University of Texas System regents will meet Thursday to consider retracting a request to withhold records sought by members of the state Legislature.
The Board of Regents will also discuss whether to halt plans for an external review of the UT-Austin School of Law’s ties with a donor group and instead have state Attorney General Gregg Abbott conduct a review.
State Rep. Dan Branch, chairman of the House Higher Education Committee and co-chairman of a House-Senate panel investigating the UT board, said Monday that he was pleased that regents were focusing on these matters.
“I have a sense among my colleagues in the Legislature that there’s a growing frustration with lack of urgency, lack of a spirit of cooperation, lack of responsiveness, lack of transparency,” said Branch, R-Dallas.
The Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency has yet to receive records requested from the UT System, or even a response to its request, he said.
Gene Powell, chairman of the regents, wrote to Abbott on Friday seeking permission to withhold some records from lawmakers. Four of the nine regents requested a board meeting on the matter.
The regents voted last month to launch an external investigation of the relationship between the UT Law School and the UT Law School Foundation, and of the school’s use of funds from the foundation. But a majority of state senators say that a UT System internal investigation was sufficient and that any further review should be done by Abbott to save the state money.
The Texas House amended the state’s proposed budget last week to strip the UT System administration of millions of dollars in funding and to bar investigations of campuses and their executives.
According to the UT System’s open-meetings posting, Thursday’s meeting of the regents will include a closed-door discussion regarding regents’ “constitutional and legal rights and responsibilities.”