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Record: 7224 (2/22/2012)

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Note from the Texas Exes

  • Thank You, Texas Legislators

    Dear (name removed),

    An extraordinary event happened at the Texas Capitol on Monday, and as a Texas Ex you should know about it. What started as separate resolutions in support of UT President William Powers in both the House of Representatives and the Senate turned into a groundswell of affirmation and praise for our President and for The University of Texas at Austin.

    In resolutions sponsored by Rep. Dan Branch and Rep. Donna Howard in the House and Sen. Kevin Eltife in the Senate, and emphasized by the determined leadership of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, members of the Texas Legislature spoke in unqualified support of UT-Austin, its role as Texas' flagship public university, and its strong, visionary leader, President William Powers.

    You can take this opportunity to watch the proceedings by clicking here starting at the 7:30 timestamp. You can also read the Senate and House Resolutions, respectively, here and here.

    As Texas Exes, we take great pride in our elected leaders' confidence in The University of Texas at Austin and President Powers. We want publicly to thank them:

    Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst

    Texas Senators who spoke on behalf of the Senate Resolution:

    Hon. Kevin Eltife
    Hon. Kirk Watson
    Hon. Eddie Lucio, Jr.
    Hon. Jane Nelson
    Hon. Rodney Ellis
    Hon. Royce West
    Hon. Kel Seliger
    Hon. Joan Huffman
    Hon. Bob Deuell
    Hon. Robert Duncan
    Hon. Judith Zaffirini
    Hon. John Whitmire

    Texas Representatives who sponsored the House Resolution:

    Hon. Dan Branch
    Hon. Donna Howard

    Thank you, as always, for your support of the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Exes.

    John Beckworth

    Follow on Twitter:

  • Just received my email also. How close are we to losing Powers?

  • JeezGuy

    Thats a much better use of their time then trying to force the Texas-Aggy football game.

  • Wow you guys are quick. Just got mine too.

    This head of steam just keeps building. I am in the "unpopular" camp, but doesn't change the fact that I am a degreed Longhorn. For no greater reason than this thing just doesn't seem to want to blow over, I see something imminent on the horizon.

  • This 'bru-ha' is the political chicanery as instigated by our Gov, Slick Rick, who has not been subtle in his
    mission/agenda to not only denigrate Powers, but, in the process, our entire university...Remember, the Gov
    is a former Aggie cheerleader :)...I am glad to see our Senators & Reps "stepping-up-to-the-plate" to
    squelch this obvious political agenda...there are Perry appointees on our BOR who also are behind this

    Thanks, BB for this post, as there appears to be a "battle" brewing here that COULD prove another
    embarrassing moment for our Gov--no doubt, more is to be revealed in that regard...after his embarrassing
    performances in the Presidential Debates, one would wonder why Perry would take the "political risk" here,
    by appearing as political vendetta...

  • It's not a UT/ATM thing with Perry. It's a he's taken money from people who want to turn both schools in to a diploma mills thing. He's been screwing with ATM arguably more than he has with UT.

  • Don't think Perry sees much value out of a diploma. All he got for his was a white jump suit and, hell, he's now the gubnah of Texas! Who could need more?

  • I don't follow the "diploma mill" argument, in the context of what is going on here.

    Oh, it's those terrible Texas taxpayers that want their University back, that's all.

  • Shouldn't the Master Governator/Debator of the State of Texas be more concerned about the upcoming sunset review of the Texas Haircutter's Commission?

  • UT Austin is the flagship university in the UT system. It should be a world-class university. If you are worried about accessibility there are a number of good UT schools that provide access and are very affordable. If you sacrifice UT's standards and manipulate its curriculum, Texas's brightest students are going to go to leave Texas to attend a better university elsewhere.

  • Thank you for clearing up so many questions about that idiot. I live out of Texas, so I had no idea why he was/is so FUBAR. Now I know. It's not just UT fooball that is in a lull, the govenorship must have hit rock bottom. Wow

  • you should look into it. fascinating from a state political and higher education perspective at a high level, but it's going to screw the value of degrees at the top public universities in this state. every longhorn, aggie, red raider, cougar, bobcat, roadrunner, green eagle, etc should be all kinds of irate over this.

  • Students will leave/not apply after quality professors take jobs out of state.

