Posts Tagged ‘University of Texas’

Bill Powers to Step Down as UT President in June 2015

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Evidently the Board of Regents accepted Bill Powers counteroffer, as he will stay on as UT President through June 2, 2015. (Previously.)

If you’re still unclear on why Powers should go, here are ten reasons he should step down.

UT Scandal May Pull Down President Bill Powers

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Evidently the slow-burning University of Texas admissions scandal will finally cost President Bill Powers his job. “UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa has told Powers, 68, to resign before Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Regents or be fired during it.”

I doubt Powers counteroffer to step down in 2015 will be accepted. (I do wonder what makes Houston Chronicle writer Benjamin Wermund proclaim that Powers is “widely supported by students”? Has he seen polls on Powers popularity on students? (Online petitions don’t count) I would think they would be more concerned with lowering tuition costs than support a President resisting calls to lower them.)

Which is not to say that Powers backers are giving up. Instead, they’re lashing out at the board of regents:

The more angry and indignant among the petition signers seem to think some organized debate about UT and its president is going forth, and that their champion is, unfairly, of course, getting the worst of it. It would be an odd thing to think. There isn’t anything like a public debate about Bill Powers going forward. There’s rancor and division — nearly all of it coming from the side that professes to despise rancor and division, the Powers side.

The admissions scandal has been building for some time on Powers’ watch. (Nor is it the only problem under Powers.) Instead of investigating it and fixing the problem, Powers decided the best move was to have his political friends attempt to impeach regent Wallace Hall in order to quash his investigation while Powers’ supporters launched an Astroturf campaign on his behalf that’s included no end of MSM editorials praising Powers while attacking Hall and Governor Perry for daring to hold him accountable.

The university academic complex evidently believe that they’re a special kind of hothouse flower that should be immune to all political pressure, with a right to public funding but not to public accountability. Powers has constantly resisted calls to make college more affordable, and to be more accountable to the Board of Regents who oversee his work and the state government that pays his bills.

It seems that Powers will be the latest official to learn that pride goeth before a fall.

Wallace Hall Followup: Dan Patrick Win = Witchhunt End?

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

The witchhunt against UT regent Wallace Hall for uncovering cronyism and favoritism in UT admissions may be coming to an an end, thanks to Dan Patrick’s decisive win the Lt. Governor runoff. Patrick has constantly supported Hall in his investigative efforts and condemned the attempt to impeach him.

The effect of Patrick’s statement was immediate. The next day, a legislative committee that had met to draft articles of impeachment against Hall failed to do so. Several members of the committee were quoted saying that it would take a while. Others expressed hope that the Travis County District Attorney would, basically, take the case off their hands.

The piece goes on to note that it is unlikely for Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (who is up to his eyeballs in the scandal) to call a special session just to consider the impeachment of a regent who earns no salary. That would put off a House vote to send the formal charges of impeachment to the senate until next year, when then Lt. Governor Patrick, who controls the Senate agenda, would have numerous tools to delay or kill consideration of the impeachment charges.

In other Wallace Hall/UT Scandal news, the Dallas Morning News published an editorial by Joe Straus ally Charles Matthews in which he tut-tuts the scandal, saying “nothing to see here.”

Says Matthews: “A review has already been conducted by the UT system. After a nine-month inquiry, the report released to the public ‘did not uncover any evidence of a systematic, structured or centralized process of reviewing and admitting applicants recommended by influential individuals.’”

Translation: We’ve investigated ourselves and found ourselves innocent! At least in “the report released to the public,” which seems and awfully specific formulation. (And how about non-”systematic, structured or centralized” abuse?)

The biographical blurb on Matthews states that “Charles Matthews, a Dallas resident, is former vice president and general counsel of the Exxon Mobil Corp.” But the editorial fails to note that Matthews was the University system chancellor from 2005-2010 (i.e., at least some of the scandal presumably occurred on his watch), which would seem to be fairly important information for readers to judge his impartiality.

Also, Hall has threatened to sue one of his legislative critics for making false statements about him…

UT Tries to Screw Objectivist Student Group

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

This is almost a non-story, but since I stumbled across it, and it takes place at my alma mater, and I possessed intimate knowledge of Objectivism during my college days, I thought I’d mention it.

Basically, UT has money available for chartered student groups, the UT Objectivist group applied for money to host a debate, and the UT Events board turned them down without telling them why.

UT Objectivism Society applied for funding support from the student-led Events CoSponsorship Board (ECB) for a planned on-campus debate. Titled “Inequality: Should We Care?,” the discussion was set to feature Yaron Brook, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute, and James K. Galbraith, a UT professor and director of the University of Texas Inequality Project. ECB itself is funded wholly by student activity fees, to the tune of $70,000 per year—all of which is spent supporting the programming of various student organizations. The UT Objectivism Society applied for $1,920.64 in funding to support the event…In March 22, however, ECB emailed UT Objectivism Society president Jonathan Divin, informing him that ECB “is unable to fund UT objectivism Society at this time.” Divin responded, asking if ECB could provide any explanation as to why the group’s request for funding was denied. Troublingly, ECB replied only: “Unfortunately, ECB is unable to disclose any information regarding the deliberation process whether or not an event was funded.”

