Welcome to KTSW News’s first weekly update! This week we are covering Texas State honoring 60 years of desegregation and Black History Month, the San Marcos City Council renegotiating the current Meet and Confer agreement, the state of the union address and Governor Greg Abbott releasing a plan to ban TikTok.
Texas State celebrates 60 years of desegregation, Black History Month
By Preethi Mangadu
News & Culture Director
Texas State University is hosting several events to celebrate 60 years of desegregation and Black History Month.
On February 4, 1963, five African American women registered for classes after Dana Jean Smith won a lawsuit that ended segregation at SWT.
This month the Texas State community will be able to hear their stories at “Living Legends: Where are they now?” through both in-person and virtual appearances on Feb. 22. The Coalition of Black Faculty and Staff is hosting this and “Celebrating 60 Years of An African American Presence” to celebrate desegregation at Texas State and Black History Month.
“I cannot express the amount of excitement that I and others have that we as a campus & community get to celebrate, remember and commemorate the 60th anniversary of desegregation Texas State University,” Tabitha Walker, the president of the Coalition of Black Faculty and Staff, said. “This is HUGE!! These events will allow education, reflection, and aspirations to happen. Those who attend will be educated on the history of many African American trailblazers, reflect on their challenges and how they persevered, and create our own aspirations to leave their PAWPRINT and continue in the legacy started by 5 women 60yrs ago!”
Texas State University is holding other events and lectures, too. Some of the featured events are “Systems Thinking: Black Male Success,” “Black History Kickoff” and “Naturally You: Be your Authentic Self.”
Black History Month was originally a week set by Carter G. Woodson, but President Gerald Ford designated it as a month in 1976. The vice president of BSA Elijah Freeman said he believes the importance of celebrating Black History Month can never be overstated.
“It is essential that we recognize the achievements and contributions that Black students have showcased at TXST,” Freeman said. “Ever since the first 5 Black women enrolled in Texas State many years ago, Black history was forever intertwined with that of the university’s history. Since then Black Students have continued to thrive and become leaders within the community, which is proof enough of the necessity of honoring this historic month.”
The academic year also has many other Black history milestones at Texas State. The Black Student Alliance is celebrating its 20th anniversary Sunday.
“Being a part of the 20th-anniversary celebration since the founding of BSA in 2002/2003 is truly a blessing,” Freeman said. “Although this might sound a bit strange, as someone who was born in 2003 and is about to turn 20 years old, it’s very bittersweet to look back and see from a personal standpoint how meaningful celebrating the continuation of something. I am truly proud of everything and everyone in BSA who work together to ensure this beautiful organization stays around for the long run.”
Greek life has several milestones within it. The university’s Xi Delta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the first Black Greek organization charter on campus, celebrated its 50th anniversary in September. The lota Omega chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority is also celebrating its 50th anniversary in April. Sigma Gamma Rho sorority celebrated its 100th national anniversary in November.
San Marcos City council repeals contract with police union
By Preethi Mangadu
News & Culture Director
In a 4-3 vote, San Marcos City Council repealed an agreement with the San Marcos Police Association on Tuesday night.
The agreement was the Meet and Confer contract approved in September. According to city documentation, “Meet and Confer is a process designed to allow police and fire associations and management an opportunity to understand each other’s interests and reach agreement on important employment issues. The enabling statute outlines specific areas of discussion for this process which include wages, rates of pay, hours of work and working conditions.”
The dissenting votes were Mayor Jane Hughson and council members Matthew Mendoza and Mark Gleason; the supporting votes were council members Shane Scott, Jude Prather, Alyssa Garza and Saul Gonzalez.
“On Tuesday, our majority Republican city council voted to repeal the San Marcos Police Officers Association’s Meet and Confer agreement, and we were honestly incredibly shocked,” Communications Director of Mano Amiga Sam Benavides said. “Obviously, that’s what we’re calling for because we don’t believe there should be a 3-month delay to this decision. We think that renegotiations need to happen immediately, and so we’re really shocked, but I just think it speaks to how reasonable the reforms we are calling for are.”
Mano Amiga Safety backed the November petition to repeal the current Meet and Confer agreement and include the Hartman Reforms in the pending contract. This was prompted by the death of Jennifer Miller, who died when former San Marcos Police Sgt. Ryan Hartman ran a stoplight and hit the car Miller and her partner, Pam Watts, were in.
