Higher Education Debate in Texas: A Timeline of Key Events*

*Each date links to a relevant article or document. Updated June 16, 2016

1979

OCTOBER 4, 1979: University of Texas (UT) at Austin President Dr. Peter T. Flawn writes Widget Theory for Higher Education; uses satire as a warning against treating higher education as a business

Widget Theory of Higher Education

2007

OCTOBER 1 – NOVEMBER 27, 2007: Process to replace Dr. Robert Gates as president of Texas A&M University (TAMU) is questioned; system of “shared governance” championed by Gates discarded by TAMU Board of Regents

Alliance for Texas A&M Article

DECEMBER 7, 2007: Following controversial selection process, Dr. Elsa Murano named the sole finalist for President of TAMU

Houston Chronicle Article

2008

MAY 21, 2008: Governor Perry convenes Higher Ed Summit led by the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) and for-profit educator Jeff Sandefer; “seven solutions” introduced

Texashighered.com

JULY 30, 2008: TAMU System Board of Regents pushes “seven solutions”

“Seven Solutions” Document

2009

JUNE 14, 2009: Murano resigns as President of TAMU

The Eagle Article

2010

SEPTEMBER 2010: TAMU releases red and black report measuring faculty against each other based on revenue generation

Texas Tribune Article

SEPTEMBER 1 – DECEMBER 1, 2010:
Association of American Universities speaks out against red and black report and “seven solutions” and rebukes TAMU

Texas Tribune Article

2011

FEBRUARY 1, 2011: Governor Rick Perry appoints Alex Cranberg, Wallace Hall, Jr. and Brenda Pejovich (TPPF Board Member) to the UT System Board of Regents

American Independent Article

FEBRUARY 24, 2011: During a hiring freeze, former TPPF Fellow Rick O’Donnell was hired as senior advisor to the UT System

San Antonio-Express News Article

MARCH 12, 2011: New Chair of the UT System Board of Regents, Gene Powell, backtracks from controversial “Bel-Air” comments over university quality; assures that “one size doesn’t fit all”

Texas Monthly Article

MARCH 14, 2011: Prominent UT Alumnus, Gordon Appleman, sends wide-spread letter warning of the “degradation of UT”

Texas Tribune Article

MARCH 16, 2011: UT System Board of Regents chairman reassigns O’Donnell to UT System chancellor following inquiry by Texas State Senator Judith Zaffirini

Texas Tribune Article

MARCH 24, 2011: Texas Exes president issues call to action to alumni; warns of threat to core values

Houston Chronicle Article

APRIL 6, 2011: UT Task Force visits Arizona State University

The Horn Article

APRIL 8, 2011: UT Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee unanimously adopts resolution stating ‘unreserved confidence’ in Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa’s leadership, following controversial hire of UT System advisor whose job description mirrors the Chancellor’s duties

Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee Resolution

APRIL 13, 2011: UT Austin student body president responds to Arizona State University visit in an open letter to students

Texas Tribune Article

APRIL 20, 2011: O’Donnell fired following public scrutiny over hiring process and his controversial positions

San Antonio Express-News Article

APRIL 21, 2011: Texas Exes Board of Directors unanimously adopts resolution supporting UT Austin President Bill Powers

Austin American-Statesman Article

APRIL 29, 2011: TPPF’s Ronald Trowbridge launches higher education attack

Texas Tribune Article

MAY 2, 2011: Amid rumors about President Powers’ future, current and past chairs of the Development Board of UT Austin write Chairman Powell and the UT System Board in support of President Powers

UT System Board of Regents Letter

MAY 3, 2011: Group of 22 TAMU Distinguished Alumni send open letter opposing the “seven solutions”

Aggie Network Article

MAY 6, 2011: Texas Legislature creates Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency

Proclamation

MAY 24, 2011: TAMU System Board of Regents chairman sends letter to faculty reinforcing the importance of teaching, research and service

Texas Tribune Article

JUNE 14, 2011: UT Austin Dean Randy Diehl issues report highlighting the impact of liberal arts education

Texas Tribune Article

JUNE 16, 2011: Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education (Coalition) is founded

