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Interview: UT President Bill Powers on Job Reductions, Sexual Assault & Campus Climate

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

In late January, President Barack Obama assembled a task force to come up with ideas to reduce sexual assault on college campuses. According to the administration, one in five women is a survivor of attempted or completed sexual violence while in college. President Obama urged members of college communities nationwide to ask their leaders what they're doing about this issue. 

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers recently sat down with KUT's David Brown to talk about campus climate and the current job reductions at the University of Texas.

Listen to the interview in the audio player.

Here are some highlights:

On sexual violence on campus:

"From rape to unwanted touching, we take all of that seriously. It does occur on the campus and It is a very top priority to make sure our campus is as safe as it can possibly be ... When there are incidents people are punished and that also sets a tone. This isn't just something that we're looking on the other way."

His statement on job reductions: 

"The savings come from workforce reduction. That workforce reduction does not mean that there are 500 people on the campus who won't be working on campus anymore.  We have a really large workforce. I'm very confident that we can do this over a period of time with very little disruption. I can't say with zero disruption"

The UT campus climate:

"We're establishing a culture where people are accepted. The campus still has issues that we need to address but the climate on our campus and off-campus is dramatically better than was 10 years ago. I think because our students have come to understand that racial and gender intolerance is not accepted in our society, and we just need to make sure to keep sustaining this culture."

David entered radio journalism thanks to a love of storytelling, an obsession with news, and a desire to keep his hair long and play in rock bands. An inveterate political junkie with a passion for pop culture and the romance of radio, David has reported from bases in Washington, London, Los Angeles, and Boston for Monitor Radio and for NPR, and has anchored in-depth public radio documentaries from India, Brazil, and points across the United States and Europe. He is, perhaps, known most widely for his work as host of public radio's Marketplace. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of moving to Texas full-time in 2005, Brown joined the staff of KUT, launching the award-winning cultural journalism unit "Texas Music Matters."
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