sanctuary” jurisdictions
- Abbott: Houston has enough funding for Harvey recovery
- U.S. House passes tax breaks for victims of Harvey, Irma and Maria
- New state law seeks to reduce the number of child brides in Texas
- Texas can enforce more of ‘sanctuary cities’ law
- Florida trooper accused of showing porn to child
- Town mayor facing assault charges
- 13-year-old accused in kidnapping and rape plot
- Hensarling to flood victims: ‘God’s telling you to move’
- Body Cam Policies in Texas Exacerbate a System Designed to Protect Police, Critics Say
- Army vet shown walking after claiming he couldn’t owes government $434K
- Analysis: X-factor in 2018’s Texas elections might be Harvey, not Donald
- Federal appeals court to hear arguments on Texas “sanctuary cities” law Friday
- Texas teens to be trained next year on police interactions
- Newlyweds say DJ robbed wedding cash
- How Galveston is offering a free beach weekend
- Lyft ride leads to hate crime charge for Houston man
- Florida woman makes ‘sexy’ plea to get power back after Hurricane Irma
- Report: Indicted state Rep. Dawnna Dukes spent $51k on online psychic
- Report: Trump’s judicial nominee from Texas called transgender kids part of “Satan’s plan”
- Hospital workers in hot water over Snapchat video, picture calling newborns ‘mini Satans’
- How some see Texas as the “gold standard” against wrongful convictions
- New leak discovered on Battleship Texas
- Texas House Speaker Joe Straus calls for removal of “inaccurate” Confederate plaque
- Hey, Texplainer: How is FEMA distributing money to areas hit by Harvey?
- Friendswood man accused of raking in nearly $2 million in decadelong pay-phone scheme
- Mayor Sylvester Turner has strong words for Red Cross after problems surface
- Trump Nominee to FEC Tried to Shred Texas’ Already-Weak Ethics Laws
- Dad in clown mask shot at while chasing daughter through neighborhood
- As a result of Hurricane Harvey, 600 more Texas prisoners getting AC
- Trooper fired for Sandra Bland stop: “My safety was in jeopardy.”
- Mysterious sea creature that washed up on Texas beach after Harvey identified
- Within days, this Austin company hopes to start legally growing marijuana
- Former officer accused of stealing $2,400 from dead man indicted on theft charges
- 135,000 gallons of sludge released into Galveston Bay after equipment failure, officials say
- Post-Harvey, Houston officials hope Congress is up for funding Ike Dike
- Ex-husband strangled Baytown realtor while children in next room, prosecutors say
- Pizza Hut manager threatened workers evacuating for Irma
- The Road to Huntsville
- Now you can carry any knife (almost) anywhere in Texas
- In beleaguered La Marque schools, Harvey stirs up old anxieties
- Flooded cars already being put up for sale
- Trump Nominates Lawyers from Anti-LGBT ‘Religious Freedom’ Group to be Texas Federal Judges
- Man survives being shot 16 times outside southwest Houston home
- Floridians jam highways to flee wrath of Hurricane Irma
- U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul again top contender to be Trump’s homeland security chief
- Experts: Much of Harvey-Related Air Pollution was Preventable
- Texans in Congress aim for united front ahead of long fight for Harvey aid
- Texas churches damaged during Harvey sue FEMA for federal funding
- Amazon wants to open $5 billion second HQ in North America
- New law allows hunting hogs from hot air balloons, but few balloonists will offer it
- New texting while driving ban full of loopholes
- Woman urinates herself, yells racial slurs during DUI arrest, police say
- Police shoot, kill tiger running loose in neighborhood
- What to do if your vehicle flooded during Hurricane Harvey
- House overwhelmingly passes $7.9 billion Harvey aid bill
- Selena’s family mourning the death of Houston relatives killed in Harvey flooding
- Trump ending immigration program that has impacted more than 120,000 in Texas
- Cinco Ranch flood victims demand buyout from federal government
- The Impossible City
- Our Lady of the Underground
- Texas officials see long road from Harvey for state transportation network
- Officials are starting to grapple with the costs of Harvey. Here’s what you should know today.
