Powell: Dewhurst's Remarks "Result of Misinformation"

Chairman of the UT Board of Regents Gene Powell listens to committee reports on Feb. 14, 2013.
Chairman of the UT Board of Regents Gene Powell listens to committee reports on Feb. 14, 2013.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's recent remarks about University of Texas System regents "surely had to be the result of misinformation and were either incorrect or inaccurate," UT board chairman Gene Powell said in a statement on Friday.

On Monday, Dewhurst criticized unnamed regents for their treatment of University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers.

“I believe in reform, and I know Bill Powers believes in reform,” Dewhurst said. “That’s why I’m particularly troubled when I see UT regents go around this man. I see them trying to micromanage the system.”

Dewhurst also insinuated that regents had helped spread rumors about Powers' personal life. “You do what you want to, but you don’t touch families,” Dewhurst added. He didn't elaborate on the content of the rumors.

Following the comments, lawmakers have been preparing to investigate the regents' actions with renewed vigor. House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, and Dewhurst revived a joint oversight committee focused on higher education governance that was initially created in 2011 in response to similar concerns.

In his statement, Powell said he "looks forward to continuing discussions with members of the Texas Legislature on issues that are so important to moving the UT System and higher education in our state forward."

Powell indicated that he and Dewhurst have been in contact about the matter and will remain in contact in the coming weeks.

Dewhurst also released a statement, saying: "Over the last several days, I have had the opportunity to talk with UT chairman Powell, several UT regents and others, and learned additional information and perspectives. That is why I agreed with Speaker Straus to create the Joint Select Oversight Committee so that all sides have a forum to calmly and respectfully lay out the facts."

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