Reeve Hamilton, Texas Tribune

Texas Tribune Reporter

Reeve Hamilton has interned at The Nation and The Texas Observer, for which he covered the 2009 legislative session. Most recently, he was a desk assistant at The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. A Houston native, he has a bachelor's degree in English from Vanderbilt University.

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University of Texas
2:02 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Lawmakers, Observers React to Tense UT System Meeting

University of Texas System Regent Steven Hicks listens to a speech at a meeting on May 12, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Longtime employees of the University of Texas System said they could not recall a split vote on the board of regents, which has traditionally settled differences behind closed doors and presented a unified front. That changed on Wednesday, catching higher education observers and even some lawmakers off guard.

The board voted 4-3 — Chairman Gene Powell and another member were absent — in favor of commissioning an external review of the relationship between the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas Law School Foundation, an independently run fundraising organization. 

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University of Texas
2:40 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

UT System Seeks External Review of Law Foundation

The University of Texas System regents voted to continue an investigation of inappropriate employee compensation payments.
Bob Daemmrich

One day after a lawmaker accused University of Texas System regents of engaging in a "witch hunt" aimed at University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers, the board voted Wednesday during a tense meeting to seek an external review of the university's relationship with the University of Texas Law School Foundation.

The arrangement has come under scrutiny since 2011, when Larry Sager, then the dean of the University of Texas School of Law, was asked by Powers to resign. Concerns later surfaced about the foundation's forgivable loan program that some faculty had benefited from, including Sager, who received $500,000.

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University of Texas
3:32 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Three New University of Texas System Regents Named

Gov. Rick Perry announced three appointments to the UT Board of Regents today.
Spencer Selvidge, Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry announced the appointment of Jeff Hildebrand and Ernest Aliseda, along with the re-appointment of Paul Foster of El Paso, to the University of Texas System Board of Regents on Thursday.

Hildebrand, of Houston, is chairman and CEO of Hilcorp Energy Company. Aliseda is the managing attorney of Loya Insurance group and a municipal judge for the city of McAllen. Foster, of El Paso, is the executive chairman of Western Refining Company.

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Higher Education
6:15 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Legislators Honor Beleaguered UT President Powers

University of Texas at Austin President William Powers, on Dec. 14, 2011.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

In the midst of ongoing turbulence between the University of Texas System regents and the leadership of its flagship institution, the Texas Senate and House honored University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers on Monday with resolutions acknowledging his accomplishments and his years of service.

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Education
7:24 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

UT System Approves Four-Year Tuition Guarantee Plan

UT Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell asks the Board to support Chancellor Dr. Franciso Cigarroa at their Austin meeting on May 12, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

The nine academic campuses in the University of Texas System will soon offer four-year guaranteed tuition plans as an option to their students.

At a Thursday meeting, the system's board of regents approved a measure requiring campuses to have the option in place.

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University of Texas
11:20 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Tuition Freezes and Foundations on UT Regents' Agenda

UT Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell asks the Board to support Chancellor Dr. Franciso Cigarroa at their Austin meeting on May 12, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

The relationship between the University of Texas School of Law and an affiliated foundation, which drew headlines over a forgivable loan program, will be again under the microscope this week when the University of Texas System's Board of Regents meets.

Guaranteed tuition plans and tuition freezes are also on the agenda for the regents' two-day meeting, which they will convene Wednesday. 

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Sports
10:33 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Bill Would Require Annual UT vs. A&M Football Game

Tom Pennington via Texas Tribune

A bill that would require the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University to face each other on the football field every year was filed on Monday by state Rep.Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City.

The two flagship universities had a longstanding football rivalry, playing each other every year from 1914 until this past season. That all came to an end in 2012 following A&M's move to the Southeastern Conference.

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Education
3:11 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Texas A&M Announces Plan To Grow Engineering Program

Chancellor of the Texas A&M System John Sharp discusses conference realignment with Evan Smith at TribLive on September 29, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

When Dr. M. Katherine Banks took over as the dean of Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University and vice chancellor for engineering at Texas A&M University System last year, she encountered a few surprises.