- Thanks to their State Rep, Friendswood Family Rushes to File Insurance Claim for their Flooded Home
- President Trump to visit Houston today to survey Harvey destruction
- As floodwaters continue to rise in Lake Jackson, crews come in to help with evacuees
- Residents being warned of people impersonating city of Houston, FEMA inspectors
- Renters find issues with flood-damaged units, property
- Crosby plant explosion highlights state efforts to block access to chemical information
- Where the government spends to keep people in flood-prone Houston neighborhoods
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: No special session needed for Harvey aid
- Five days after Harvey, here’s where things stand in Texas
- Harvey brings catastrophic flooding to Houston; 5 reported dead
- Trump pardons former Sheriff Joe Arpaio
- Why Houston isn’t ready for Hurricane Harvey
- Judge Emmett, Mayor Turner say ignore ‘rumors’ about Hurricane Harvey
- Galveston Island prepares for Harvey’s impact
- Former Galveston ISD teacher accused of having sex with high school student
- Galveston deputy accused of assaulting girlfriend, investigators say
- In San Antonio, Cops Punch Down
- The Brief: Battle lines are (curiously) drawn in Texas’ redistricting fight
- Analysis: Firing the opening shots in the 2018 GOP primaries
- As Houston plots a sustainable path forward, it’s leaving this neighborhood behind
- Harris County emergency officials preparing for tropical system Harvey
- Federal court puts hold on Houston ordinance aimed at homeless camps
- Puppy attacked by pet store owner’s dog
- Mother left kids in hot car while she drank at bar, police say
- Angela Paxton, Texas attorney general’s wife, eyes Texas Senate run
- US imposes sanctions on Russian, Chinese firms over North Korea
- Parents’ plea for help in finding teenage couple missing for 48 hours
- 2 women claim they were groped by local massage therapist
- Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller criticizes Six Flags’ removal of Confederate flag
- El Paso City Council votes down city ID program
- League City Man Sentenced to 6 Years for Online Solicitation of a non-existent Minor
- UT-Austin removing Confederate statues in the middle of the night
- Galveston County Deputies Prevent Jumper on Bridge at 646 & I-45
- Dickinson Cops use Facebook to Catch a Burglar Named Jesus
- Evading Theft Suspects Taken Into Custody After Causing Accident in League City
- Father faces charges after he and missing boy found at hotel, authorities say
- Confederate Monument Protest Draws Hundreds in Houston
- Former HPD officer among those arrested in prostitution sting
- Mother charged with murder after child ejected during drunken driving crash
- Over 250 sex buyers, traffickers arrested on prostitution charges during sting
- Remember the Alamo (Differently)
- Your phone’s Bluetooth can locate illegal skimmer devices
- With Supreme Court appeal, Texas wants to keep congressional map intact
- Dallas, Houston Protests Planned as Confederate Monuments Under Fire in Texas
- With Trump’s Infrastructure Plan, Rural Texas Could be Left in Disrepair
- Body found in Bayou Vista while searching for woman who disappeared under ‘suspicious circumstances’
- South Florida woman accused of DUI with 3-year-old unbuckled in back seat
- Deputies: Mother tells son to buy her drugs
- HPD officer relieved of duty after DWI charge, officials say
- Abbott: Removing Confederate monuments “won’t erase our nation’s past”
- Prosecution rests at trial of woman accused in 2012 death of husband
- Confederate statue controversy hits Houston
- Selena’s brother taken into custody after landing on most wanted list
- In special session rubble, spotlight shines bright on Straus
- President Trump disbands White House business councils as CEOs leave
- Video shows deadly jailbreak; Man who pleaded guilty in deputy’s death sentenced to life
- Fisherman hooks gator in Buffalo Bayou
- Squatters or scam victims? Homeowner finds another family living in home
- Charges sought against those who toppled Confederate statue
- Houston group asks mayor to remove Confederate statue from downtown park
- Federal court invalidates part of Texas congressional map
- Texas to receive millions in federal funding for wildlife conservation projects
- How a total solar eclipse created France, Italy and Germany
- Deputies Go Unpunished for Invasive Cavity Search on Houston Roadside
- Florida man gets 6 years for firing gun during strip club selfie
- Map details where Texas hate groups are in 2017
- Man blames ‘hookah-smoking caterpillar’ for wrecking liquor store, police say
- ‘I feel like I was raped,’ woman says of invasive roadside strip search
- New Mexico Bandidos members held in Texas in firearms case
- Man, 57, commits suicide after shooting juveniles during road-rage incident, police say
- Mother charged with child abandonment after newborn found in flower bed
- President Trump condemns KKK, neo-Nazis as ‘thugs’
- Woman hit, killed by Houston garbage truck while crossing street
- Legislature advances annexation bill to Gov. Abbott
- 2 Teens Who Attacked Man Shot After Auto Accident in Galveston
- White nationalist rally, counter protest planned at Texas A&M on Sept. 11
- Hundreds Clash over Confederate Monument in San Antonio
- Greenspoint Mall to close in 60 days, sources say
- Texas House approves “compromise” city annexation bill
- Asps — poisonous, stinging caterpillars — back in season
- Texas bathroom bill appears to be all but dead in special session
- Gator spotted on Galveston County road
- After 2015 legalization, Texans may be able to buy medical cannabis oil by January
- Conroe Chief of Police asked to leave doctor’s office
- Law Enforcement Increasingly Opposed to Abbott’s Agenda
- Meet the Expert Who Helps Texas Cops Justify Extreme Behavior
- Baytown woman charged in two La Porte road-rage incidents
- FBI agents searched former Trump campaign chair’s home
- Special Session a ‘Battle Royal’ for Dominionists Who Seek Christian Rule
- Zoo employee accused of sex with 14-year-old boy
- New requirement for Texas driver’s license begins soon
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Author Archives: Matthew Watkins
Washington State University football coach Mike Leach was preparing for a game against the University of Colorado two weeks ago when another foe leapt into his mind.
