Advocacy Group Calls for Timely Appointment of Regents

This week marks the end of the allotted terms for regents at several state university systems. At the Texas Tech University System, three regents are winding up their terms Thursday. Friday is the big day for three regents apiece with the University of Texas, Texas A&M University and the Texas State University systems. 

A group of higher education boosters is calling on Gov. Rick Perry to ensure that those regents will be replaced in a timely fashion by well-qualified candidates.

The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education, a group of higher education boosters that formed in 2011 out of concern for the direction Perry and his appointed regents intended to steer public higher education, issued a statement on Thursday calling for the governor to appoint replacements who are "well-prepared, devoted, and conflict-free."

It is likely that the current crop of regents whose terms are coming to end will continue to serve beyond their set end date. Until the governor announces his selections, the expired regents will continue to serve at his will. Ultimately, some of them may even be reappointed.

"There is some concern that the governor could wait until after the session to make appointments and not allow the Senate to go through the normal process," coalition spokeswoman Jenifer Sarver told The Texas Tribune.

The governor's office declined to say when new regents will be appointed or who will be on those lists. But if it happens while the Legislature is in session, the nominees will have to go through the Senate Committee on Nominations and be approved by the upper chamber. If the appointments are made when the Legislature is out of session, the new appointees get a pass until next session.

In 2011, controversy arose after the governor appointed a group of regents to the UT System board that some observers associated with a controversial higher-education reform agenda. It was out of this turbulence that the Coalition for Excellence — which includes a slate of major higher education donors — came together, and the issue of regent appointments is just the latest of many higher education topics that the group has taken on.

"We think that this is important," Sarver said of the Senate's nominations process, "because it’s a time where we can ask questions and understand the values that individuals would bring to the university, as well as the background they have that would equip them to govern these complex and important institutions."

The full list of regents whose terms are coming to an end in 2013, not including nonvoting student regents, is as follows:

January 2013

  • L. Frederick "Rick" Francis (Texas Tech University System)
  • John Field Scovell (Texas Tech University System)
  • Jerry E. Turner (Texas Tech University System)

February 2013

  • James D. Dannenbaum (The University of Texas System)
  • Paul L. Foster (The University of Texas System)
  • Printice L. Gary (The University of Texas System)
  • Richard A. Box (Texas A&M University System)
  • Morris E. Foster (Texas A&M University System)
  • James P. Wilson (Texas A&M University System)
  • William F. Scott (Texas State University System)
  • Trisha S. Pollard (Texas State University System)
  • Charlie Amato (Texas State University System)

May 2013

  • Don A. Buchholz (The University of North Texas System)
  • Gwyn Shea (The University of North Texas System)
  • Jack A. Wall (The University of North Texas System)

August 2013

  • Nelda Luce Blair (The University of North Texas System)
  • Jacob M. Monty (The University of North Texas System)
  • Mica Mosbacher (The University of North Texas System)

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