Lawmakers call for transparency from UT Regents
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Texas lawmakers from both the House and Senate are digging into the work of the University of Texas’ Board of Regents.
The Lieutenant Governor has recently criticized UT's Regents, and now a committee on Higher Education is investigating how the board operates.
Click here to read the entire letter sent by lawmakers to the Board of Regents.
Last week, the Joint Committee on Higher Education filed a request under the Texas Public Information Act for a year's worth of communication between the Regents and all university staff from the President down.
The request comes after a series of public disagreements between University President Bill Powers and the Board of Regents.
"There has been witch hunt after witch hunt after witch hunt, to try to remove one of our best presidents in the State of Texas of our universities,” Republican Rep. Jim Pitts said. “I hope that we will be able to end these witch hunts and put this to bed."
The request for information was sent to U.T. Chairman Gene Powell.
The bad-blood between the Regents and President Powers was taken up by the Oversight Committee on Higher Education during a regular meeting on Tuesday.
"The point here is not to create any harm to any particular system, certainly not to our state, and to see if we can calmly and deliberately improve the situation at this one particular system,” Republican Rep. Dan Branch said.
Texas Governor Rick Perry appointed all ten of the current regents.
Last month, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst defended Powers saying he has been a victim of character assassination by some Regents.
"Excellence is very seldom achieved by controversy or by rumor,” Republican Sen. Ken Seliger said. “And to a very great extent, the controversies that go on in Travis County are somewhat lost around the state of Texas."
Committee members say they hope that members of the Board of Regents would make themselves available to speak voluntarily. If not, lawmakers have the power to summon people to testify.