“They are outright crooks at Texas Tech,” the coach declared about 15 minutes into his weekly press conference, referencing the school where he worked before going to Washington State. “Are there crooks there? Yeah. I mean, like, felons. They ought to put them in jail.”
Leach was fired by Texas Tech University nearly eight years ago. But his outburst against his former employer surprised no one. Ever since he left, he has been waging a fight to get more than $2 million he believes Tech owes him from his coaching tenure. He has taken that fight to court, the Texas Capitol and to social media. But so far, state law has left him helpless in the quest to get the money he thinks he’s owed.
He has been stymied by Texas law, which protects the state and its entities from lawsuits — even if the entity violates a contract. So with the legal route blocked, he has turned his focus in recent months to shifting public opinion against Tech and the law that is protecting it.
About six weeks ago, he hired a former Houston investigative television reporter, Wayne Dolcefino, to try to dig up dirt and increase public pressure on Tech.
“Mike Leach went through the legal system, and he got shafted because there is a law that protects Texas Tech — that allows them to cheat someone out of a contract,” Dolcefino said last week. “The sad thing about that is I am sure it happens throughout the state. We have a law that allows the government to totally screw you around and get away with it.”
Whether Leach actually got screwed is a question that remains hotly debated. Leach was relieved of his duties in the final days of 2009 — right before a longevity clause on his contract kicked in that would have paid him $800,000. He had been arguably the most successful football coach in Tech history and was a hero to many students and alumni because of his eccentricity and innovative play-calling. His postgame press conferences were legendary, as he was known to indulge reporters in chats on his obsessions like pirates and the artist Jackson Pollock.
School officials said at the time that allegations of mistreating players and “insubordination” gave the school little choice but to fire him. His removal had been set in motion a few weeks earlier when the family of wide receiver Adam James complained that James was told to sit in a dark closet while suffering from concussion symptoms.
‘The facts and circumstances that led to his termination for cause are clear,” the school said in a statement. “He admittedly ordered that a student-athlete with a concussion be placed in a darkened area — not an athletic training area — and forced to stand. This occurred on two occasions.”
Leach and his supporters, meanwhile, argue that he was actually fired over personality conflicts with Tech’s leadership at the time, which they say were stoked during a tense contract negotiation from months earlier. Most of those leaders have since departed Tech — the school has had turnover at president and chancellor positions since Leach left.
The distinction mattered. Leach’s new contract had a five-year term, and it promised him $400,000 for each remaining year if he were fired before it ran out. But the buyout only kicked in if he were fired “without cause” — basically if he hadn’t done anything wrong but lose football games. The school fired him “with cause,” however, so it claimed it didn’t have to pay him the $1.6 million it would have otherwise owed him.
Leach was outraged and demanded that buyout money, plus the $800,000 he would have received if he had stayed on as coach for one more day. But he soon found there was little he could do. He tried to take the school to court, but his lawsuit was tossed out due to “sovereign immunity,” the legal concept that protects the state from lawsuits. The concept stems from the idea that the state wouldn’t be able to conduct its necessary business if the threat of lawsuits was constantly hanging over its head. The concept isn’t unusual — the federal government is also protected by sovereign immunity. But Texas’ sovereign immunity provision is particularly strong and applies to lawsuits over government contracts as well.
Leach’s frustration is not unusual, said Michael Shaunessy, an Austin attorney with experience suing and representing government entities and who trains lawyers across the state on sovereign immunity. The immunity does serve an important purpose, Shaunessy said, but also leaves contractors vulnerable if their interpretation of the contract differs from that of the state.
“It adversely affects people’s willingness to do business with the state of Texas,” he said. “I have clients who charge more when they are doing work for a government entity in Texas.”
Still, he said, he doesn’t have that much sympathy for Leach, who makes about $3 million per year as Washington State’s coach. (Washington State has traditionally been a bottom-dweller in the Pac 12 Conference, but has a strong 7-2 record under Leach this year.)
“If we are going to make a change about sovereign immunity on the contract side, we need to do that because it has a greater impact on businesses that do business with the state — and the impact it has on the state,” Shaunessy said. “To get into it over Mike Leach just doesn’t make sense to me.”
Leach has shown no sign of giving up. In 2011, with the pro bono help of a leading Austin lobbyist, he urged lawmakers to pass a bill that would have allowed him to sue Tech. A sympathetic House member, Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, filed a bill on his behalf, but it never made it out of the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee.
Eiland and Leach then enlisted two other House members to ask for then-Attorney General Greg Abbott’s opinion about whether Leach should be allowed to sue, but they didn’t make any progress on that front.
Now, Leach is making a public relations push. Dolcefino recently launched a website, paycoachleach.com, that features a petition signed by about 1,800 people and background information on sovereign immunity. The site compares Texas’ sovereign immunity to laws in oppressive regimes like North Korea, Iran and Syria.
Dolcefino also hosted a rally outside a recent Tech home football game, giving out balloons and urging people to visit the website. And he has submitted multiple open records requests to the university in search of evidence of waste, abuse or fraud at the school. The goal, Dolcefino said, is to put so much pressure on Tech that it simply decides to pay Leach the money he believes he is owed.