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Guns
3:39 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Amid Bills and Debate, Another Campus Shooting

Some argue that allowing guns would improve campus safety
Texas Tribune

News of multiple gunshot victims at the North Houston campus of Lone Star College on Tuesday will likely weigh heavily on the minds of Texas lawmakers as they prepare to consider multiple bills relating to campus safety.

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Education
12:57 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

In Report, University History Departments Face Scrutiny

University of Texas at Austin students pass by the Main Building on their way to and from classes.
Tamir Kalifa, Texas Tribune

At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, three conservative groups — the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the National Association of Scholars and the Texas Association of Scholars — will release a sure-to-be controversial report alleging that the University of Texas and Texas A&M University offer students "a less-than-comprehensive picture of history.”

The report’s rollout is part of a three-day policy orientation by the TPPF, an Austin-based think tank that has been tied to some of the state's most hotly-debated proposed higher education reforms. It signals a renewed push to reconsider the course offerings in the history departments of the state’s public universities, and particularly to boost the number of courses dedicated to the study Western Civilization.

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University of Texas
11:47 am
Thu December 6, 2012

UT System Tackles Issue of Growing Student Debt

UT Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell asks the Board to support Chancellor Dr. Franciso Cigarroa at their Austin meeting on May 12, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

On the agenda for Thursday morning's meeting of the University of Texas System Board of Regents is a discussion on a topic near and dear to the pocketbooks of many students and their parents: student loan debt.

With student loan debt now surpassing national credit card debt, part of UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa's framework for advancing excellence, which was approved in 2011, called for the formation of a task force to study the issue. The task force's report, which includes recommendations on how the system can help ease the burden on students, will be presented at Thursday's meeting.

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Education
6:35 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Coalition Publishes Study Touting Flagship Universities

KUT News

A group that formed in 2011 in response to a prominent push for higher education policy proposals it viewed as misguided released a report on Thursday that makes a case for the value of the state's flagship universities: the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.

The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education report was written by Michael McLendon, a professor of higher education policy and leadership at Southern Methodist University. He previously worked at Vanderbilt University, where he completed much of the work on the report.

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Education
1:30 pm
Fri November 23, 2012

UT-Austin Med School Plans Proceed After Election

First year resident Karthik Mekala, MD, watches Chief Maryam Ayaz, MD, check on a patient at UMC Brackenridge.
Callie Richmond via Texas Tribune

Despite its glowing reputation, Austin has faced a gap when compared with other major metropolitan areas: the lack of a medical school and the cutting-edge research it can provide.

But that gap appears to be closing after Travis County voters approved a five-cent property tax hike this month to help finance a plan to overhaul the region’s approach to health care — including the construction of a research-intensive medical school that will be affiliated with the University of Texas at Austin.

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Education
7:13 am
Tue November 13, 2012

UT System May Construct $100 Million Austin Office

A view towards downtown Austin from the UT Tower.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

The University of Texas System Board of Regents will meet in Tyler this week and consider, among many things, whether to approve the construction of a system office building in downtown Austin that is projected to cost $102,417,000.

The UT System's downtown Austin offices are currently spread across five aging buildings — the oldest has been around for more than 130 years — with mounting maintenance costs. Officials determined that a change was in order. They decided that the best option would be to construct a 16-story building comprising 258,500 square feet of office space and garage capacity for more than 650 vehicles in a spot — close to the state Capitol and the University of Texas at Austin — where two of their current buildings sit.

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Politics
11:18 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Lt. Gov. Dewhurst Shuffles Senate Committee Chairs

David Dewhurst in 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is making some big leadership changes ahead of the 2013 legislative session.

On Thursday morning, his office announced that he was shuffling committee chairs up for the remainder of the interim, appointing state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, to chair the education committee, and replacing state Sen.Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, with state Sen. Kel Seliger R-Amarillo, as chair of the higher education committee.

Both Seliger and Patrick have pushed to lead the education committee since it was vacated by retiring state Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano. 

Dewhurst’s pick indicates his support for school choice legislation, for which Patrick has become an increasingly vocal advocate. The Houston senator recently led an interim committee hearing that focused on the benefits of such reforms, including private school vouchers. In August, he told the Houston Chronicle that "this was the year" to pass laws enacting them, saying it would be "the photo ID bill of this session." At the Republican National Convention, Dewhurst told delegates he looked forward to working with Patrick in passing school choice reform.

