This story was written by Pierre Bertrand, Daily Texan
The two University Democrats members who faced registration bars and potential expulsion from University housing for refusing to take down presidential campaign signs in their dormitory windows have had their accounts cleared and face no disciplinary measures. The University on Thursday temporarily reversed its policy that forbids placing any kind of sign in dormitory windows, freeing the students from any potential sanctions.
The University has established an interim rule allowing the display of signs in dormitory windows, said UT President William Powers in a written statement.
We are very pleased with the decision and even more pleased that the University came to its decision so quickly, said music junior Connor Kincaid who, along with his roommate and cousin Blake Kincaid, a government sophomore, faced disciplinary hearings Wednesday afternoon after refusing to take down a campaign sign they had placed in their Brackenridge Hall window.
We didnt take this personally, Connor Kincaid said. We dont harbor any resentment to the University; we feel vindicated.
A committee will be created consisting of University officials and students to evaluate whether the housing department should keep or change its ruling on signs. The interim rule will stay in effect until the committee submits a report to Powers, said Jeffery Graves, associate vice president for legal affairs.
Juan Gonzalez, vice president for student affairs, will convene the committee, according to Powers statement.
Powers told The Daily Texan that the media attention generated by the issue did not pressure him to change the rule, but brought the issue to his attention.
I felt we ought to revisit and revise what the rules ought to be something I think we should do from time to time, Powers said.
Though the temporary ruling allows signs in windows, all other time, place and manner restrictions on campus still apply.
This was not a matter of whether it was constitutional or not, Graves said. This was a matter of the president asking if this was a good rule. We still want to retain control of the campus.
Zack Hall, University Democrats president, said he is cautious about the future and calls on the University to ensure that political groups on campus be allowed to contribute to the committee process.
Its certainly a victory for students, and its a victory for the freedom of expression on campus, Hall said. Good things happen when the College Republicans and University Democrats work together.
Both student organizations said they plan to continue working together to ensure students rights are not violated by the University. In the meantime, College Republicans intends to continue distributing its political signs, said Ryan Ellis, the groups president.