Tech has expressed no interest in reopening the discussion, saying in its statement that “the courts decided this case years ago, and there is nothing more to add.” But Dolcefino said he is just getting started.
“Mike Leach is not the kind of guy who surrenders,” Dolcefino said.
Disclosure: Texas Tech University has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
Late Sunday night, 10 days before classes were scheduled to start, workers at the University of Texas at Austin began removing multiple Confederate statues from a prominent grass mall on campus.
The statues of Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and John Reagan were being removed because they depict parts of American history that “run counter to the university’s core values,” university President Greg Fenves wrote in an e-mail to the campus community just before 11 p.m. Sunday. A statue of former Texas Gov. James Stephen Hogg was also removed.
“We do not choose our history, but we choose what we honor and celebrate on our campus,” he wrote. “As UT students return in the coming week, I look forward to welcoming them here for a new academic year with a recommitment to an open, positive and inclusive learning environment for all.”
The removal of the statues comes about a week after unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia surrounding the removal of Confederate statues in that college town. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists protested those statues’ removal, and clashed violently with counter-protesters. One person died in the violence.
“These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism,” he said.
A UT-Austin spokesman said in a text message that the university deliberately chose to remove the statues in the middle of the night “for public safety and to minimize disruption to the community.”
The three Confederate statues will be relocated to the Briscoe Center for American History. The statue of Hogg “will be considered for re-installation at another campus site,” Fenves said.
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
As the nation watched tension between white nationalists and counter protestors turn violent Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, worries began to emerge that the discord would come to a Texas college town next.
Preston Wiginton, a Texan with deep ties to white nationalist movements, announced Saturday afternoon that he plans to host a “White Lives Matter” rally next month on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station. At the top of a press release announcing the event, he declared “TODAY CHARLOTTESVILLE TOMORROW TEXAS A&M.”
Word of the planned rally, which Wiginton said will take place on Sept. 11, generated immediate outrage on social media. Within hours, a counter protest had been planned. That event will be called “BTHO Hate,” the name of which borrows from an A&M football chant expressing the desire to “beat the hell outta” the opposing team.
The organizer of that protest said the event would be nonviolent, and was organized to “demonstrate that members of the Aggie community do not support the hateful bigotry espoused by Wiginton and the planned speakers.”
“White supremacists keep coming to our campus thinking we’re going to support them,” said Adam Key, a doctoral student at A&M and the organizer of the counter protest. “Just like the last time they showed up, we want to demonstrate as clearly as we can that their ideas are not welcome here.”
The last time was in December, when Wiginton hosted Richard Spencer, a leader of the white nationalist movement known as the alt-right. About 400 people attended Spencer’s speech, and the night seemed constantly on the brink of boiling over. Spencer’s talk was interrupted repeatedly with shouting, pushing and shoving among people in the crowd.
Outside, thousands of people protested, leading the Texas Department of Public Safety to clear A&M’s Memorial Student Center out of safety concerns. Meanwhile, A&M held its own simultaneous concert event at its football stadium across the street.
“We hoped that December was the last time we would have to protest them,” Key said. “Aggies started fighting Nazis in World War II. We have no plans to stop any time soon.”
The planned sight for Wiginton’s rally is a fountain named after famous Aggie Gen. James Earl Rudder, who led a group of Army Rangers up 100-foot cliffs to topple Nazi gun barracks during the D-Day invasion.
Wiginton, who briefly attended A&M and has organized several white nationalist events at the school, said in his press release that he has invited Spencer back to College Station for the September event. There will be other speakers and a DJ, too, he said. The focus, he said, will be to protest “the liberal agenda of White Guilt and white genocide that is taught at most all universities in America.” There will also protests against specific A&M professors.
“Various groups throughout the country concerned with the political status of whites in America will be attending as well,” he wrote.
Details for the counter event were less specific. Key said participants will try to get as close to Wiginton’s event as possible. On Facebook, organizers proposed forming a “maroon wall” of students to block Wiginton’s message from the general public. A&M students used a similar strategy when the infamous Westboro Baptist Church protested a military funeral in College Station in 2012.
A&M hasn’t officially responded to the protest plans.
Disclosure: Texas A&M has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
For about a year starting in June 2016, the practice of affirmative action in Texas university admissions seemed secure.
The University of Texas at Austin won a U.S. Supreme Court case on the issue — for the second time. And UT-Austin officials said they were determined to continue to consider the race of applicants as a small factor in admissions decisions for the foreseeable future.
But this summer, doubt has crept back in. On Tuesday, The New York Times broke the news that the U.S. Department of Justice under President Donald Trump plans to investigate and possibly sue universities that use affirmative action if its lawyers believe those policies unfairly discriminate against white or Asian students. And in June, the man behind the case that took UT-Austin to the Supreme Court filed another lawsuit alleging discrimination against white people at UT-Austin. This time, the case is in state court.