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Education
11:44 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Like $10,000 Degree, Perry Tuition Plan May Not Fit All

Texas Science Scholar Wesley Powers, a junior chemistry major from Midland, Texas, works on a 3-hour-long lab experiment at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa, Texas.
Jerod Foster for Texas Tribune

Ashton Curlee, the ambitious daughter of two teachers, received official notification of her acceptance to the new Texas Science Scholar Program at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin on the first day of college.

“It’s a really awesome program,” said Curlee, a native of Monahans. “There’s a lot of good stuff that comes along with it.”

Savings top that list. If Curlee stays on track, maintaining a 3.0 grade point average and completing 30 hours of course work each school year, she will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2016. Instead of paying more than $6,300 per academic year in tuition and fees — the current cost for a regular student — Curlee will pay $2,500 per year.

That adds up to a $10,000 degree, a notion that has taken on grail-like status in some Texas higher education circles as the state struggles to address rising tuition at its public universities.

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Education
10:33 am
Mon September 10, 2012

UT-Austin Announces New Engineering Research Center

KUT News

It has been more than two decades since a Texas university was selected to lead one of the National Science Foundation's prestigious engineering research centers, but the University of Texas at Austin has broken the streak.

UT-Austin has been selected to receive an $18.5 million federal grant over five years to establish and lead a center they are calling the Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Mobile Energy Technologies, or NASCENT. It will focus on developing manufacturing processes for microscopic computing technology that the center's leaders, Roger Bonnecaze and S.C. Sreenivasan, said could lead to foldable laptops and wearable devices.

The NSF's engineering research centers are strategically placed partnerships between the government, academia and industry. Led by UT-Austin, the partners that make up NASCENT include the University of New Mexico and the University of California at Berkeley as well as private companies like Texas Instrumnets, Lockeed Martin and others.

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Texas
5:45 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

A&M Trying to Distance Itself from Shooting Incident

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

A shooting that left three dead in College Station on Monday did not occur on the campus of Texas A&M University or involve members of the A&M community. Yet in headlines around the country, it is being referred to as the "Texas A&M shooting."

With new students scheduled to move into A&M's residence halls on Sunday, this has left the university with a bit of a public relations problem that officials are scrambling to rectify.

"It’s extremely important for us that our new students coming into campus and their families understand that this is a very safe campus," said A&M spokesman Jason Cook. "We truly care about the safety of our students and we have many, many safety measures in place."

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Education
10:50 am
Fri July 27, 2012

A&M's Outsourcing Plans Have Workers Concerned

Callie Richmond for Texas Tribune

When the Texas A&M University System announced that its flagship would gain $260 million in new revenue and savings in the next 10 years by outsourcing its building maintenance, landscaping and dining services, Chancellor John Sharp said the plan was an unprecedented way to raise money in financially struggling higher education.

“Today’s announcement means more money will be available to recruit, pay and retain faculty and researchers,” he said at a news conference on June 21.

But excitement over the plan is not universal. Many people on campus and in the surrounding community are worried and angry. A&M staff members who perform the support services have expressed concern over their future employment. And Bryan-College Station vendors fret that they could lose one of their biggest clients.

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University of Texas
11:15 am
Wed June 27, 2012

When UT Appeared to Be in UVA's Shoes, Many Spoke Out

William "Bill" Powers, Jr., president of the University of Texas at Austin, at Trib Live on April 28, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich for Texas Tribune

On Tuesday, the University of Virginia reinstated President Teresa Sullivan after her forced resignation this month sparked a dramatic outcry. Throughout the ordeal, observers have drawn parallels to Sullivan’s former stomping grounds: the University of Texas at Austin, where she worked for nearly three decades.

For the last year and a half, speculation has swirled about the intentions of some University of Texas System regents. Many feared that those regents — appointed by Gov.Rick Perry — were put in place to implement a controversial set of dramatic policy changes the governor had promoted that some criticized for being anti-academic and overly business-minded. So when Sullivan was abruptly terminated at UVA, apparently over her opposition to her board’s eagerness to push rapid top-down changes, UT observers’ antennas perked up.

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