  • Don't think for one minute that aggies are above "aggifying" their political offices. I used to work for John Sharp when he was Comptroller and he "aggified" everything from maroon manuals to flying the aggie flag instead of the Texas state flag. Once an aggie always an aggie. Responsibility for their office often takes a backseat to their aggieness.

  • Here is an article from the Austin American Statesman, quoted and properly attributed with the link.

    UT president, under pressure from regents, gets support from lawmakers

    By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz and Mike Ward

    American-Statesman Staff

    Bill Powers, president of the University of Texas, has had a rocky relationship with some members of the university’s governing board for a couple of years. On Monday, the Texas Senate showered him with love, while sending an unmistakable warning to the UT System Board of Regents: Stop trying to run off Powers.

    One by one, 12 senators rose to speak glowingly of Powers as a president, teacher, scholar and legislative adviser. But it was the Senate’s presiding officer, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who left no doubt as to the take-away message.

    “You are a good man,” Dewhurst said, his voice breaking with uncharacteristic emotion. “We are lucky to have you.”

    Dewhurst went on to decry “UT regents going around this man” and “trying to micromanage” the university. He said Powers’ detractors have “engaged in character assassination that is unacceptable to members of this body. This man deserves better treatment. This issue is bigger than the University of Texas at Austin. This is about the reputation of the state of Texas.”

    The dramatic moments on the Senate floor came five days after some of the UT regents grilled Powers about the internal workings of the university’s fundraising department, graduation rates and the size of the student body.

    Powers and some of his bosses have also clashed on tuition, compilation of so-called productivity data on faculty members and ties between the School of Law, of which Powers used to be dean, and a foundation that supplements law school salaries. Early this month, the regents began a review of policies regarding inappropriate relationships between employees and students at all 15 UT System campuses after the Austin flagship disclosed that a football coach had such a relationship with a student during 2009 Fiesta Bowl activities.

    UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and regents Chairman Gene Powell said in a statement that that they are “glad to partner with President Powers in building and protecting a university of the first class for the state of Texas.”

    Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said in an email, “The governor is very pleased with the efficiencies and reforms taking place at the University of Texas System and on each individual campus; from increased transparency to offering a 4-year tuition freeze as an option to students, these policies are good for students and taxpayers.”

    Powers appears to have a slim majority of supporters on the nine-member board, but it’s not clear for how much longer. The terms of three regents considered to be in his camp ended this month, but they will serve until their successors, whom Perry has yet to name, are sworn in. It’s also possible that Perry could reappoint one or more regents.

    Speaking to reporters after the senators unanimously approved a resolution supporting Powers, Dewhurst said a “tsunami” of people complained to him about “anonymous letters that may not be so anonymous” concerning Powers and delving into matters that occurred 30 years ago.

    Those letters “were trumpeted, I’m told, by one of the regents and I just think that is a very, very underhanded approach,” Dewhurst said. “You leave your family and staff out of it. I am really mad.”

    The lieutenant governor added: “I’ve never seen a situation where regents go around the president of an organization and are trying to be involved in command and control and offering money without coordination of the leadership of that organization.”

    Dewhurst did not elaborate but said he would have more to say Tuesday.

    His comment about family matters might have been a reference to Powers and his wife, Kim Heilbrun, to whom he has been married for nearly 30 years. She was one of his students, but their relationship didn’t begin until after that, according to well-placed sources.

    Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, who leads the Higher Education Committee, said the Senate is likely to hold hearings on the regents. The Texas House also passed a resolution Monday in support of Powers.

    Leslie Cedar, CEO of the UT Ex-Students’ Association, which has clashed with the regents from time to time in the past two years, said the resolutions testify to Powers’ “fine leadership and broad base of support.”

    This post was edited by BudreauReye 14 months ago

  • Sorry, did not mean to quote the previous post.
    Here is another article from the Austin American Statesman, quoted, properly attributed, with the web link.

    STATESMAN CAPITOL WATCH: University of Texas
    Senate leaders plan hearings on Powers, regents spat

    By Mike Ward

    American-Statesman Staff

    A day after state legislative leaders strongly signaled their support for University of Texas President Bill Powers, Senate leaders on Tuesday announced plans to hold hearings on reports that some UT regents are engaged in a power struggle to push Powers out.

    Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who teared up Monday while publicly lauding Powers during the Senate session, said while the forums for the hearings haven’t been decided — either in separate House and Senate hearings or a joint legislative panel — “there will be hearings.”