The Department of Justice news stunned the world of higher education. Questions abound. Here’s what we know now about what this means for Texas:
Not many schools in Texas use affirmative action
It’s impossible to know at this point whether the Department of Justice will set its sights on any Texas schools. The New York Times reported that the department is still staffing up for the mission, and it doesn’t appear to have specific plans or strategies set. But Texas doesn’t seem like an easy target. Only two public universities in Texas — UT-Austin and Midwestern State University — consider the race of their applicants in freshman admissions. And except for Rice University and Southern Methodist University, most of the prominent private universities don’t use it, either.
UT-Austin policy has been a target in the past. But it seems relatively safe in this case.
UT-Austin’s use of affirmative action has been thoroughly vetted by the federal courts. Abigail Fisher, a white student from Sugar Land, sued UT-Austin in 2008, saying she was denied admission even though she felt there were minority candidates who were less qualified than her. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court twice. Each time, the court upheld the practice of affirmative action.
In 2016, the court’s majority opinion specifically found UT-Austin’s policy constitutional. In order to mount a successful case against UT-Austin, the Justice Department would probably have to persuade the Supreme Court to reverse its recent ruling.
“Right now, I think UT is very well insulated,” said Mishell Kneeland, a former assistant attorney general in Texas who helped represent UT-Austin in the Fisher case.
Some Texas schools don’t use affirmative action because of the Top 10 Percent Rule.
Why don’t more Texas schools use affirmative action? Because the state has a unique method of increasing diversity at its schools. The origins of that method, known as the Top 10 Percent Rule, date back to another court decision from 1996.
That year, a U.S. appeals court ruled that UT-Austin’s use of affirmative action in law school admissions was unconstitutional. That ruling was eventually overturned, but it was at first interpreted to mean that no public school in Texas could consider the race of its applicants. In the years before the ruling was overturned, black and Hispanic enrollment in top schools began to plummet. The Texas Legislature came up with the Top 10 Percent Rule as a fix.
Under the rule, each public school is required to accept any student who graduated in the top 10 percent of his or her Texas high school’s graduating class. The idea is that schools in Texas are fairly segregated by race. Thus, accepting the top students from suburban schools, inner city schools and schools in South Texas creates more diverse universities.
Lawmakers and educators still fiercely debate how much the rule works and whether it’s fair to students from more competitive high schools. But there is no question that many universities became more racially diverse after the law went into effect. And once affirmative action became allowable again, Texas A&M University decided it didn’t need it.
UT-Austin uses the Top 10 Percent Rule, but says it still needs affirmative action
The Top 10 Percent Rule still applies to UT-Austin, but in a slightly different way. UT-Austin is such a popular school for top students that it runs the risk having more top 10 percent students than it has room for. As a result, the Texas Legislature allows UT-Austin to cap its automatic enrollees at 75 percent of incoming Texans. The other 25 percent are admitted through a more holistic process. Race is one small factor that the university considers in that process.
Despite that, UT-Austin admits a significantly higher share of black and Hispanic students through the Top 10 Percent Rule than it does from the holistic review process.
UT-Austin’s affirmative action policy could still be safe.
Affirmative action opponents might have lost at the federal level, but they’re not giving up. In June, Edward Blum, the man who recruited Abigail Fisher to sue UT-Austin last decade, took his fight to state court. He created an organization, Students for Fair Admissions, that filed a new lawsuit targeting the policy. This one claims that affirmative action at UT-Austin violates state law.
UT-Austin declined to comment for this article. But it is clearly frustrated by the case. In a legal filing on Monday, the university said Blum is trying to “re-package the same allegations and arguments that were unsuccessful in the prior suit.”
“Having lost the legal arguments they asserted from 2008 through 2016, Blum and the Fishers now claim that this honorable Court should give them a new and different result,” the filing said. “They apparently believe that their new second-choice, third-choice, and fourth-choice theories should be equally compelling to the unsuccessful arguments they pushed for eight years.”
UT-Austin is making that argument to a district judge. But Blum seems to clearly have his sights set higher: The Texas Supreme Court. That body is considerably more conservative than the U.S. Supreme Court and could be more receptive to Blum’s argument.
“I do think there is more vulnerability there,” said Kneeland, who nonetheless called UT-Austin’s affirmative action policy “terrific.”
The plaintiffs in the suit argue that UT-Austin’s policy violates the Texas Constitution and the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, which says that a state employee cannot “refuse to permit [a] person to participate” in a state program because of that person’s race.
That statute, Kneeland said, “hasn’t been interpreted in this context and so it is a little bit of an open question.”
Shannon Najmabadi contributed to this report.
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin, Rice University, Southern Methodist University and Texas A&M University have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
When Sierra Smith told Baylor University she’d been sexually assaulted by a classmate during a 2016 spring break trip to South Padre Island, she hoped administrators would move to protect her and other students.
It took several months of investigation, but the university eventually did, suspending the male student for three semesters for violating Baylor’s sexual violence and harassment policies.
But by then, the punishment had little effect. The student Smith reported had already transferred to a new school — without a blemish on his record.
