You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Ken Paxton again backs Wallace Hall in UT legal fight

Attorney General Ken Paxton has once again thrown his support behind University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall’s efforts to receive records, including confidential student information, from an investigation into favoritism in admissions at the Austin campus.

Paxton recently filed a brief asking the 3rd Court of Appeals to reinstate Hall’s lawsuit, which was thrown out by a Travis County judge in December, prompting an immediate appeal by Hall. Paxton also asked the appeals court to order UT to provide the records to Hall.

“A regent’s access to university records must be absolute,” Paxton said in the friend-of-the-court brief filed last week but made public Tuesday.

The 3rd Court of Appeals has not yet determined whether it will decide the case based solely on briefs or if it will schedule oral arguments, which both sides have requested. That decision could come at any time, court records show.

Paxton’s latest action followed an attorney general’s opinion, sought by Hall and issued last May, in which Paxton concluded that the UT System cannot bar a regent’s access to records, even if protected by federal privacy laws, that are necessary for evaluating a state-supported education program.

And in June, Paxton sent a letter informing UT Chancellor Bill McRaven that his agency was granting Hall’s request for an appointed lawyer — paid for by the UT System — to help in his legal fight for the records. In the letter, Paxton also repeated his belief that the regents could not bar access to records that Hall “believes are necessary to fulfill his duties as a regent.”

Paxton’s appeals court brief was the latest turn in Hall’s efforts to review emails, interview notes and other records from an investigation conducted for the UT System by Kroll Associates Inc. A 107-page summary by Kroll concluded that former UT-Austin President Bill Powers sometimes ordered the admissions office to accept applicants with subpar academic records who had been backed by legislators, regents, donors and other influential people.

McRaven has refused to grant access to the records, saying they are off-limits due to federal and state privacy laws and arguing that Hall was seeking to improperly reopen a closed investigation.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Rick Perry chimes in on A&M student election; social media reacts
Rick Perry chimes in on A&M student election; social media reacts

Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas and current U.S. energy secretary, questioned the legitimacy of Texas A&M’s student elections in an opinion piece published Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle. Perry wrote that his alma mater’s disqualification of former student body president candidate Robert McIntosh, who garnered the most votes...
Conservation nonprofit breaking new ground in education
Conservation nonprofit breaking new ground in education

R. Brent Lyles has been in environmental education his whole career, from the time he taught seventh-grade science in a poor, rural county in North Carolina to today as executive director of the Colorado River Alliance. The nonprofit is tasked with advocating for the Colorado River, the source of Austin’s water and an economic engine of Central...
Community news: First ‘CodeTalk’ on Wednesday about environment

TRAVIS COUNTY DOWNTOWN AUSTIN First ‘CodeTalk’ on environment The city of Austin will hold its first of five “CodeTalk” sessions from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Austin City Hall, 301 W. Second St. CodeTalks are topic-based information sessions open to the general public but tailored to those who have profound interests in specific...
Austin board to vote on land parcels, preview revised facilities plan
Austin board to vote on land parcels, preview revised facilities plan

The Austin school board on Monday night is expected to approve the purchase of three land parcels for the expansion of Bowie High School and a future high school in Southeast Austin. Trustees will consider two smaller tracts next to the overcapacity Bowie High School that would go toward a multimillion-dollar expansion and modernization of the school...
Mulling Trump, trains and Lone Star while waiting on MoPac to open

I’ve got questions … What, for instance, does the president really think about trains? Some transit supporters, perhaps creatively looking for silver linings, speculated shortly after Nov. 8 that Donald Trump, having spent his life surrounded by New York subways and commuter trains, might be into locomotion. Can you really picture the...
More Stories