Texas Legislature passes payments to extend voting accessibility

The Texas Legislature handed Senate Invoice 477 and Home Invoice 3159 this session to extend voting accessibility for these with disabilities. 

Efficient instantly, SB 477, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 18, permits these with mobility difficulties to vote earlier than others who arrive at polling places.  

Kate Murphy, authorities sophomore and co-director of Scholar Authorities’s Incapacity Inclusion Company, mentioned obstacles to voting are amplified for these with disabilities. Murphy mentioned permitting these with a bodily impairment to the entrance of the road helps guarantee everybody can vote.

“For some individuals, it’s only a nuisance to go to the ballot, or it’s too troublesome to reach, and that’s a deterrent for them,” Murphy mentioned. “I needed to stand in line for an hour and a half to vote. Lots of people don’t have that functionality.”

HB 3159 would have allowed for early voting absentee ballots on an digital system for these with disabilities who want help marking or studying paper ballots. Nevertheless, Gov. Abbott vetoed the invoice.  

“I believe (SB 477 and HB 3159 are) undoubtedly an enormous step ahead,” mentioned Chase Bearden, the deputy government director of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. “I believe these can be a number of the largest steps ahead in accessible voting since (The Assist America Vote Act) handed.”

In response to the voting report, each payments acquired bipartisan help within the legislature. Bearden mentioned CTD labored with each events to file HB 3159.

“You’re going to be touched by incapacity in some unspecified time in the future in your life, both personally or a buddy or member of the family,” Bearden mentioned. “It doesn’t discriminate throughout political traces, it touches everybody. So this did have an effect on Republicans, Democrats, independents; it affected all voters in Texas.”

Murphy mentioned an important a part of a democratic society is residents voting for his or her representatives. 

“We should have elected officers that replicate the opinions of everything of the residents of Texas or of America, not simply that small p.c that may get to the polls, or which have sufficient training or sufficient entry to have the ability to go vote,” Murphy mentioned.

Bearden mentioned his group would proceed to face behind objectives like bipartisanship and depoliticization.

“I believe if we are able to all get on the identical web page and work collectively exterior of session, we are able to provide you with good methods to run our elections that works for everybody, and ensures that we hold that stability and perception that each vote counts,” Bearden mentioned. “As a result of on the finish of the day, each vote has to depend. We’d like to ensure of it.” 

Doctoral scholar presents analysis on on-line gender-based violence improve throughout COVID-19

Quickly after COVID-19 hit North America, sociology professor Gloria González-López joined a Zoom assembly about sexual violence towards girls in Mexico. A few males joined the assembly with out permission and started cursing and utilizing destructive language towards the ladies.

González-López’s expertise mirrors that of many different girls. In america, one in three girls are victims of sexual harassment and on-line stalking earlier than age 35. In accordance with UN Ladies, 38% of ladies reported elevated on-line violence throughout COVID-19. On the 2023 Worldwide Communications Affiliation, Sheila B. Lalwani, a journalism and media doctoral scholar, introduced two papers on on-line gender violence. 

“Throughout COVID-19, we have been all on-line. This was very true for ladies, whose financial, political and social lives have been all organized by the Web,” Lalwani mentioned. We have been capable of see that there was an enormous surge of violence towards girls. And that’s actually the place the European Union began to care much more about on-line gender-based violence.

Within the presentation, Lalwani highlighted how on-line gender-based violence existed for years, however lawmakers solely lately began to deal with the problem with the seriousness it deserves. She mentioned harassment contains picture abuse, cyberstalking, hate speech and manipulated movies or pictures. Lalwani mentioned such behaviors have an effect on girls’s sense of safety, shallowness and future profession outlook. 

“What’s much more difficult is that only a few of those situations of abuse are reported, and little or no authorized motion is taken,” Lalwani mentioned.