“It bothers me that there could be another girl out there who could go through this, too,” she said.
Baylor isn’t the only school that doesn’t list disciplinary violations on its students’ transcripts. Many other universities in Texas and across the nation, including the University of North Texas, have similar policies.
Schools say they are following a practice that has been standard in higher education for years. They argue that disciplinary proceedings aren’t criminal cases — and that a transcript should be viewed as an academic file, not a disciplinary record.
Several other Texas schools, including the University of Houston, Texas State University and Texas A&M University, include notations when the investigation is final, but don’t note when a case is pending. They say they are are trying not to punish students before they have even been found responsible for wrongdoing.
But some college administrators and victims’ rights advocates worry that failing to provide notice on a transcript — either of a final or pending investigation — creates an escape hatch for students transferring to avoid punishment. A student could end up at a new school, they say, without that university ever knowing the student’s past.
“That happens routinely,” said Wanda Mercer, associate vice chancellor of student affairs at the University of Texas System and an expert on the issue.
Lately, more universities are beginning to address those concerns. Baylor, for example, is currently reviewing whether it should change its policy.
But supporters of including disciplinary records on transcripts say change is coming too slowly. Case in point: An attempt to impose a statewide rule requiring the notations failed during the 2017 Texas legislative session.
Stories of female students upset about the handling of their sexual assault cases have plagued Baylor for years. But in Smith’s instance, the university took action — even if it took longer than she had hoped.
She was a sophomore during the trip to South Padre, visiting for the night with a friend. Once there, she met up with a male student with whom she had been previously romantically involved.
“Whenever I woke up later that night, it was to him deciding that me saying no wasn’t enough deterrence,” Smith said.
Smith didn’t report the incident to the university at first. She didn’t even tell most of her friends. But soon, it began to affect her schoolwork and her personal life. She had trouble concentrating in class. And she turned to partying to take her mind off of the incident.
“I was just replaying in my head everything that happened over and over again,” she said. “Maybe I remembered it wrong. Maybe I’m going crazy.”
One day, Smith broke down crying in the office of one of her professors. She told her teacher everything, prompting a Baylor investigation. Within a couple of days, the university had sent the male student an order to avoid all contact with Smith. It also sent official notice that it was opening a disciplinary case, which is required by federal law when one student accuses another of assault.
The university ultimately found the male student responsible in the case and placed him on probation. Smith appealed that decision, and the punishment was increased to a three-semester suspension.
That final decision was little comfort for Smith, who learned that the male student had already transferred. While she was happy he was out of her life, she wondered, “What happens when he goes [to his new school]?”
Slowly, changing attitudes
For the UT System’s Mercer, it comes as no surprise that a student would try to transfer amid a disciplinary case.
“If you are someone who is charged and you don’t feel like you have violated the rules, the processes can take some time,” she said. “You might say, ‘The semester is not over yet, but I am out of here.’”
Mercer, who wrote her Ph.D dissertation on the subject, has spent years warning universities about that possibility. The solution is simple, she says: Include a notation of a disciplinary case on the student’s transcript, so any future school will know to ask questions before admitting the student. She helped the UT System devise such a policy in recent years. Texas Tech University takes a similar approach.
Many other schools have been reluctant. A 2015 national survey of university registrars found that about 40 percent didn’t support including disciplinary notations on transcripts.
That opposition appears to be shrinking. For two decades, the influential American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers actively discouraged schools from making note of disciplinary issues on transcripts. In December 2015, the group switched to being neutral on the subject. Last month, it shifted again and began encouraging such notations when disciplinary cases are final. The group doesn’t specifically recommend a policy on pending disciplinary cases.
“It’s a touchy issue,” said Kristi Wold-McCormick, the registrar at the University of Colorado who chaired the task force that recommended the most recent change. “When a conduct case is pending and an investigation is underway, we don’t know the outcome yet.”
Wold-McCormick said some registrars still believe transcripts should solely be academic documents — not records of disciplinary matters. She said others are worried about legal liability; students might sue if they feel they were blocked from transferring because of a note on their transcript.
There is also concern about how transcript notations could affect the futures of punished students. Disciplinary notations don’t usually say what students were punished for — only that they were suspended or expelled. A student kicked out for drinking at a conservative school might have a hard time getting into a new school that isn’t overly concerned with that offense.
While Baylor officials wouldn’t comment publicly on their policy, background information they provided to The Texas Tribune suggests its administrators share some of those concerns.
Advocates for the notations say those worries are easily addressed: Limit the use of notations to major offenses — those serious enough to warrant expulsion or suspension. A notation for a suspension could be removed from a transcript once the term of the suspension is complete, they say.
The advocates also add that when there’s no criminal record, a student’s transcript may be a future university’s only source of warning. Sexual assault cases involving two students who know each other rarely make it to criminal court, because victims are often reluctant to go through a public trial and prosecutors hesitate to take on cases that pit one student’s word against another’s.
