Four UT System Regents Call for Special Meeting

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

Amid heightened tensions with state lawmakers, four University of Texas System regents have called for a special meeting of their board, likely to be held this week.

Meetings of the UT System board can be called by the chairman, Gene Powell, or with the written request of three members.   In a recent statement, Powell said he intended to call a meeting in the near future to allow discussion of his controversial request of the attorney general to allow the system to withhold records from lawmakers, who state statute grants privileged access to information at state agencies.

Regents Steve Hicks, Bobby Stillwell, Jim Dannenbaum and Printice Gary beat the chairman to it. They have submitted a written request for a meeting to discuss and take a vote on whether or not to withhold information from legislators.

The regents also have requested a discussion and a vote on authorizing the Texas attorney general to conduct an external review of the University of Texas Law School Foundation's forgivable loan program.

Because the now-defunct program has already been reviewed internally, lawmakers have called the UT System's planned external review "unnecessary" and encouraged regents to save money by using the attorney general's office.

Legislators have also called Powell's request to withhold information inappropriate.

Even before the flap over the records, the relationship between the system and the Legislature was breaking down. House lawmakers recently added multiple amendments to the budget stripping the regents of authority and funding.

 

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