Kay Bailey Hutchison Defends UT President, Calls Him ‘A Great Leader’
AUSTIN, Texas--As UT President Bill Powers seeks to hold on to his job in the face of a growing admissions scandal where powerful lawmakers and their donors were allegedly given preferential admissions, the new leader of the alumni association is standing by Powers. Former US Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison wrote to alumni this weekend that Powers “is a great leader; he deserves better than this."
Breitbart Texas broke the story this weekend that Powers had been an ultimatum: resign by close of business July 4, or be terminated next week. The ultimatum came from the chancellor of the University of Texas System, according to sources, after a whistleblower came forward.
Powers has reportedly refused to resign.
Closely aligned with deep-monied interests, Powers has been strongly supported by establishment politicians. After questions about financial malfeasance and legislative clout abuse were raised by a UT regent, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus went about the task of impeaching the regent.
An outside organization known as the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education was put together by former George W. Bush spokeswoman Karen Hughes, who is an advisor to Straus. The coalition was formed in opposition to university-level reforms proposed by Gov. Rick Perry.
Hutchison, a graduate of UT, took over as the president of the “Texas Exes,” an independent alumni association which lobbies on behalf of UT. She made opposing Perry’s higher education reforms a hallmark of her failed 2010 gubernatorial race.
In an email labeled “Urgent State of Affairs at UT-Austin,” Hutchison confirmed that the ultimatum had been issued but decried it as a “travesty.”
“It would cause further tension with legislators regarding UT System, would compound unrest among faculty, students, and alumni, and invoke serious harm to the institution’s reputation in the national spotlight,” wrote Hutchison. “President Powers has advanced the university through many tremendous accomplishments, and has been a great leader; he deserves better than this. This is about our university; it is a treasure that alumni need to protect and we need to stand up and fight for its stature. The University of Texas at Austin deserves better than this.”
She described the leak of information to Breitbart and follow-on news outlets as “unfortunate” and as having “inflamed controversy.”
In her letter, though, Hutchison does not address the substance of the scandals brewing around Powers. Neither Hutchison nor the Texas Exes has called for investigations into claims UT admitted under-qualified students based on their family’s political ties.
Michael Quinn Sullivan is a contributor and founding member of the Brietbart Texas team. He also serves as president of Empower Texans.