Regents call special meeting Thursday to discuss information requests, foundation investigation


The UT System Board of Regents will be holding a specially called meeting Thursday to discuss several ongoing issues that have highlighted differences among the board itself.

The board's agenda includes discussion about releasing information requested by members of the Texas Legislature, a recent vote to continue an external investigation of the relationship between the UT School of Law and the Law School Foundation and the constitutional and legal rights and responsibilities of the Board of Regents.

The meeting was requested by four regents  Steven Hicks, Robert Stillwell, James Dannenbaum and Printice Gary  after it was discovered Friday that board Chairman Gene Powell had asked the Texas Attorney General's office for permission to withhold documents requested by legislators. Generally, meetings can be requested by the board chairman or by three of the other regents.

System spokeswoman Jenny LaCoste-Caputo said that the board’s three vice chairmen  Regents Paul Foster, Hicks and Dannenbaum  were informed in advance of Powell’s decision to write to the attorney general.

Powell’s request to withhold information prompted sharp criticism from lawmakers. In a three-page statement, state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, said she had heard Powell’s behavior compared to that of former President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal and called the chairman’s request an “outrageous” delay tactic.

On his twitter account, state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, said, “Declining to provide vital information to [the Legislature] only deepens Higher Education suspicions.”

The agenda for the meeting can be found here.