Coalition News Release

JULY 1, 2011: TAMU System Chancellor Mike McKinney steps down

Texas Tribune Article

JULY 6, 2011: UT Austin debunks “seven solutions” with Maintaining Excellence and Efficiency at The University of Texas at Austin report

 

UT System News Release

Coalition Responds

JULY 8, 2011: Prominent UT philanthropist, Kenneth Jastrow II, calls on Chairman Powell to support President Powers

The Alcalde Article

JULY 14, 2011: Fired UT System Advisor O’Donnell releases report labeling faculty as “coasters” and “sherpas”

Texas Tribune Article

Coalition Responds

AUGUST 3, 2011: Governor Perry announces creation of Western Governors University Texas

Gov. Perry’s News Release

Coalition Responds

AUGUST 17 – SEPTEMBER 6, 2011: John Sharp appointed Chancellor of TAMU System; touts importance of research and teaching

Biography of John Sharp

Coalition Responds

AUGUST 25, 2011: UT System Board of Regents unanimously approves Chancellor Cigarroa’s Framework for Advancing Excellence

UT System News Release

Coalition Leader Addresses Board of Regents

SEPTEMBER 21, 2011: First hearing of Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence, and Transparency

Alliance for Texas A&M Article

Coalition Members Provide Testimony

OCTOBER 12, 2011: Young Texans for Excellence in Higher Education and Our Degrees Matter launch

Coalition News Release

OCTOBER 17, 2011: Second Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence, and Transparency hearing

Alliance for Texas A&M Article

NOVEMBER 14, 2011: An analysis of Faculty Instructional and Grant-based Productivity at The University of Texas at Austin report finds UT Austin faculty highly productive

UT System News Release

2012

JANUARY 17, 2012: Richard Vedder launches attack on higher education

Houston Chronicle Article

FEBRUARY 15, 2012: UT Austin releases Task Force on Undergraduate Graduation Rates report

UT System News Release

Coalition Responds

FEBRUARY 15, 2012: Amid declining state support, TAMU President Dr. R. Bowen Loftin proposes tuition increase at TAMU to fill in gap

Texas A&M Battalion Article

MARCH 2, 2012: Coalition convenes higher education leaders for status update with founding members

Founding Members Meeting Key Outcomes Document

APRIL 9, 2012: President Loftin expresses support for tuition increases at the TAMU Faculty Senate meeting

Texas A&M News Article

APRIL 21, 2012: Coalition members Dr. Ray Bowen and Jon Hagler criticize TAMU Board of Regents for “failing to protect the university”

Contributed Article

MAY 2, 2012: TAMU President Loftin reverses position on tuition increase, declines to request one from Board of Regents

The Eagle Article

MAY 3, 2012: UT System Board of Regents declines UT Austin tuition request and decides on two-year, in-state tuition freeze

Austin American-Statesman Article

Coalition Responds

MAY 4, 2012: TAMU System Board of Regents vote to increase tuition at all campuses except the College Station flagship and San Antonio campus, which did not request

Texas A&M Battalion Article

MAY 9, 2012: Journalist Paul Burka reports President Powers’ job is in jeopardy

Texas Monthly Article

MAY 10, 2012: Grassroots movement surges to rally behind President Powers and against rumors of termination

Austin American-Statesman Article

JUNE 1, 2012: Trowbridge and Vedder suggest privatization of UT Austin and TAMU

Forbes Article

JUNE 16, 2012: The Coalition marks its one-year anniversary

Coalition News Release

AUGUST 28, 2012: Coalition launches campaign to highlight the importance of 2013 regent appointments

Coalition News Release

SEPTEMBER 20, 2012: Texas Monthly features cover story on “The Battle for UT”

Texas Monthly Article

OCTOBER 16, 2012: President of the Association of American Universities speaks at University of Virginia stating that it's Texas, not Virginia, which is at "ground zero" and "UT and A&M are under attack"

University of Virginia News Article

2013

FEBRUARY 3, 2013: Associated Press draws national attention to “Battle for UT Austin”

Huffington Post Article

FEBRUARY 8, 2013: UT Austin Provost Steven Leslie resigns

Tower Talk Blog Post

FEBRUARY 13, 2013: UT System Board of Regents reportedly “grills” UT President Bill Powers