    In the past two years, Powers has clashed with regents on tuition increases and the faculty productivity, among other matters, and has faced increasing public questions by a few of them. Powers is thought to hold a slim majority of support on the nine-member Board of Regents.

    “There will be a number of different subjects the Senate and House will want to look into,” Dewhurst said without elaboration.

    Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, said lawmakers want to know whether the regents are going beyond their policy-setting roles and are meddling in administrative and operations functions at the university, which should be Powers’ role.

    “We want to know whether the regents are micromanaging the university to its detriment,” Seliger said.

    He said regents will be called before whatever committee investigates that matter and investigates anonymous letters Dewhurst cited Monday as criticizing Powers and his family. The lieutenant governor said he had been told that those letters were trumpeted by one of the regents.

    Dewhurst and Seliger said some of the allegations involve Powers’ private life dating back 30 years, to a time when Powers was teaching at UT. Powers, 66, has been president of the 52,000-student flagship school since 2006.

    Asked about the letters, the content of which hasn’t been revealed, Seliger said: “We’ll either request or subpoena them when the time comes.” But he was emphatic: “We want to see the letters.”

    Officials of the UT System and the Board of Regents didn’t respond to a request for comment regarding the letters.

    Dewhurst said the investigation could be handled by existing Senate or House committees, a joint committee or a Senate-House legislative panel that worked on higher education issues last year.

    In a statement to The Associated Press, UT spokesman Gary Susswein said: “President Powers appreciates all the support he’s received this week from the lieutenant governor and other lawmakers. The president will cooperate fully with the Legislature as it examines issues related to UT and higher education.”

    Dewhurst said he expects details on the scope and focus of the inquiry to be firmed up in coming days.

    On Monday, the Senate and the House approved congratulatory resolutions honoring Powers, as a show of legislative support for the UT chief.

    In a dramatic and emotional statement during the Senate session, Dewhurst said Powers had been subjected to character assassination that ultimately threatens the state’s reputation. He also questioned whether the regents’ actions are undermining governance of the 15-campus system headquartered in Austin.

    Seliger and other senators said Tuesday that there is active discussion about changing state law to keep university regents focused on policy and to block them from interfering in administrative decisions — even possibly sending to voters a constitutional amendment on the matter.

    “If the regents have a problem with the president of the university who works for them, they can fire him … do it up front, not under the table,” Seliger said, echoing comments from other senators. “Simply making things tough on the president is irresponsible.”

    This post was edited by BudreauReye 14 months ago

  • Glad to see you back, Roger! Where have you been?

  • +1

    "Leadership is wisdom, courage and great carelessness of self"

  • Did you get the Master **********/**bator reference? I hope so. no I thought it might be a bit obscure. See. This is where emoticons come in handy. You know. Watching the Governor ... er ...uhhh ..... Well, you know. no

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by BudreauReye 14 months ago

  • I would be careful in calling them "Texas's" brightest students. That's all. No need to elaborate. Go take a walk around UT.

    If those are the ones that might go find another university, then oh my heart just breaks.

    I think getting the most likely to succeed individuals that were born and raised in Texas into UT would helpful. Wanna know why employers are so tickled with Tech and Aggie grads these days?

    Something is wrong when Tech engineers have jobs before they even walk the stage, and UT engineers don't. It's called the backfire of elitism.

    This post has been edited 3 times, most recently by browncounty 14 months ago

  • Finally, people are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Perry is the problem. He and his co-horts in kind want to belittle our University by continuing to try to underwhelm our President and allow the press and anyone else who will listen to make our University the laughing stock of the Country. Only our governor should carry that Mantle!!!! Let's get the Aggie out!!!!!!!!!!!!biggrin

  • You're really going to have to elaborate. UT is the best public university in the state. Also, you are making my point for me. If you would rather go to a "non-elitist" institution, pay less, and have an easier time being admitted, there already exist a number of schools in Texas that fit that criteria.

  • the moderating on the blue board is complete and utter bullshlt and the sunshine pumping / head in the sand / pie in the sky / thin skin types here annoy me, so when my vip membership expired, i didn't re-up. i still lurk occasionally, but probably only post once a week or so.

  • by the way, there's some good stuff on this over at barking carnival from jesus and the big cigar. worth reading, especially to get a feel for what is going on behind the scenes w/ perry and dewhurst and how it affects ut and the longhorn athletic program.