But many universities worry about punishing a student too much too soon. Just because someone is under investigation doesn’t mean they are guilty, school officials say. Many universities — including A&M, which adds transcript notations only when the final results are in — say they will provide information on pending investigations verbally to transfer universities conducting background checks on potential students.
House bill fails
In recent years, two states, New York and Virginia, have adopted laws that establish statewide disciplinary notation policies. This year, Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, tried to make Texas the third. His proposal, House Bill 3142, would have required notations for all university cases that resulted in a major punishment.
Smith traveled from Waco to Austin to testify in favor of the proposal. At a late-night committee hearing in April, she told the Texas House Higher Education Committee her story.
“I was not the first girl he came into contact with,” she told legislators, “and I will not be the last.”
“So the next time a girl decides to be brave enough to report him — because it will happen again — there will be no record,” she added. “The school will not know what has happened in the past and he will run away again or get off with nothing.”
A week later, the committee unanimously advanced the bill. But Turner’s legislation suffered a common fate in the Texas Capitol — the clock ran out on the legislative session before the Texas House could vote on it.
Turner and Smith both said they hope universities will consider changing their policies on their own. If not, Turner said he expects to file the bill again in 2019. And Smith, an aspiring lawyer, said she’ll be there again to tell her story.
“I hope to continue to advocate for these things for the rest of my life,” she said.
Disclosure: Baylor University, the University of Texas System, Texas A&M University, the University of Houston, Texas State University, Texas Tech University and the University of North Texas have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
A federal judge has dismissed a longshot lawsuit filed by three University of Texas at Austin professors seeking to overturn the state’s 2015 campus carry law, which allows people to carry concealed handguns inside most public university buildings.
District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote in his decision that the professors — Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter — couldn’t present any “concrete evidence to substantiate their fears” that campus carry would have a chilling effect on free speech.
The professors claimed, among other arguments, that the law violated their First Amendment rights, since the possibility of a gun being in their classrooms might make them hesitant to discuss controversial issues. In dismissing the suit, Yeakel said the professors didn’t have standing to sue.
But Renea Hicks, the attorney representing the three UT professors, said the specifics of the ruling leave the case’s future uncertain. While Yeakel threw out the case entirely, he only only addressed one of the legal arguments, the question of a First Amendment violation.
“We had other claims in the lawsuit beyond that — a Second Amendment claim, an equal protection claim. The order accompanying his dismissal doesn’t seem to address those issues,” Hicks said in an interview Friday. “So there’s a bit of confusion on our part.”
Hicks, who had not yet conferred with his clients when reached Friday, said he is not sure what course of action he and the plaintiffs will take. They have 28 days from July 6 to ask Yeakel for clarification, and 30 days to file an appeal to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The ruling was issued late Thursday, exactly one year after the original lawsuit was filed. On Friday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose office defended the state in the case, praised the decision.
“The court’s ruling today is the correct outcome,” Paxton said. “The fact that a small group of professors dislike a law and speculate about a ‘chilling effect’ is hardly a valid basis to set the law aside.”
Campus carry became law in 2015, but didn’t go into effect until Aug. 1, 2016. It stirred up widespread opposition among faculty and many students — especially on the UT-Austin campus. But so far, there have been no major incidents and protests on campus have all but disappeared.
Emma Platoff contributed to this report.
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
The man who helped Abigail Fisher sue the University of Texas at Austin for discrimination in a case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court twice is suing UT-Austin once again.
This time, he claims the university’s use of affirmative action violates the Texas Constitution, not the U.S. Constitution.
Edward Blum’s group Students for Fair Admissions filed the suit in Travis County court Tuesday. The group cites the Texas Equal Rights Amendment, which bans discrimination based on “sex, race, color, creed or national origin” in arguing that UT-Austin shouldn’t be allowed to give slight preference to minorities in admissions.
Blum’s previous suit spent years in federal courts. It eventually failed, following a 4-3 vote by the U.S. Supreme Court that UT-Austin could consider the race of its applicants as a minor factor. That ruling should have no bearing on how state courts analyze the Texas Constitution, Blum said.
“We believe that most Texas judges and justices will agree with our interpretation of the Texas Constitution,” he said in a press release.
UT-Austin officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The university has been using affirmative action in a limited way since a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision made it allowable in Texas. About three-fourths of its Texas students are admitted through an admissions policy known as the Top 10 Percent Rule, which grants automatic admission to students who graduate near the top of their high school’s class. UT-Austin considers the race of its applicants as a minor factor when considering the rest of its applicants.
Saying that a new Texas law allowing child welfare providers to deny adoptions to parents based on “sincerely held religious beliefs” is discriminatory, California’s attorney general on Thursday banned state-funded travel to Texas.
The attorney general’s office said in a news release that Texas’ House Bill 3859 “allows foster care agencies to discriminate against children in foster care and potentially disqualify LGBT families from the state’s foster and adoption system.” Therefore, California agencies, public universities and boards won’t be able to pay for their employees or board members to travel to Texas for work-related trips, the state’s attorney general declared.
