A letter has been signed by 18 members of the Texas Senate that urges the University of Texas Board of Regents to utilize the attorney general’s office to investigate the law school, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The letter calls the investigation an “unnecessary probe” and a “duplicative review, which targets UT-Austin for the obvious purpose of attempting to discredit its president.”
Five of those who signed the letter are from the Joint Select Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency. All those who have signed the letter are in support of UT-Austin President Bill Powers.
On March 20, the board voted four to three to reassess the relationship between the UT School of Law and Law School Foundation and UT-Austin. The original report was produced by UT vice chancellor and general counsel Barry Bergdorf.
Bergdorf was handed the job of looking into thousands of dollars in forgivable loans administered by the Law School Foundation. Funding comes from private donors to the organization. One of the loans was a $500,000 loan handed out to law school Dean Larry Sager. Sager was forced from his post in 2011.
Some of the regents claim that the report was too easy on UT-Austin President Powers. Powers was the dean of the law school when the forgivable loan program started. The regents who are against the new report include R. Steve Hicks, James Dannenbaum and Robert Stillwell. Their reasoning is that another report would be a waste of taxpayer’s money. The previous report cost $500,000 to produce. They also feel that it will go after the President.
The Senators who signed the letter include the following:
Sens. Eltife, R-Tyler, Seliger, West, D-Dallas, Carona, R-Dallas, Hegar, R-Katy, Zaffirini, D-Laredo, Watson, D-Austin, Nelson, R-Flower Mound, Lucio, D-Brownsville, Estes, R-Wichita Falls, Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, Deuell, R-Greenville, Uresti, D-San Antonio, Nichols, R-Jacksonville, Whitmire, D-Houston, Hinojosa, D-McAllen, Ellis, D-Houston, and Davis, D-Fort Worth.