Lalwani mentioned the European Union was a normative energy in addressing on-line gender-based violence and highlighting the authorized motion hole. Elevated laws, sensible measures and extra dialogue concerning the subject helped increase consciousness in international locations just like the U.S. For instance, the EU established legal guidelines requiring state events to ban psychological violence and stalking. 

“No person ought to draw back from going on the web as a result of they’re scared,” Lalwani mentioned. “This subject is lastly getting the eye it deserves, and what we have to do now is consider this by way of coverage and legislation and the way we will do higher by girls in our society.”

González-López mentioned people develop new, extra nuanced connections with expertise over time. With these steady modifications, González-López suggests becoming a member of a web based neighborhood of native girls. For instance, she mentioned a Mexican neighborhood has a WhatsApp group chat the place girls using the bus can textual content in the event that they really feel unsafe and ask a gaggle of native girls to attend for them on the subsequent cease.

“We have to transcend self-care,” González-López mentioned. “We have to have interaction in collective care and radical care.”

Though COVID-19 pushed Lalwani and lawmakers to advocate for safer on-line mediums, Lalwani says that change will come from elevated consciousness. To start out the dialog, Lalwani plans to current her analysis on the upcoming Affiliation of Web Researchers convention

“The web is meant to be a spot the place everybody feels protected,” Lalwani mentioned. “Many ladies aren’t snug posting or have needed to take safety due to the threats that they obtained. That’s unacceptable. We are able to do higher.”

Enhance privateness in dorms

Renee Yu

Edited in Prisma app with Gothic

Residence halls are sometimes seen because the finest housing choice due to the benefits they provide to college students. For instance, they permit residents to be extra academically engaged due to proximity to assets. UT even encourages freshmen to think about residing in College residence halls, however with the intention to even entice residents, all dorms should be as much as par.

There are presently 15 residence halls on campus. The College claims to “present clear, enticing, secure amenities for campus residents,” however curtains as a substitute of doorways for communal showers is neither enticing nor does it go away residents feeling secure.

The College must renovate residence corridor dorms by altering communal showers curtains to doorways to extend pupil privateness and luxury. 

The truth that some communal showers in residence halls have doorways whereas others have curtains isn’t truthful to college students. Whether or not or not a communal bathe has doorways may rely on the ground inside a selected dorm. This inconsistency creates unequal requirements of privateness. Some college students are involved with this lack of privateness, and if the scenario doesn’t enhance, it may probably flip away potential on-campus residents. 

Enterprise honors freshman Ramya Nambala mentioned the College may very well be discouraging college students from residing in residence halls with the present setup of communal showers.

“(Communal) loos and the dearth of safety inside them makes individuals extra hesitant to decide on that dorm,” Nambala mentioned.

Making a secure and welcoming setting for all college students must be a prime precedence for the College. Present dorm residents won’t really feel safe utilizing communal showers, as college students have cited numerous embarrassing occurrences prior to now. 

“There’s one incident the place I had the curtain closed and somebody needed to test and see if there was any individual within the bathe I used to be in. The curtain was barely open and that was actually awkward. (Bathe doorways) would make issues much more comfy,” Nambala mentioned.

As many as 70% of college college students develop emotions of homesickness. It’s already exhausting sufficient for college students to go away house in pursuit of their research; it shouldn’t need to be uncomfortable too.

Don Ates, director of residential amenities for UT, mentioned the funds constricts sure renovation tasks however that the College has been taking a look at potential methods to extend privateness in dorms due to previous pupil considerations. 

“Anytime we hear any considerations from college students, we take them very significantly. … We at all times search for alternatives to renovate to try to meet pupil wants,” Ates mentioned.

The perfect answer to handle these pupil considerations is with bathe doorways. It must be a precedence to make the residence halls really feel as home-like and safe as potential, so college students really feel comfy staying in dorms. 

With a view to make residence halls extra enticing and cozy for college students, the College ought to renovate dorms by altering communal showers to incorporate doorways. All college students deserve the precise to a secure, comfy and personal on-campus residing expertise. 

DonJuan is a Plan II and economics freshman from Quanah, TX.