Trinity University Threatens to Suspend Students Who Don’t Social Distance

On Thursday, the 13th, at approximately 4 in the afternoon, Dean of Students, David Tuttle, sent out an email that caused concern amongst many in the student body. Dean Tuttle informed the student population, especially those living on/near campus, how some of Trinity’s new health guidelines will affect the student body.

    The email starts innocently enough with Tuttle reiterating some of the general guidelines such as the TU Health Pledge, who is responsible for enforcing these guidelines, and where to find general procedures and policies. But in this first section, Tuttle also mentions a new way for students to report each other if they are violating the guidelines. The COVID Violation Report will allow students to report other students to the administration anonymously about any “persistent or egregious violations of the policy.” A system that will enable students to snitch on their fellow students, whether genuine or not, would be bad enough, but the system would also make it so the accused would not even be able to know who their accuser is. In an environment of rampant cancel culture, it is more important than ever to allow students not only to know who their accuser is but also to be innocent until proven guilty. The email only gets worse for students and organizations from here. 

    For those in the residence halls and in City Vista, Trinity is installing draconian policies in an effort “to limit exposure.” Students will only be able to “have one guest at a time per room… [and] only guests from the same residence hall are permitted.” In City Vista, it is one guest per apartment unit, and “only guests from within City Vista are permitted.” Trinity is actively telling its students that they are not allowed to hang out with the friends they make outside of their residence halls (where most of their friends would typically come from), and they must have minimal interaction with other students, whom Trinity is inviting back onto campus. 

    Trinity is also applying these very same rules to those having to lease an apartment off-campus, telling them that they must “avoid gatherings that pose a risk” and that the only gatherings permitted are those with the “same guests or house/apartment residents.” This isolation will only make the rates of depression and anxiety plaguing college-age students worse. Depression and anxiety rates in the US have already increased with people being near family, but once students go to Trinity, they will have even less social and physical interaction with those around them. First-year students who have known nothing except living with their family will now be thrust into a world where they will feel the most alone and during one of the most vulnerable periods of their lives. 

    But to make it even worse, Tuttle also states what kind of sanctions there will be for those found in violation of these policies. Students can expect 1 of 3 general punishments: “removal from the residence halls… barring from campus… [and/or] immediate suspension from the university for a minimum for one semester.” A system that will end up punishing students (possibly kicking them off campus) for the egregious crime of wanting to be with their friends. 

    When pressed as to how these new guidelines will affect struggling student organizations on campus, Trinity provided no comment. With this in mind, only the worst can be assumed with the nature of this email. Such an email has sent a message to the students and the student organizations that there will be no social life on campus. Clubs that rely on human interaction to keep members engaged will no longer be able to provide the services they offered to the campus community. These guidelines are telling the Trinity community that they are sacrificing the reason students feel happy and loved at Trinity in order for them to “learn” at Trinity.

    But the worst offense of all would have to be against those living off-campus. With school only a few days away, many students already have leases and are preparing to move or have already moved into their new apartments. With these rule changes, students who would have usually stayed home under the current guidelines are now stuck with having to live with them. Trinity could have announced guidelines such as these months ago and possibly loosened them as time went on, but no, they wanted until the very last minute when many had no other choice but to live with it. Trinity University created stricter guidelines even though San Antonio is no longer the hot spot it once was back in the spring and has flattened the curve enough so that daily new case averages continue to go down.

When pressed for comment and clarification on how these policies will be applied in specific scenarios, Trinity University also provided no comment. Examples included: attending off-campus religious services, attending off-campus social events, giving another student a ride, how will these guidelines affect Greek Life, etc.

It appears to the Trinity University administration, the only way to ensure a “successful” semester is to kill the social life on and around campus and to enforce this through highly authoritarian means. Even going so far as to encourage students to report those they ordinarily would have become friends with. There is still no mention of what will happen if students refuse to report each other, but one thing is for certain, Orwell must be rolling over in his grave.

Breaking: Trinity Shuts Down in Face of Coronavirus

Trinity University administration announced that “all classes will be canceled March 16-20” and that beginning March 23 “the University will transition to synchronous remote teaching online.”

BREAKING NEWS

In an email sent out to students, parents, and staff on Wednesday, Trinity University administration announced that “all classes will be canceled March 16-20” and that beginning March 23 “the University will transition to synchronous remote teaching online.”

This comes after several weeks’ worth of news about the spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States. 

Currently, all known cases of coronavirus in San Antonio are being held in quarantine at Lackland Airforce Base and there are no known cases of Trinity students being infected.

“This decision was not made lightly,” University President Danny Anderson explained in the email. “Making this decision now will provide the most orderly transition and protect our Trinity family from potential exposure to the virus.”

He explained further that since many students have traveled internationally during Spring Break, “social distancing” seems to be the best strategy for campus safety. “Experts tell us that this illness has the potential to spread quickly, and social distancing appears to be one of the most effective ways to slow the virus’s advance,” Anderson said.

