Writing in The Eagle, the newspaper for Bryan-College Station, president emeritus Ray Bowen and distinguished alumnus John Hagler charge that A&M regents have “failed the university.” The article appeared on April 21, San Jacinto Day, the most important date on the Aggie calendar. This is the day on which Aggies around the world gather for Muster, a ceremony at which the A&M community honors those who have died in the past year. When their names are read, friends answer “here.” The publication date is no accident. It was a solemn article for a solemn occasion. Read the whole piece, but here’s a sample of what Bowen and Hagler believe:
Our university’s governance began to be corrupted when the governor’s appointment of regents was not primarily based on a candidate’s fiduciary loyalty to the university, on competence and on qualifications, but rather based on their personal and financial relationship with the governor. These practices have been broadly reported in the news outlets of our state. As a consequence, these same regents have cost the taxpayers significant “settlement” sums for regent failures in presidential or chancellor selections. The damage has continued with ill-advised and counterproductive intrusions by both regents and the chancellor into the academic and administrative autonomy of our flagship, Texas A&M University. One chancellor, now departed, even explored combining his office with the presidency of Texas A&M University. A highlight of irresponsibility came when our regents began to implement, in a secretive way, the half-baked proposals of a wealthy oil man and the pseudo think tank misnamed the Texas Public Policy Foundation. No one can be against controlling costs and teacher efficiency. But our university — one of the most administratively efficient and well-regarded universities in the state — should not have been the starting place for this discussion, and our regents failed everyone by rolling over without a peep and facilitating an illegitimate disruption of the university’s sanctioned mission.