“While the California DOJ works to protect the rights of all our people, discriminatory laws in any part of our country send all of us several steps back,” said Xavier Becerra, the California attorney general. “That’s why when California said we would not tolerate discrimination against LGBTQ members of our community, we meant it.”
The decision drew a mocking response from the office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who signed the bill into law this month.
“California may be able to stop their state employees,” said Abbott spokesman John Wittman, “but they can’t stop all the businesses that are fleeing over taxation and regulation, and relocating to Texas.”
Becerra has the authority to issue such a ban, thanks to a law that went into effect Jan. 1 prohibiting state-funded travel to states that have discriminatory laws on the books. The new law requires the attorney general to keep a list of such discriminatory laws.
Many people speculated during the 2017 regular legislative session that Texas would be added to the list if it passed a bill setting rules for which bathrooms transgender people can use. That legislation failed during the regular session. Meanwhile, the adoption bill wasn’t really on the radar of people concerned about California state travel.
HB 3859, authored by Rep. James Frank, R-Wichita Falls, says that faith-based organizations can also place a child in a religious school; deny referrals for certain contraceptives, drugs or devices; and refuse to contract with other organizations that don’t share their religious beliefs. Under the law, if an organization refuses services to children or prospective parents on religious grounds, they will be required to refer the child or parent to a different organization.
It was a controversial bill. LGBT groups said it “used religion as a weapon.” Religious groups said it allowed them to serve children without violating their core beliefs.
Alabama, Kentucky and South Dakota were also added to the list of states with California travel bans. It’s not immediately clear what the economic impact of the decision will have on Texas.
One of the key consequences could involve higher education — and college sports in particular. Researchers and staff members from universities often travel to Texas for conferences. And California college sports teams play in Texas fairly regularly. Several major sports bowl games and tournaments are played here — including the men’s college basketball Final Four in San Antonio in 2018. The University of California, Los Angeles played a road football game at Texas A&M University last season. The University of California, Berkeley played at the University of Texas at Austin a year earlier.
The California law allows for exceptions for contracts that are already in place, and it’s unclear whether the state’s teams would be banned from playing in the Final Four. But the Los Angeles Times reported in February that UCLA has stopped scheduling games against teams in banned states.
Attempts to freeze tuition may have stalled out at the Texas Legislature this year, but lawmakers did take one quiet step toward addressing college affordability: They gave the state’s biggest financial aid program a boost.
The austere state budget currently awaiting Republican Gov. Greg Abbott‘s signature includes a 10 percent funding hike for Texas’ main method of helping needy students attend four-year colleges. That money will address the aid program’s biggest shortfall — that there’s not enough money to give grants to everyone who qualifies. Advocates say that’s a much-needed boost as cost of college continues to rise.
This year, about 15 percent of students who were eligible for a Toward Excellence, Access and Success Grant, or TEXAS Grant, didn’t get one. Next year, state officials say, that share should be cut in half.
“We will be able to fund about 92 percent of eligible students,” said Raymund Paredes, the state’s higher education commissioner. “We would love to be at 100 percent, but we’ll settle for 92.”
The program was created in 1999 to cover full tuition and fees for the state’s neediest full-time university students. In its first year, it did so for all 6,108. But this decade, the state has had to pull back on its ambitions as tuition has gone up and the number of poor students has increased.
The Tribune reported this March that more than 66,000 students were receiving the grants in 2015, but the average reward had dwindled to 58 percent of tuition and fees and many students who should have qualified were being left out.
For much of the session, things looked like they might get worse. Powerful lawmakers introduced legislation that would have capped the amount of each grant in order to spread lesser amounts of money around farther. And the original versions of the budget produced by the House and Senate didn’t include any additional funding for the program.
If those plans had gone through, the average award amount would have likely shrunk, and the share of qualified students who would have lost out on the grant was expected to rise from 15 percent to 43 percent by 2019, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
The decision to increase funding came near the end of the session. Prior to that point, the Senate had upped its proposed amount by only $45 million, while the House hadn’t called for any significant increase. But during negotiations to iron out differences between the two chambers’ spending plans, lawmakers chose to go above and beyond what either side had proposed. In the end, they added $71 million, bringing the total proposed spending on the program over the next two years to $786 million.
“With the cost of college skyrocketing for families across the state, there was a strong sentiment in both the House and Senate to provide additional financial aid resources to help individuals seeking to further their education,” said Rep. Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin, who chairs the House subcommittee focused on education spending. “The decision to increase funding by over $70 million shows the Legislature’s determination not to allow Texas’ most critical resource — our students — to fall behind simply for financial reasons.”
The increase was welcome news for universities and higher education advocates. But some warned that the state needs to go further if it can be expected to meet its goal of 60 percent of its young people earning a postsecondary degree by 2030. Nearly two-thirds of school-aged children in Texas come from low-income families. And the grant doesn’t cover part-time students or other nontraditional students.
“The job is not done when we get to 100 percent of eligible students served,” said Garrett Groves, director of the Educational Opportunity Program at the Center for Public Policy Priorities.
Disclosure: The Center for Public Policy Priorities has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors is available here.