With University of Texas at Austin classes beginning Wednesday, students' concerns for their safety were exacerbated when a photo and video circulated showing members of UT Greek life gathering off campus without masks or following social distancing guidelines.
Photo taken by my colleague on UT’s west campus today. Sorority rush. No masks, but if you look closely they are we… https://t.co/pfqDihZ18V— Catherine Weaver (@Catherine Weaver) 1598317015.0
In response, university spokesperson J.B. Bird said all UT students are expected to "recognize their deep responsibility" in protecting the campus and surrounding community by wearing masks and social distancing.
"The students who were in the photo on social media put themselves and others at risk and should get tested through the university's Proactive Community Testing program," Bird said. "We are reaching out to the advisers and national offices of the groups whose members were at the gathering to reinforce our expectations and will continue to look to the City of Austin to enforce its orders on public gatherings."
Many students were immediately outraged, expressing their frustration via social media.
It’s crazy because these are the students that come into Austin, get together and spread Covid, then go out into th… https://t.co/p7DI8G0LpJ— Ernesto (@Ernesto) 1598362664.0
UT Admin and Greek Orgs both disregarding safety measures for their own selfish interests https://t.co/tO2ypj05B3— PJ Chukwurah (@PJ Chukwurah) 1598296048.0
Some have pointed out that the students aren't entirely to blame since the university has continued to push ahead with in-person class plans, even as their own models suggest between 82 and 183 students will arrive on campus with COVID-19.
Counterpoint: we shouldn't blame UT students for our many policy failures. Did @UTAustin have to start this semest… https://t.co/7ZJZpstge2— Ilya Finkelstein (@Ilya Finkelstein) 1598324698.0
On Monday, UT Austin's Interim President Jay Hartzell said there will "almost certainly" be COVID-19 clusters on campus as they proceed with reopening.
The university has maintained that concerned students should trust their peers to make good choices and avoid large gatherings.
UT's Panhellenic Council announced earlier this summer that fall recruitment would be "totally virtual," stating on its website that Bid Day—when potential new members find out which sorority they've been invited to join—"will not involve large, in-person gatherings as it has in the past."
The Panhellenic Council did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday pertaining to the social media posts.
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Despite a 2-0 deficit, there was a pot of gold for Austin FC after all as it celebrated its annual Pride Night with rainbows and a 2-2 comeback draw to FC Dallas Saturday night.
After three FC Dallas losses last season, the Dallas derby draw marks the first time Austin FC has tied against its Copa Texas rival. Austin continues to edge over FC Dallas as it sits at 3rd in the MLS West.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the match:
A somber start
Decked out in colorful hues for LBGTQ+ Pride, Verde fans started the match on a somber note as they held up banners to take a stand against gun violence before the match.
As the national anthem began, fans held up banners with the names of each child that was killed in the Uvalde school shooting and a plea to "end gun violence."
The supporters' section was also dotted with Pride flags and a "Bans off Our Bodies" banner in protest of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
FC Dallas earns a 2-0 lead
That sober tone continued onto the pitch. With midfielder Daniel Pereira's absence due to a red card, the Verde and Black lost two goals to FC Dallas by the 70th minute of play.
FC Dallas played it sneaky for the first half of the match, giving Austin FC plenty of room to hold possession as it waited to strike on a Verde error. That mentality proved dangerous for Austin as Dallas' Paul Arriola took advantage of Brad Stuver's deflection to score the first goal of the night in the 57th minute of play.
Dallas struck once more as Brandon Servant pushed past the Verde line to score the second goal of the match.
Austin FC strikes back
But energy quickly returned to Austin's favor thanks to Designated Player Sebastian Driussi, who scooted past several FC Dallas defenders alongside Moussa Djitte to snag an unlikely first goal for Austin.
A full Verde comeback
Austin's subs proved deadly as momentum returned to the home team toward the end of the match. A well-placed cross from Nick Lima—and a diving header from a fresh-legged Danny Hoesen—helped the team secure the draw with a second Verde goal in the 84th minute of play.
Hoesen, who was Austin's first starting striker last season, has now scored two goals with the team after a yearlong injury stuck him on the bench.
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Hours following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion, on Friday, about 1,000 people gathered in Republic Square with signs calling for change.
The rally, organized by the group Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights Texas, started at the federal courthouse on Republic Square on Friday at 5 p.m. before the crowd marched to the Texas Capitol. More protests are expected to ensue over the weekend.
People showed up with all types of signs like Mindy Moffa holding up, "Keep your filthy laws off my silky drawers."
Austin joined cities across the country that saw protests for a women's right to an abortion after the ruling.
According to a recent UT poll, 78% of Texas voters support abortion access in most cases.
Sabrina Talghade and Sofia Pellegrini held up signs directed at Texas laws. A Texas trigger law will ban all abortions from the moment of fertilization, starting 30 days after the ruling. When state legislators passed the trigger law last summer, it also passed laws for more protection of firearms, including the right to open carry without a permit.
Lili Enthal of Austin yells as around 1,000 Texans marched to the Texas Capitol.
From the Texas Capitol, Zoe Webb lets her voice be heard against the Supreme Court ruling.
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