Enter the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has frequently taken up first amendment and equal rights causes on campus. So they sent a letter, UT went “Yeah, we should be more transparent,” then said the reason the Objectivists were denied money was because the fund was already out of money. And they promised to do better.

Assuming UT follows through, we’ll count that as a tiny win for fairness and transparency…

Cronyism Lowering the Bar at UT Law

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

For an example of how the cronyism scandal Wallace Hall uncovered is harming the University of Texas, take a look at UT’s law school.

According to Erik Telford: “Only 59 percent of its graduates passed the most recent Texas Bar Examination, placing UT dead last among Texas’ nine law schools despite it being by far the most highly regarded school of the nine.”

Speaker Joe Straus and two of his top lieutenants in the Texas House, Reps. Dan Branch and Jim Pitts, sent more letters to the president of the University of Texas on behalf of applicants than anyone else whose correspondence was included in a recent inquiry into admissions favoritism.

Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa’s office recently reviewed 86 “recommendation” letters, almost all of them from lawmakers, sent to UT President Bill Powers instead of through the proper channels.

In addition to Straus, the Fox piece fingers Democratic State Senator Judith Zaffrini (who is on the higher education committee) as one of the biggest cronyism abusers, and one who was not shy about sending letters for well-connected applicants. Telford:

Of the 90 UT Law School graduates who have failed the bar exam twice in recent years, 12 — or 13 percent — came from Zaffrini’s hometown of Laredo, which comprises less than 1 percent of the state’s population. It’s a suspicious correlation, as previous investigations of Zaffrini found that the senator has attempted to use her political clout to skirt the admissions process at least three times in the past. Six more double-flunkers have connections to Straus’ political machine.

While Zaffrini and Straus may possibly have muscled several of their unqualified hometown cronies into their state’s flagship public law school, many other state lawmakers appear to have snuck their children and employees through UT Law’s back door. The sons of Zaffrini, State Sen. John Carona and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts each graduated from UT Law and promptly failed the bar exam three times, as did the chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego [Democrat], and State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez [Democrat], who attended UT Law while serving in office.

Carona was defeated by Don Huffines in March, and Dan Branch is about to be retired by Ken Paxton. It is the likes of Straus and Zaffrini who should be removed from public office for participating in the scandal, not Wallace Hall for exposing it.

Texas House Transparency Committee Votes in Secret to Impeach Wallace Hall

Monday, May 12th, 2014

The Texas House Transparency Committee voted to impeach University of Texas regent Wallace Hall.

Hall’s case will go to the full Texas House of Representatives. If a majority of the members of the House approve of the case’s merits, it will go to the Senate, where members will convene as a court to make a final decision. If the Senate concurs with the committee’s recommendation, Hall will be the first non-elected official to be impeached in Texas history.

His crime? “Hall’s unreasonable and burdensome requests from records and information from UT Austin violated, and continue to violate, the Texas Education Code, the Texas Penal Code, the Board of Regents Rules and Regulations, and the best interests of the [UT System].”

Translation: Hall found evidence of our sacred system of kickbacks and cronyism, and we’ll never forgive him for that.

The Wall Street Journal: Hall “asked uncomfortable questions about lawmakers getting special favors at the state-funded school and has become a political target…Hall’s real offense has been to expose a cozy and possibly corrupt relationship between politicians and the university.”

Michael Quinn Sullivan:

That targeting, of course, has been handled by Speaker Joe Straus’ falsely named “transparency” committee co-chaired by Dan Flynn and Carol Alvarado. The committee has operated like a witch hunt, denying UT Regent Wallace Hall the ability to defend himself while impeaching his character.

Recent revelations that the committee’s “report” (created by an outside counsel chummy with the corrupt university administration) contained out-right lies should be enough to cause lawmakers to impeach not Wallace Hall but the members of the committee!

As Tony McDonald wrote several days agoo, Dan Flynn is trying to weasel out of his responsibility for the cover-up only after his committee’s work product was shown to be a fraud.

Sullivan also fingers the politicians most responsible for the with hunt as David Dewhurst, Dan Branch and Joe Straus.

TPPF’s Tom Lindsay:

For exercising his right and duty to request information of one of the universities he is entrusted with overseeing, Wallace Hall now faces impeachment and possibly jail. The biggest losers in all this are Texas college students, their parents, and taxpayers. This vote is a powerful deterrent to future efforts to ensure transparency in government, and therefore directly contrary to the best interest of our public higher-education system.”

