Turmoil resumes at UT over admissions, records requests

 
The University of Texas System was a battleground over the summer as a legislative panel voted to censure a divisive regent, and President William Powers agreed under pressure to resign next year. The selection of a widely respected new system chancellor, Adm. William McRaven, added to hopes that the controversy might be winding down. University officials confirmed this week that regent Wallace Hall's public records requests, a key issue in the legislative hearings that led to his censure, had continued unabated. And in an Oct. 16 letter to regents Chair Paul Foster, Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, expressed dismay that Hall had asked to examine certain unspecified, "potentially confidential" documents.
 
For nearly a year before his censure, the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations looked into the lengthy, personal investigation Hall had undertaken into UT-Austin under Powers. Powers' supporters called the probe a witch hunt to oust the president. They said Hall bullied staff, released confidential student information and sullied the school's reputation in the process. A preliminary investigation found no evidence of punishable wrongdoing. But additional information provided to system officials reignited concerns over UT-Austin's admissions practices and led the regents to hire corporate investigations firm Kroll Associates to undertake a deeper, independent inquiry. Lawmakers hoped the censure and the launch of the independent probe would tamp down Hall's personal investigations, but they haven't.
 
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Pressure on the Presidents

 
Twenty-eight percent of public four-year college and university presidents say they feel pressure from their governors to conduct their presidencies in ways that differ from their judgment about what's best for their institutions.
 
That is among the findings of the latest snap poll of presidents -- conducted by Gallup and Inside Higher Ed -- on breaking issues. A total of 620 presidents responded to the latest survey. They were assured anonymity, but their answers were grouped by sector. The latest survey was conducted amid the latest push by allies of Texas Governor Rick Perry to force out Bill Powers as president of the University of Texas at Austin, and amid growing debate over the use of climate surveys as one tool to combat sexual assault on campuses. (Powers survived, but in part because he was agreeing to retire anyway, just on his schedule instead of the governor's.)
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Matthew McConaughey, Earl Campbell among UT-Austin alums honored by Texas Exes

 

The University of Texas recognized a handful of its standout graduates and their professional accomplishments Friday night with Distinguished Alumnus Awards. This year’s recipients have represented their school in a variety of places: Hollywood, the football field, a restored state Capitol and beyond. Matthew McConaughey, Earl Campbell and Dealey Herndon were among those honored with the award, which is handed out each year to six people by Texas Exes, the school’s alumni association.
 
McConaughey, who earned his degree in 1993, has emerged as one of the most recognized Texans of today. This year, the actor earned an Academy Award for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. “I met my longest and best friends that I have and still have in my life right here,” he said Friday at the LBJ Presidential Library. “I’ve got three children now, and I would be very honored if they chose to come to this university, so to that I say, hook ’em, Horns.” Star running back Campbell was the first Longhorn to win the Heisman trophy, in 1977. He went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Houston Oilers and the New Orleans Saints. The Tyler native and 1979 UT grad charmed the crowd Friday with jokes and stories about being recruited to play for Texas, his first encounters in Austin and his coaches and teammates.
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Texas A&M selected best for veterans

 
Military veterans-turned-Aggies have made the best possible college decision, according to a ranking of nearly 1,400 colleges nationwide. Red Raiders aren’t too far behind. Texas A&M University in College Station was named the best school for veterans based on 19 different factors by College Factual, a website that crunches data on higher education to provide numerous rankings.
 
This ranking aims “to help veterans and active duty service members to identify colleges that are likely to be supportive of them and their unique needs,” according to College Factual’s website.The factors considered in the ranking include affordability, veteran population, veteran flexibility, veteran policies, veteran resources and overall college quality.
A&M had 1,213 undergraduate students receiving GI Bill benefits at the time the data was collected and participates in all four federal programs that help set the standards for veteran education, according to College Factual.
 
 
 
 
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Three Texas universities in top world rankings

 
World university rankings are out and Texas has some bragging rights. The University of Texas at Austin, Rice University in Houston and Texas A&M University at College Station were listed in the top 200 public and private universities around the world, according to Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings. They ranked 28, 69 and 141, respectively.
 
Last year, Times Higher Education had the same universities ranked at 27, 65 and 159. The University of Texas at Dallas was listed at 188 that year. But there’s also some sobering news. While the U.S. has more universities in the top 200 than any other country, its universities’ rankings have dropped most drastically. And the U.S. is 13th in “bang for the buck,” pointing out what parents and loan-strapped recent grads say often—higher ed is pricey.
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  • Turmoil resumes at UT over admissions, records requests

     
    The University of Texas System was a battleground over the summer as a legislative panel voted to censure a divisive regent, and President William Powers agreed under pressure to resign next year. The selection of a widely respected new system chancellor, Adm. William McRaven, added to hopes that the controversy might be winding down. University officials confirmed this week that regent Wallace Hall's public records requests, a key issue in the legislative hearings that led to his censure, had continued unabated. And in an Oct. 16 letter to regents Chair Paul Foster, Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, expressed dismay that Hall had asked to examine certain unspecified, "potentially confidential" documents.
     
    For nearly a year before his censure, the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations looked into the lengthy, personal investigation Hall had undertaken into UT-Austin under Powers. Powers' supporters called the probe a witch hunt to oust the president. They said Hall bullied staff, released confidential student information and sullied the school's reputation in the process. A preliminary investigation found no evidence of punishable wrongdoing. But additional information provided to system officials reignited concerns over UT-Austin's admissions practices and led the regents to hire corporate investigations firm Kroll Associates to undertake a deeper, independent inquiry. Lawmakers hoped the censure and the launch of the independent probe would tamp down Hall's personal investigations, but they haven't.
     
    Continue reading
  • Pressure on the Presidents

     
    Twenty-eight percent of public four-year college and university presidents say they feel pressure from their governors to conduct their presidencies in ways that differ from their judgment about what's best for their institutions.
     
    That is among the findings of the latest snap poll of presidents -- conducted by Gallup and Inside Higher Ed -- on breaking issues. A total of 620 presidents responded to the latest survey. They were assured anonymity, but their answers were grouped by sector. The latest survey was conducted amid the latest push by allies of Texas Governor Rick Perry to force out Bill Powers as president of the University of Texas at Austin, and amid growing debate over the use of climate surveys as one tool to combat sexual assault on campuses. (Powers survived, but in part because he was agreeing to retire anyway, just on his schedule instead of the governor's.)
    Continue reading

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