Austin American-Statesman Article

FEBRUARY 18, 2013: Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst issues impassioned speech in support of UT Austin President Bill Powers

Dallas Morning News Article

FEBRUARY 20, 2013: Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst and Speaker Straus reinstate Higher Education Oversight Committee

Texas Tribune Article

MARCH 1, 2013: UT System Regent Wallace Hall Requests more than 100,000 pages of documents from UT Austin

Texas Tribune Article

MARCH 7, 2013: UT System Vice Chancellor and General Counsel Barry Burgdorf resigns

Texas Tribune Article

MARCH 19, 2013: Legislative Oversight Committee ‘Floods’ UT System with Records Request

Texas Tribune Article

MARCH 19, 2013: Lawmaker calls Regents’ efforts against UT Austin President Bill Powers a ‘Witch Hunt’

Austin American-Statesman Article

MARCH 20, 2013: In split vote, UT System Regents approve further inquiry into UT Law School Foundation

The Alcalde Article

Coalition Responds

MARCH 25, 2013: The Houston Chronicle features front page story, “Perry-UT power struggle intensifies”

Houston Chronicle Article

MARCH 27, 2013: Senate Higher Education Committee proposes SB 15, which would limit the responsibilities of public university governing boards to those spelled out in law

Austin American-Statesman Article

MARCH 29, 2013: House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts proposes an amendment to limit power of UT System

Texas Tribune Article

APRIL 5, 2013: UT System BOR Chairman Gene Powell asks Attorney General for permission to withhold records from lawmakers

Texas Tribune Article

APRIL 5, 2013: UT Austin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Oshinsky quits, citing recent UT System controversy as a factor in departure

Austin American-Statesman Article

APRIL 6, 2013: Senator Judith Zaffirini responds to Chairman Powell’s letter to the Attorney General

Senator Zaffirini’s News Release

APRIL 8, 2013: Senator Kel Seliger asks Governor Perry to step in to help ease tension between UT System Regents and lawmakers

Texas Tribune Article

APRIL 11, 2013: Senate Committee on Higher Education proposes bill to require further training of university system regents

Austin American-Statesman Article

APRIL 11, 2013: The Daily Texan reviews progress toward Commission of 125 goals; Coalition members comment

Daily Texan Article

APRIL 11, 2013: Senate passes SB 15, refining the role of University Regents

The Alcalde Article

APRIL 11, 2013: UT System Regents agree to release data to lawmakers

Dallas Morning News Article

APRIL 15, 2013: Texas Monthly features an exclusive interview with UT System Regent Wallace Hall

Texas Monthly Article

Coalition Responds

MAY 13, 2013: The Texas House of Representatives tentatively approves SB 15, refining the role of University Regents

Houston Chronicle Article

MAY 24, 2013: Senate confirms three UT System Regents after spirited nominations hearing with thorough questioning

The Alcalde Article

Coalition Responds

JUNE 14, 2013: Gov. Perry vetoes Senate Bill 15, a bill intended to strengthen the governing boards of Texas institutions of public higher education.

The Alcalde Article

Coalition Responds

JUNE 25, 2013: Speaker Joe Straus authorizes House Committee to launch an investigation into misconduct by university regents

Dallas Morning News Article

JULY 13, 2013: Texas A&M President Bowen Loftin resigns

The Eagle Article

AUGUST 23, 2013: Vowing to “move this system forward” Paul Foster is elected Chair of the UT System Board of Regents

Texas Tribune Article

SEPTEMBER 11, 2013:  UT Austin President Bill Powers becomes first Texan to be named President of the Association of American Universities (AAU)

Texas Tribune Article

Coalition Responds

SEPTEMBER 19, 2013: UT System Regent Steve Hicks with Alabama Coach Nick Saban about the possibility of replacing UT Austin Longhorns football coach Mack Brown. UT System Regent Wallace L. Hall, Jr. was also involved

Associated Press Article

OCTOBER 1, 2013: UT Austin President Bill Powers named 2014 Alumnus of the Year by the Cal Alumni Association (CAA)

CalAlumni Association Announcement

OCTOBER 14, 2013: Austin-based entrepreneur and teacher Jeff Sandefer engages in the discussion with an opinion editorial in the Dallas Morning News, “UT slips to No. 52 in US News rankings amid faux prestige”

