Governor Perry Stands Up for UT Regent Hall
the midst of the Texas House drafting articles of impeachment against University
of Texas system regent Wallace Hall, Jr., Governor Rick Perry issued "one
of his strongest statements yet" in support of the Dallas businessman,
according to the Washington Times.
who appointed Hall to the Board of Regents in 2011, stepped in and defended Hall. The beleaguered regent is under investigation for requesting massive amounts of records from the
flagship Austin campus and for allegedly violating confidentiality laws. Hall has said previously that records
requests were a part of his job and that he found evidence of wrongdoing.
stood up for the regent last week. He
said, "Hall is doing what every regent and every appointee in the State of
Texas should be doing: asking tough questions, gathering facts and searching
for the truth," the Washington Times reported.
is not the first time the governor has defended Hall. Last year, Perry
harshly dismissed the legislative inquiry that could result in Hall's
impeachment as "some extraordinary political theater," according to
the Dallas Morning News.
At the time, they also reported that Perry addressed his support of Hall to ask questions, stating
that trying to hinder any appointee from legitimate inquiries into how state
institutions are run is "very, very bad public policy" and
"sending a horrible message to the public."
Hall told the Texas Tribune in a June 25, 2013 one-on-one interview that his actions were to seek
the facts and he did so with the "full support of the chancellor and the
majority of the board."
In that interview, Hall explained that his initial review of pre-existing open
records was part of an effort to make system-wide improvements "in how we
manage our TPIA (Texas Public Information Act) requests," emphasizing the value of public information for the board and the chancellor in their official
A few facts that Hall said came to light that were the sources of President William Power's
"discontent" with his efforts included the "UT knowingly and
improperly counted over $215 million in gifts that simply did not exist"
under Powers' leadership; and the law school issues, which "came to the
board's attention in December 2011 through an open records request by law
school faculty resulting in President Powers calling the (board) chairman and
chancellor." Hall told this to the Tribune in the interview.
Hall isn't the only board member to clash with Powers over a "myriad of
issues, including tuition and graduation rates and the role of teaching and
research in education," according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
steadfast pursuit of records and "questions over Powers' leadership,"
is what catapulted him into the harsh spotlight with lawmakers, including receiving "criticism
from some powerful Texas alumni and donors," the article also said.
"If I thought I had done
something deserving impeachment, I would resign, and I'm not resigning," Hall said in the Tribune interview.
Governor Perry felt that it was the right thing to do when he again
spoke up on Hall's behalf last week. Perry strongly cautioned, "Texans should be outraged by
his treatment, and deeply concerned it will have a chilling effect on those who
are tasked with the oversight of state agencies and institutions that they are
responsible for," according to the Washington Times.
and Hall are closely aligned, according to the Dallas Morning News, in their
efforts to "enact higher-education reforms that emphasize teaching over
Last year, Perry said that he hoped "the
information that is, at the end of the day, found clearly absolves (Hall) of
Breitbart Texas reported on the request from Regents Chairman Paul Foster calling for Hall to step down from the Board of Regents. The impeachment investigation, which started nearly one year ago, is expected to drag on for a while. Even with Perry's unwavering support of Hall, the panel seems to be single-mindedly focused on filing formal charges. They reconvene on July 7.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @outoftheboxmom.