Fri July 11, 2014 2:19 pm By Paul Burka

One of two candidates, both of whom are outstanding choices. They are:

Richard Fisher, the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

or

Admiral William H. McRaven, a 36-year Navy Seal and the UT commencement speaker at June's graduation ceremony.

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Fri July 11, 2014 11:41 am By Paul Burka

I have generally been impressed by UT regents' chair Paul Foster's ability to smooth the waters concerning the Bill Powers controversy. But Foster
was out of line when, a day after the University of Texas System announced that Powers would step down in June 2015 — ending a standoff that many thought would end with his firing — he "lashed out at unnamed outside meddlers." At the regents meeting Thursday Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa also rejected speculation that Powers had been asked to resign because of accusations that lawmakers wielded undue influence in university admissions.

Well, Mr. Chairman, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. You hold a position of immense responsibility, and if you don't want to be criticized, there are plenty of other things for you to do other than assail members of the public for airing their well-founded concerns about the damage this collection of UT regents--one of the worst I have ever seen, I might add--has inflicted upon the university. You are not immune from criticism, and members of the public have every right to make their opinions known to you.

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Thu July 10, 2014 1:12 pm By Paul Burka

My colleague Skip Hollandsworth has written a timely story for the upcoming August issue that was posted online this morning. Titled "Is This the Most Dangerous Man in Texas?" it's about UT Regent Wallace Hall, the impeachment process, and the resignation of William Powers, the president of UT-Austin. Hollandsworth recounts several fascinating moments, including this meeting between UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and Powers:

In the fall of 2013, Cigarroa had Powers come to his office to discuss Hall’s allegations about the admissions process, and according to knowledgeable sources, the exchange turned testy when Cigarroa asked how Pitts’s son had gotten into UT law school. Powers fired back that Cigarroa’s own daughter had received the same consideration when she was admitted into the program. Cigarroa was livid. His daughter was a Harvard graduate who had top grades and a high LSAT score. He stood up and reportedly stepped toward Powers, as if he were going to punch him. The meeting quickly ended.

As I wrote yesterday, Powers is claiming victory regarding the events of the past few days: he will outlast Rick Perry, and he will be on the job during the legislative session. But I would predict that there is more to come on both fronts, for the Regents and for UT-Austin.

 

 

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Wed July 9, 2014 11:38 pm By Paul Burka

UT president Bill Powers has been under pressure from UT regents for months, if not years, but the outcome of the debate over his future is now clear. Powers was the winner, and Rick Perry was the loser.

Powers got everything he wanted:

(1) His chosen departure date (June 6, 2015). Perry wanted Powers gone as early as the Fourth of July weekend.

(2) Powers' term in office will outlast Perry's. Powers will serve through the 2015 legislative session. Perry will be long gone by then, leaving him with no influence on who becomes the next president of UT-Austin.

(AP Image / Ricardo Brazziell)

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Wed July 9, 2014 12:52 pm By Paul Burka

It is with deep regret that BurkaBlog bids farewell to State Senator Robert Duncan. As most readers know by now, Duncan resigned his seat to become chancellor at the Texas Tech University System.

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