“On that day, June 10th, which was the 2-year anniversary of Jennifer’s death, we made a promise to the city,” Benavidas said. “We promised if they did not implement the five Hartman Reforms, we would launch a ballot initiative to repeal the contract.”
This agreement was the fifth contract since 2009. Due to the vote, it will now expire on June 7, 2023, if not renegotiated. Originally, it would have expired on Sept. 30, 2025.
“We’re going to continue mobilizing our community members to show up to these meetings and observe,” Benavidas said. “We’re hoping, for one, obviously, that they implement each of the five Hartman Reforms that Pam Watts is demanding, but we’re also hoping that they give Pam a seat at the table.”
The San Marcos Government did not comment on the decision due to the pending renegotiation.
Biden’s speech informed congress on the legislation and success of his administration this past year.
“Two years ago, our economy was reeling,” Biden said. “As I stand here tonight, we have created a record 12 million new jobs, more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years.”
Biden also delivered one of the few lines that got both Democrats and Republicans to applaud.
“Two years ago, COVID had shut down our businesses, closed our schools, and robbed us of so much,” said Biden. “Today, COVID no longer controls our lives.”
The speech overall was heavily focused on economics. The President highlighted the need to bring back manufacturing jobs to the United States. President Biden keyed in on key progressive policies Tuesday night, such as enforcing antitrust laws, and the Junk Fee Prevention Act, which would restrict travel and prevent companies from imposing excessive fees on customers. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act which would strengthen federal laws protecting workers’ right to organize and bargain for better working conditions and more pay.
Biden also asked congress once again to pass his most ambitious goal: a billionaire tax.
“The tax system is not fair; it’s not fair, the idea that in 2020, 55 of the largest corporations in America, of Fortune 500, made $40 billion in profits and paid $0 in federal taxes? $0? Folks, it’s simply not fair,” said Biden.
Biden also spoke on education highlighting the student debt relief program, which millions of Americans eagerly applied for; however, the funds have been held up due to continued legal challenges.
The President continued to hammer on education by delivering a famous line from first lady Dr. Jill Biden who has a doctorate in education, “Any nation that out-educates us will out-compete us.” He finished education by calling on congress to pass legislation to provide access to preschool for 3 and 4-year-olds.
Lastly, Biden spoke about the need for police reform in front of the parents of Tyre Nichols, receiving a standing ovation from the chamber. The President spoke about the fact that he has “never had to have the talk with my children – Beau, Hunter, and Ashley – that so many Black and Brown families have had with their children.” The president called on them to, “come together and finish the job on police reform.”
Biden became the oldest president to ever give a state of the union address and has yet to officially announce if he will be running again in 2024, so far only former President Donald Trump has announced their candidacy for president.
Governor Greg Abbott officially bans TikTok
By Preethi Mangadu
News & Culture Director
Gov. Greg Abbott released a statewide security plan to ban TikTok on state-issued security devices and address vulnerabilities on personal devices Monday. This applies to institutions of higher education as well.
Today, I’m announcing a plan to ban TikTok in Texas.
It’s critical that state agencies are protected from the Chinese Communist Party as they work on behalf of Texans.
The model was developed by the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Department of Information Resources to guide state agencies on using TikTok and other prohibited technologies for business. Agencies will have until February 15 to implement their own policies based on the plan.
This plan was made after Gov. Abbott directed state agencies to ban TikTok use and downloads on state-issued devices in December 2022.
“Owned by a Chinese company that employs Chinese Communist Party members, TikTok harvests significant amounts of data from a user’s device, including details about a user’s internet activity,” Gov. Abbott said, in a press release. “Other prohibited technologies listed in the statewide model plan also produce a similar threat to the security of Texans. It is critical that state agencies and employees are protected from the vulnerabilities presented by the use of this app and other prohibited technologies as they work on behalf of their fellow Texans.”
Objectives of the plan are to prevent the use of TikTok on any state-issued device, limit employees from doing state business on prohibited technology-enabled personal devices, ban prohibited technology-enabled personal devices from vulnerable places in businesses, use network-based restrictions to ban prohibited technology and continuously update a list of prohibited technologies.
By Myles Vaughn Sports Reporter The Texas State Men's Basketball team beat the Arkansas State Red Wolves on Thursday night by a score of 66-62. The four double digit leading scorers for the Bobcats included Tyrel Morgan with 12 points, followed by the 10 points by Mason Harrell, and 11 points by Nighael Caesar. “I’m proud of them defensively,” said head coach Terrance Johnson. Defensively, the Bobcats had eight total […]
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