Thousands rally behind UT’s Powers on social media

May 10, 2012
Ralph K.M. Haurwitz | Austin American Statesman

Supporters of University of Texas President Bill Powers, worried that his job might be on thin ice, have rallied behind him by the thousands on Facebook and other social media.

The show of support followed a blog post Wednesday evening by Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka, who cited an anonymous source as saying that Powers might be in danger of being fired by the UT System Board of Regents because of his opposition to Gov. Rick Perry’s call to hold the line on tuition.

Last week, Powers criticized the decision by the regents to reject a proposed tuition increase for undergraduates from Texas at the Austin flagship. The increase had been recommended by a campus advisory panel, Powers and UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa.

By shortly before 11 o’clock this morning, a Facebook group, “I Stand with Bill Powers,” had 9,074 members, and hundreds had posted on Twitter.

UPDATE:

The UT System released the following statement from Cigarroa:

“The chairman of the Board of Regents has never directed me to fire anyone.”

That was apparently a response to a passage in Burka’s blog asserting that the source said Gene Powell, chairman of the regents, had asked Cigarroa “to recommend that Powers be fired” and that Cigarroa had refused.

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