Governor Rick Perry obliquely addressed the rumors about University of Texas at Austin president Bill Powers Monday night.
As Jennifer R. Lloyd of the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News reported, the topic came up during Perry’s appearance with University of Texas at San Antonio leaders.
Powers has publicly opposed a two-year tuition freeze imposed at UT-Austin by the University of Texas Board of Regents, leading to a report by TEXAS MONTHLY‘s Paul Burka that Powers’s already-fractious relationship with the board may finally reach its breaking point.
Perry restated his support for the tuition freeze while deflecting any implication that the governor himself is behind the Regents’s reported anti-Powers push. Wrote Lloyd:
Asked if he was satisfied with Powers’ job performance at UT- Austin, Perry said it was the regents’ decision.”
“I’ve got a state to oversee,” Perry continued. “I don’t spend all my time focused on one institution of higher learning.”
The governor followed that up with a stronger statement to reporters who joined him at the ballot box in West Austin for early voting Tuesday.
As Robert T. Garrett of the Dallas Morning News reported:
“It’s really kind of interesting,” the Republican governor said. “When Barack Obama, myself, [Lt. Gov.] David Dewhurst, [UT System Chancellor] Francisco Cigarroa and [House Higher Education Committee] Chairman [Dan] Branch are all for not raising tuition, and you’re on the other side of that? [Powers] may be on the wrong side of that issue.”
Perry voted for Mitt Romney, by the way (and was accompanied on the early voting excursion by Lieutenent Governor David Dewhurst, whom he’s endorsed in the Senate race).