Over the coming weeks, students will be allowed to return to their dorms to collect their belongings before heading home. However, if one is unable to go back home, exemptions can be made.

We will continue to update as more information becomes available.

The Darsch Report: February 24 to March 2

Coronavirus in San Antonio, sanctuary cities for the unborn, and new laws to distinguish pot from hemp.

San Antonio Coronavirus

Health officials in Texas have now confirmed three new cases of coronavirus in San Antonio, bringing the total number of cases up to six. Health officials are also waiting on four additional test results from people who are showing signs of the virus.

All of the infected people, including one evacuee from Wuhan, China, are currently being held in isolation at the Texas Center for Infectious Disease. Officials say the quarantine for this group will stop around March 2nd, as after exposure, it takes two to 14 days to potentially become symptomatic.

Despite the rise in infections, authorities are urging the general public not to overreact to the threat the virus may pose to the local community.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg says, “Let’s be clear. The most dangerous, damaging infectious disease is hysteria. And so, what we’re trying to do is make sure that we have a compassionate, human response to a crisis that’s happening, that we do so while all the while maintaining the safety of the public.”

With these cases, the total number of cases in the US jumps up to at least 53.

ACLU vs Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn

On Tuesday the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against seven Texas towns that have declared themselves “sanctuary cities for the unborn.”

The ACLU is filing the challenge on behalf of the Texas Equal Access Fund and the Lilith Fund, stating that the ordinance is unconstitutional for violating the “right to abortion” and the organizations’ “First Amendment rights,” says Anjali Salvador, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas. The ordinances label the two organizations as “criminal organizations” and ban from offering services, renting or buying property or having a presence in the cities.

“Under these local laws, our clients cannot speak up about abortion rights, recruit volunteers to help them do their important work, or congregate to share informational materials in these cities without worrying about getting sued,” Salvador says. “The laws intentionally and unconstitutionally obstruct our plaintiffs’ ability to do their jobs, impeding the advocacy work that is integral to their mission.”

In a statement, the Pro-Life group Texas Right to Life called the ACLU’s lawsuit “scattershot,” “desperate” and “baseless,” and accused the plaintiffs of “throwing a hodgepodge of complaints at the court and seeing what they can get to stick.” 

“We are confident the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances will hold up in court… In passing the ordinance, cities acted within their constitutional rights to self-governance and within the scope of current U.S. Supreme Court abortion jurisprudence,” Texas Right to Life stated.

California Lottery Shortchanges Schools

California state officials released a scathing audit of the California Lottery this week, alleging that the agency shortchanged schools by millions of dollars over the last four years and recommending that most of the money be repaid.

State Auditor Elaine Howle stated that the California Lottery failed to provide $36 million that should have gone to education in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018.

“The Lottery has not followed state law, which requires it to increase its funding for education in proportion to its increases in net revenue,” State Auditor Elaine Howle wrote in a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature.

However, the auditor originally determined that the lottery should have provided $69 million more to education but reduced the amount to $36 million after hearing an explanation from lottery officials.

The California Lottery is designed so that 34% of sales revenue to go to schools and administrative expenses are capped at 16%, but a smaller percentage is allowed to go to education as long as lottery managers use “best practices.”

Lottery Director Alva V. Johnson disputed that the agency has shortchanged schools, saying he and the auditors have a “fundamental difference of opinion” over how to interpret the California State Lottery Act and the 2010 change in the law.

US Economy

The stock market had a terrible time this week with massive drops in many sectors of the stock market. The Dow Jones decreased to 25,409.36 on Friday, decreasing by -2,551.44 points, or -9.13 percent compared to its February 21st close of 28,992.41. The S&P 500 decreased by -271.67 points or -8.42 percent on Friday. In addition, the Nasdaq increased on Friday by -7.09 percent.

The stock market plunge comes on the heels of reactions to how coronavirus is affecting life both in and outside of China. With China shutting down major industrial areas to contain the infection, global supply chains relying on Chinese goods will suffer shortages and with the virus spreading globally consumers will be less likely to spend money in an effort to avoid areas where they might catch the disease.

Bexar County Weed

Last year Governor Greg Abbot signed into law a bill that made industrial hemp legal and ushered in a new definition to distinguish the material from the drug. The new law has prompted a need for new equipment to tell the difference between the two substances after the law inadvertently made it difficult to press charges in some marijuana cases.

Months later, Bexar County’s crime lab may become the first in Texas accredited to test the difference between hemp and marijuana.

The Bexar County Criminal Investigation Laboratory has submitted its new procedures to the American National Standards Institute, the agency that oversees national accreditation for forensic testing.

“The goal is to be the first in Texas to go online,” said Brian Cho, a forensic scientist who helped develop the new procedures. “An individual has been assigned to go over our documentation to verify our procedures and our data.”

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who toured the crime lab Tuesday morning, said he was impressed by the new testing and excited for Bexar County to be among the first labs in the state to be accredited in the new procedures.