Dallas Morning News Article

NOVEMBER 9, 2013: The Coalition’s own Pamela Willeford sends a letter to alumni, which was picked up as an opinion editorial by the Houston Chronicle

Houston Chronicle Article

DECEMBER 12, 2013: UT System Board of Regents places UT Austin President Powers’ job in question; Board ultimately supported retaining him on staff

Valley Morning Star Article
Coalition Responds

DECEMBER 14, 2013: Gov. Perry attempts to appoint Guy Diedrich as interim president to succeed R. Bowen Loftin at Texas A&M University

Texas Monthly Article

Coalition Responds

DECEMBER 15, 2013:  Mark Hussey named Texas A&M interim president

The Eagle Article

Coalition Responds

2014

FEBRUARY 10, 2014: University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa resigns

San Antonio Express-News Article

Coalition Responds

FEBRUARY 18, 2014:  Gov. Perry encourages UT System Regents to consider Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek for the position as UT System Chancellor

Texas Tribune Article

FEBRUARY 19, 2014: The Houston Chronicle editorializes on the proper role of a university regent

Houston Chronicle Article

MARCH 17, 2014: Lawmakers raise questions about UT System Chancellor’s resignation

San Antonio Express-News Article

APRIL 2, 2014: Chancellor asked UT's Powers to step down, notes show

Austin American-Statesman Article

APRIL 7, 2014: Investigative Report to the House Select Committee in State Agency Operations shows UT Regent Wallace Hall may have broken law

San Antonio Express-News Article

Coalition Responds

April 22, 2014: Coalition echoes call for Regent Hall to go

Coalition Statement

April 25, 2014: The Travis County District Attorney’s office announces it will open an investigation into allegations of potential criminal activity by Regent Hall

Texas Tribune

May 12, 2014: Transparency Committee votes 7-1 that grounds exist to proceed with impeachment of Wallace Hall

Austin American-Statesman

Coalition Responds

May 15, 2014: Austin American-Statesman editorial board urges Hall’s resignation

Austin American-Statesman

May 15, 2014: UT Board of Regents Chairman Paul Foster publicly calls on Regent Hall to step down

The Alcalde

Coalition Responds

May 20, 2014: Governor Perry defends Regent Hall, criticizes Legislature

Associated Press

 

July 2, 2014: Chancellor Cigarroa gives President Powers an ultimatum to resign or be fired; Powers refuses

Texas Tribune

Coalition Responds

July 9, 2014: Cigarroa relents; allows Powers to set timetable for orderly departure

The Alcalde

Coalition Responds

July 29, 2014: UT System Regents pick Admiral Bill McRaven as next Chancellor of the UT System

Dallas Morning News

Coalition Responds

August 11, 2014: House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations Casts Historic Vote to Censure UT Regent Wallace Hall

Texas Tribune

Coalition Responds

2015

January 7, 2015: Chancellor Bill McRaven starts at UT System, Pens Open Letter at the Start of New Era, Urging stakeholders to “Resolve arguments and Look to the Future”

Dallas Morning News

Coalition Responds

January 22, 2015: Governor Abbot Appoints New Regents to UT and Texas A&M Systems

Houston Chronicle

Coalition Statement on UT System& Texas A&M SystemAppointments

February 3, 2015: Texas A&M Board of Regents Appoint Michael K. Young as next president of Flagship Institution

The Eagle

Coalition Responds

March 27, 2015: UT System Board of Regents Appoint Greg Fenves as next president of Flagship Institution

Austin American-Statesman

Coalition Responds

 

March 31, 2015: Travis County Grand Jury Admonishes Regent Hall, Recommends His Removal

Texas Tribune

Coalition Responds

June 24, 2015: Regent Wallace Hall files lawsuit against UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven

Austin American-Statesman

Coalition Responds

September 16, 2015: Greg Fenves is inaugurated as the 29th president of The University of Texas at Austin

Inauguration

Coalition Responds

2016

June 16, 2016: Coalition Turns Five, Pledges Renewed Vigilance and Advocacy for Texas Public Higher Education

Coalition Statement