The cockroaches and worms hate it when you pick up the rock they’re hiding under…

Hope You Didn’t Want To Do Anything in Downtown Austin This Week

Monday, April 7th, 2014

This week, UT’s LBJ Presidential Library is having a three-day Civil Rights Summit commemorates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For this they’ve managed to snag four different past and present U.S. Presidents:

President Barack Obama will deliver the keynote address at a Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, April 10, 2014….President Obama will be joined by three former Presidents who will also deliver remarks at the Civil Rights Summit: Jimmy Carter will speak on April 8; Bill Clinton will speak on April 9; and George W. Bush will speak on April 10.

That’s a real feather in the cap for the LBJ Library and whoever arranged the summit, but it’s likely going to mean a huge pain in the ass to anyone who wants to do something in Austin when Obama comes to town. Obama’s over-protective security detail usually bring traffic to a complete standstill wherever he goes. I don’t know his schedule, but if he comes in and leaves Thursday, expect everyplace from the airport up to about 35th street to be all bit impassable for much of the day.

Better pack a lunch…

LinkSwarm for December 27, 2013

Friday, December 27th, 2013

A lazy LinkSwarm for the last Friday of the year:

  • ObamaCare Will Be Repealed Well In Advance Of The 2014 Elections. Well, that would be the logical thing to do. But logic isn’t a strong point for Democrats…
  • Affordable Care Act isn’t.
  • Via Instapundit comes another New York Times piece designed to make you hate everyone in NYC.
  • Speaking of the New York Times, it admits its reporters are clueless about guns. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • A&E blinks. Or, to put it another way, GLAAD was just as successful boycotting Duck Dynasty as they were boycotting Chik-Fil-A.
  • I see this as the start of a great reality show: Piers Morgan Gets Seriously Injured:

  • Why are UT and A&M given their official Imprimatur to an anti-Israel boycott group?
  • Austin American Statesman puts 110+ year-old “Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus” letter behind their paywall.
  • The Weekly Standard on Ambrose Bierce.
  • LinkSwarm for August 23, 2013

    Friday, August 23rd, 2013

    Another Friday LinkSwarm on Friday, to make your Friday seem more like Friday:

  • Why work when welfare pays better?
  • Europe’s Jews fear that their days are numbered.
  • Ted Cruz: traitor to his class. From the number of MSM attacks on Cruz, they obviously see him as the biggest threat to derail Hillary’s coronation in 2016.
  • And since there was a little mini-boomlet of “Ha, conservatives must hate that Cruz’s given name is Rafael!” stupidity from the leftosphere, here’s a video that reminds you that Ted Cruz’s father Rafeal is all kinds of awesome as well:

  • Surprise, surprise, surprise! Greece will need another bailout.
  • Hospital called LICH just can’t seem to die. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Well, this is lovely: The Department of Homeland Security employees a black supremacist preparing for a race war against white people and gays.
  • Forced sterilization of “mental defectives” returns to the UK.
  • Dear Jeff Bezos: Maybe the Washington Post could make more money if they didn’t alienate half their potential audience by hyping anti-Republican witch hunts.
  • Fail to wear a veil when you leave the house? That’s a dismembering.
  • “Bradley Manning Is Not a Woman. Pronouns and delusions do not trump biology.”
  • Foreign aid is destructive.

    To improve the socio-economic development of Africa, the continent desperately needs private innovations, empowered by rule of law and an ambience of free enterprise, free of restrictive government regulations.Economic growth and development is indeed a vital ingredient towards achieving prosperity and a free society. However, it takes a spontaneous market driven approach without state interventionist barriers to achieve the noble aim, not foreign aid.

  • Remember folks: Partisan redistricting is perfectly constitutional. And Texas Democrats of it were masters of it for decades.
  • Sears posts $194 million loss. In other news, Sears is still in business.
  • Basketball statistician kills himself, and leaves behind meticulous suicide website explaining why he did it. One reason (among many others): “Economic collapse is inevitable (see U.S Financial to the left). The United States’ annual debt and cumulative deficit is way beyond the “out of control” label usually associated with it. It’s spiraling into oblivion and it will take society with it. Today the deficit is $16.9 trillion dollars with another $125 trillion of unfunded liabilities such as social security, medicare, prescription drug and federal pensions. It’s hopeless.”
  • What happens when rats have all their food needs met and are allowed to breed without restrictions? Social death followed by physical death. Though usually interpreted as an indictment of overpopulation, it could just as easily be about the the pitfalls of a purposeless life…
  • State Rep. (and Appropriations Committee chair) Jim Pitts will not seek reelection. Pitts, one of Speaker Joe Straus’ allies, recently was accused of seeking preferential treatment of his son at UT law school. Pitts was also one of the legislators pushing for…
  • The Impeachment of UT regent Wallace Hall for the crime of actually investigating wrong-doing, such as the law school slush fund.
  • Federalist Society Symposium at UT Featuring Ted Cruz

    Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

    Attention UT students: The Federalist Society is having a Symposium Friday and Saturday, March 1-2 at UT on the subject of the federal Leviathan state. Ted Cruz will be the keynote speaker at BBQ on Saturday, and other legal heavy hitters includes Jeremy Rabkin and Richard Epstein. If you’re a UT student (or just interested in the subject) I’d encourage you to attend.