In a move that will upend UTD’s policies and administration as we know it, UTD students have voted to leave the UT system.
A referendum was proposed by key Student Government officials as the summer drew to a close. Cries from within the student body to cut ties had always been present in small factions, but recent UT events were able to inspire enough support to justify a campus-wide vote. Wayne Eastwood, a junior mathematics major, was one of these new converts.
“A few weeks ago, as I was browsing my UTD e-mail, I received a Campus Carry update from the Task Force,” remarked Eastwood. “It stated that sole-occupied offices could now be made exclusion zones due to ‘further consideration of policies at other UT System campuses.’ Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I didn’t enroll in these other UT institutions. I enrolled in UTD, and I am not about to let my school bow down to the outside pressures of these anti-Second Amendment dictators.”
Other students became invested in the UTexit movement following the administration change. Past proponents of withdrawing from the System had compared it to a shadowy, quasi-Illuminati group issuing decrees and funding from above. By promoting former President Dr. Daniel to Deputy Chancellor, students reasoned, the Executive Committee were merely trying to keep their power invested in the hands of a Chosen Few.
“They aren’t even giving our new President Benson a chance!” cried sophomore IPE major Rati Cherian. “How can we trust that any of his decisions are even his when Dr. Daniel and the Board are watching from the heavens and pulling his puppet strings, controlling his every move? Our campus will never experience any sort of effective change or progress if the UT System forever monopolizes our leadership and our choices. It’s time to break away.”
Of course, some UTD purists have existed since before these measures and have pointed to some of UTD’s past policies to show how it is distinguished from and should separate from the UT System. One such policy is the Coordinated Admissions Program, or the CAP system, of which UTD is the only UT System school to not participate. Purists insist that this is because UTD understands the value of its own admitted students and does not want so-called transfer students getting an easy ride directly into UTD’s coveted bosom. The absence of the CAP system, according to UTexit advocates, shows that UTD has already made steps to sever ties with the UT System, and the full split is merely a natural progression.
The campaign process was harsh, with the Stay and Go Away camps gathering on either side of the Mall fountains to yell obscenities at the other. The Stay camp was populated mainly by administration, faculty members, and research students, holding buzzword picket signs containing slogans such as “What is wrong with you people?” and “We’re going to lose all of our funding, you idiots!” The Go Away campaign, on the other hand, was composed of school spirit student groups, students that didn’t get into UT Austin, and passing hippies that saw students rebelling against the “System” and wanted to join in. Signs included bumper-sticker catchphrases such as “Free from UT!” and “System? More like Cyst ‘em! (Because cysts are bad.) (Not a lot of words rhyme with system.)” The Stay campaign affectionately began referring to the other side as “UT-Me” while the Go Away campaign dubbed the Stay supporters the “System Sheeple Slaves.”
Voting took place on campus, with students needing Comet Cards to verify their identity. However, since voting took place during the summer, the main voting block consisted of curious incoming freshman present on campus for Orientation. Only 4% of the total student body ended up voting. Nevertheless, the Go Away camp was successful, and UTexit was officially ratified.
Changes were almost instantaneous. Name changes were quickly proposed, such as University of Almost-Dallas and Massachusetts Institute of Technology of the South, but the final decided name was The D University. Meanwhile, the value of UTDollars plummeted, with library printer and on-campus dining prices skyrocketing. Other UT System schools banned transfer students from UTD entirely, crushing the hopes of many an Austin hopeful. Philanthropist donations began to grow stagnant, for the philanthropists were shocked at the University’s direction. Research students burned their lab coats in the streets and drank their sorrows out of test tubes, while some more loyal UTD administrators left for greener pastures. UTexit voters, however, promised that these were merely small sacrifices necessary for the bliss that would come from freedom from the oppressive UT System.
The University quickly began searching for new ways to generate funding. A football program was immediately initiated, but the largest stadium the school could afford was a converted roller derby rink with goal posts made out of tied-together pipe cleaners. The school also opened a curbside lemonade stand along Waterview, with moderate success. In addition, a garage sale was started in order to profit off of now-useless lab supplies, classroom materials, and Stay propaganda items.
Despite these new revenue programs, students continued to suffer. The loss of state funding drove the remaining administration to divert scholarship money to dwindling academic funds, leaving many a student broke. The loss of research dollars led to the cancellation or destruction of many PhD students’ projects, causing a massive line to form between NSERL and the nearest dumpster as prototypes were tossed in the trash. Without the ability to continue to pay construction companies, the ruins of Clark Center remained untouched, a monument to the destroyed interior core of The D University.
Students quickly began to beg for a revote. Early supporters of UTexit were initially resistant to rejoining what they had campaigned so hard to exit, but after realizing that any improvements and recovery would happen long after they had graduated, they eventually caved. However, they proposed one caveat – their lovely name must remain unchanged. Thus, The D University rejoined the UT System, consecrating itself the D of UT.