UT System Board of Regents

Nicolas Raymond / Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Is this about Bill Powers or UT’s tower?

Tensions between Gov. Rick Perry’s administration and Powers, the president of the University of Texas at Austin, are rising, sucking up legislative time and pitting lawmakers, prominent alumni and higher-education critics against one another in a running argument over politics, rivalries and what a public university is supposed to be.

Liang Shi, KUT News

The Senate Committee on Higher Education held a public hearing on Wednesday about a bill that would limit the power of higher education governing boards in Texas — including the UT System Board of Regents.

The bill comes amid accusations that the UT System’s Board of Regents has been micromanaging UT President William Powers Jr. and the University of Texas.

Bob Daemmrich / Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Simmering tensions between University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers and the UT Board of Regents keep rising: An article in the Houston Chronicle claims Gov. Rick Perry – who appoints the regents – “has communicated through emissaries that Powers should resign to avoid an embarrassing regents vote to fire him.”

Chronicle reporter Patricia Kilday Hart spoke with Texas Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo. Sen. Zaffirini argues that recent several actions by the Board of Regents – a special-called meeting to discuss a sexual encounter between assistant football coach Major Applewhite and an adult student, a sweeping open records request, and the controversial decision to re-investigate financial arrangements at the UT Law School foundation – are designed to “make life miserable” for Powers and lead to his resignation.

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. 

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.

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Update: A leading state lawmaker blasted the University of Texas System Regents yesterday over the group's treatment of University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers.

State House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie) spoke Tuesday during the first meeting of a special panel on higher education governance.

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.

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.

Bobby Blanchard / KUT News

In a move state rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, equated to taking lemons and making lemonade, some members of the Texas House, Senate and UT System Board of Regents are hoping to combine UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville into a single university that touches all major metropolitan areas of the Rio Grande Valley.

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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