State Sen. Kel Seliger files bill to limit power of Board of Regents


State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, filed a bill that would limit the power of regents over individual universities within the system.
The bill, co-authored by nine other senators, would amend state law to say that all duties and responsibilities not specifically granted to university systems or governing boards of those university systems fall under the authority of the individual institutions of that system.

The bill comes on the same day Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced a joint committee to investigate the governance role of boards of regents over their respective university systems.

Seliger, who chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee, said in a statement that the bill aims to preserve institutional autonomy in the same way the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects state sovereignty from overreach by the federal government.

"It was made clear on Monday that university governance and allegations of micromanagement by regents is an issue the Senate takes very seriously," Seliger said.

On Monday, the Texas Legislature passed three resolutions defending and honoring UT President William Powers Jr. after some members of the UT System Board of Regents intensely questioned Powers on a number of topics at their Feb. 13 meeting. Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said he received numerous complaints that the regents were subverting Powers' authority and disrupting the System's governance structure.