Virginia: A Cautionary Tale for Texas

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors met today to vote on whether to re-instate President Teresa Sullivan, who was forced to resign earlier this month. While President Sullivan was unanimously reinstated during the meeting, the subsequent turmoil after her resignation – prominent resignations, negative national publicity, tensions among faculty, students and alumni, complaints about a lack of transparency – offers another cautionary tale for Texas about the importance of boards and administrators working collaboratively for the good of the institution and student body.

Today, the Coalition issued the following statement viewing Virginia as a cautionary tale for Texas.

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  • Coalition Echoes Call for Regent Hall To Go

    The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education issued the following statement in advance of tomorrow’s meeting of the Texas House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations at which Legislators will discuss the findings of the investigative report into the actions of UT System Regent Wallace L. Hall Jr.:

    “Across Texas we have heard a steady drumbeat of voices echoing the same message: Regent Wallace L. Hall Jr. must go. This is not about politics and it is not about one university – this is about good governance for the entire state of Texas. There are 359 entities to which the Governor of Texas makes appointments or nominations, and there is an appropriate and permissible standard of conduct by which each must abide. The actions of Regent Hall are well outside the scope of permissible conduct. His reckless disregard for what is appropriate, permissible – and perhaps even legal – is not the behavior Texans deserve or expect from their public officials. His continued presence on the board of regents sends a dangerous signal that all appointees are not bound by propriety or law. For the sake of good governance and future leadership of our state, Regent Hall must go now.” 

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  • Higher Education Coalition Calls For Hall's Resignation

    The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education today called on University of Texas System Regent Wallace L. Hall Jr. to resign, citing a comprehensive investigation conducted for the Texas Legislature by an outside law firm, which concludes he has abused his office in ways the Coalition believes are creating a toxic distraction to higher education’s fundamental mission of educating students.
     
    The report outlined a number of potentially impeachable offenses, including “unabated and burdensome requests for records,” “misuse of confidential student information,” “public criticism for UT Austin,” and “obstruction of legislative process,” including pressuring “UT System witnesses to alter testimony provided to the Committee.”
     
    The Coalition issued the following statement calling for Hall’s resignation:
     
    “The job of a regent is to set broad policy and hold administrators accountable, not to create havoc and a culture of intimidation. The primary focus of the Board of Regents right now needs to be on finding and recruiting the very best new chancellor to lead the University of Texas System into a future of continued and increasing excellence. Hall’s presence has become a toxic distraction that is threatening the environment for a chancellor search, creating turmoil on the UT Austin campus and undermining the credibility and integrity of the entire Board of Regents. Rather than put the State of Texas through the spectacle of an impeachment trial that would no doubt bring additional negative national publicity to Texas, Hall should do the right thing and resign.”
     
    The Coalition is comprised of leading Texans with a lifelong commitment to higher education, including former presidents of UT Austin and Texas A&M, former members of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, a former UT System Chancellor, and former university regents and chairmen of the Board of Regents. The Coalition also includes CEOs of Texas companies, numerous business leaders, philanthropists and more than 400 concerned citizens.
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