Shannon Najmabadi / The Texas Tribune | KERA News

Shannon Najmabadi / The Texas Tribune

Shannon Najmabadi is the higher education reporter at the Tribune, where she started as a fellow in 2017. She previously reported for the Chronicle of Higher Education, where she covered the gender equity law Title IX, fallout from an executive order on immigration, and a federal loan forgiveness program with an uncertain future. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

An attendee looks through different types of hoods during a training session on personal protective equipment in Houston.
Mark Felix / For The Texas Tribune

The state of Texas has spent more than $200 million on 106 bulk orders of personal protective equipment from March 1 through early June, according to purchase orders released Tuesday by the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

Bob Daemmrich / The Texas Tribune

The acting head of Texas’ massive health and human services bureaucracy, who is leading a 36,600 employee agency during a global pandemic, is also working a second job as the well-paid general manager of the Lower Colorado River Authority, a quasi-state agency — funded without state tax dollars — that provides water and electricity to more than a million Texans.

Marissa Hudler
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

It’s been more than a month since Marissa Hudler hugged her kids. Fearful of accidentally bringing the new coronavirus home, she and her husband — both health care workers — sent their two sons to stay at their grandparents’ house in March and don’t expect they’ll return for weeks.

A volunteer prepares boxes of food at the Kelly Memorial Food Pantry in Central El Paso, which has served 700 to 1,000 families a day during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emily Kinskey / For The Texas Tribune

When the coronavirus pandemic began, school custodian Crystal Watts was working five days a week, mopping floors, wiping desks and disinfecting every surface that was touched. She didn’t get a mask.

Workers at a mobile coronavirus testing site in Fulton, north of Corpus Christi.
Eddie Seal / For The Texas Tribune

A coastal community with no health department, hospital or urgent care clinics received a welcome visitor Thursday: a mobile testing site that rolled into Aransas County to help screen Texans for the new coronavirus.

A women's health clinic in Texas.
Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

Texas clinics resumed offering abortions Wednesday, after a strict bar on nonessential medical procedures was loosened at midnight.

Annie Mulligan / The Texas Tribune

Weeks ago, Texas officials were scrambling to expand the state’s hospital capacity, seeking out external facilities that could house coronavirus patients and banning all nonessential procedures in an effort to preserve resources. Now, with many major cities saying their facilities seem prepared for the outbreak, some of those restrictions will be rolled back and some backup plans may prove unnecessary.

A women's health clinic in Texas.
Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will allow medication abortions, which involve a patient ingesting pills, to proceed in Texas during the coronavirus outbreak, the latest development in a weekslong legal dispute over state officials’ attempt to ban the procedure in nearly all circumstances as it combats the pandemic.

Greg Fenves has been president of the University of Texas at Austin since 2015.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves is leaving the state’s flagship college for Emory University, where he will become president Aug. 1, he told the UT community in an email Tuesday.

He will depart June 30.

Licensed vocational nurse Ahmad Nejat looks over as he meets with the COVID-19 testing team at the Austin Regional Center testing site in Kyle on March 31, 2020.
Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune

Rebecca Mae had been feeling sick for days when she was sent home from her job as a San Antonio respiratory therapist, and told not to return until she tested negative for the novel coronavirus.


In normal times, an N95 face mask would cost a big corporation a buck or less — particularly if it ordered a million of them.

But these aren’t normal times, and the pitch from industrial supplier Hatfield and Company to sell as many as 2 million masks to a major U.S. oil company last week wasn’t your typical offer. The Texas-based supplier wanted $6.3 million for a minimum order of 1 million masks, with an option of buying 2 million for nearly $13 million, sales documents and interviews indicate.

Exterior of St. David's Medical Center in Austin on March 19, 2020.
Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune

Some Texas hospitals are erecting tents, planning to add beds, and eyeing vacated buildings as overflow facilities while they prepare for what may be a deluge of COVID-19 patients.

Pat Neff Hall at Baylor University
Shelby Knowles / For The Texas Tribune

Nearly a dozen Texas universities announced Wednesday they would extend students' spring breaks and start switching to online classes, joining a swelling group of colleges across the country taking steps to prepare their campuses for the novel coronavirus.

The University of Texas at Austin.
Tamir Kalifa / For The Texas Tribune

Seventeen employees at the University of Texas at Austin, including three faculty members and one research fellow, were found to have violated the flagship's sexual misconduct policies between November 2017 and December 2019, according to a university document released Jan. 9.

From left: Lynn Huynh, Shelby Hobohm and Simon Harry paint a banner for an upcoming protest during their Coalition Against Sexual Misconduct meeting on Dec. 3, 2019.
Eddie Gaspar / The Texas Tribune

With the end of the fall semester looming, University of Texas at Austin administrators continue to face a burgeoning student protest movement over the return to the classroom of two professors punished for sexual misconduct policy violations.

The University of Texas at Austin campus.
Tamir Kalifa / The Texas Tribune

The University of Texas at Austin is investigating financial irregularities tied to a former procurement director who resigned from the system flagship in mid-April and now holds a similar position at the Austin Independent School District.

Texas State Capitol on inauguration day
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

The inauguration of the Texas governor and lieutenant governor — traditionally two days of parties, picnics and parades — has been transformed into a giant payday for campaign staff and fundraisers.

University administrators at a Board of Regents meeting in Austin on April 2, 2019.
Emree Weaver / The Texas Tribune

The University of Texas System approved an across-the-board tuition hike of 2.6% for its eight academic campuses, amounting to a $290-a-year increase for in-state, undergraduate students at its flagship university in 2020 and 2021.

Headshot from website

Texas’ next higher education commissioner will be Harrison Keller, a high-level administrator at the University of Texas at Austin and the founder of recent initiatives designed to improve college readiness and student outcomes. He will assume the post Oct 1.

Laura Skelding / The Texas Tribune

Seeking to make college more affordable, the University of Texas will use some of its oil money to dramatically expand the financial aid it offers to low- and middle-income undergraduates on its flagship Austin campus.

Anita McHaney displays a photo of her beets and carrots. She and her husband stopped farming after learning that they could not sell pickled beets.
Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

In a victory for home cooks across Texas, the Legislature has expanded the state’s definition of the word “pickle,” allowing for pickled beets, carrots and other produce to be easily sold at farmers’ markets alongside pickled cucumbers.

The Houston skyline.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

The interest group representing Texas cities used to be one of the most powerful legislative forces at the Capitol. This session, it has become the GOP’s most prominent adversary.

A heavily wooded area of a property off of CR 4515 near Athens that the owners got designated as an ecolab research area.
Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson

As a former mayor, five-term state senator and champion of limited government, state Sen. Robert Nichols was familiar with the Texas property tax code.

But in 2016, in a visit with a local appraiser, the Jacksonville Republican was surprised to learn there was something strange happening on properties across central Texas.

Raymund Paredes has served as the state's higher education commissioner since 2004.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune


The University of Texas System's building in Austin on Feb. 7, 2018.
Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

Bolstered by booming oil prices, the University of Texas' endowment hit $31 billion in value this summer, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News — making UT's endowment second only to Harvard University's in size among the country's institutions of higher education.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

In the run-up to Election Day, an influential Tea Party group seemed skeptical that a blue wave would wash over the state. But after the votes were tallied, the NE Tarrant Tea Party found that some of its favored candidates had nearly been swept away.

Tamir Kalifa for The Texas Tribune

Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin are the only Texas schools to rank in the top 50 nationwide, according to rankings released today from U.S. News & World report that placed the Houston private school in the 16th spot and UT-Austin in the 49th.