telephone conference call

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t the only one who’s been paying attention to football head coach Charlie Strong’s core vales. 

At a special meeting over telephone conference call Friday, the UT System Board of Regents unanimously endorsed Strong’s rules of honesty, treating women with respect, and zero tolerance for drugs, stealing or guns.  

“Consistent with the Board’s and chancellor’s previous actions on student success and wellbeing and in the same spirit, I move that the Board of Regents express its full support for UT-Austin head football coach Charlie Strong and his unwavering commitment to teaching, cultivating, supporting and demanding outstanding character, strong moral fiber and high core values in the young men he is charged to lead and teach,” said Gene Powell, regent and Board vice chairman.

After Strong was hired by the University in January, the regents subsequently approved his $5 million contract to coach the team. Since then, Strong has removed nine players from the team for violating team rules. As of Saturday’s home loss to Baylor, Strong has a 2-3 record as head coach.

Goodell met with Strong on Sept. 28 to discuss the coach’s values. The NFL is currently reevaluating its player conduct policies after a number of domestic abuse cases sprung up throughout the league since the start of the season.

“There’s a reason that the commissioner of the NFL sat down with Coach Strong,” said Steve Hicks, regent and Board vice chairman. “It’s because of the things he believes in are the right thing. I think that Vice Chairman Powell’s motion will prove that we stand firmly for those core values and what they mean to our student athletes, other students, the players, the coaches and their families.”

The board also expressed its support for the UT-MD Anderson Cancer Center administration. The center, located in Houston, is currently being investigated by the American Association of University Professors for its use of seven-year term tenure.

“In recognition of the unique mission and international leadership of the University of Texas -MD Anderson Cancer Center in the fight against cancer, I move that the Board voice strong support for the outstanding work of the institution’s faculty, staff and administration,” Regent Robert Stillwell said. “I also move that the Board acknowledge appreciation for the work of the students, residents and fellows in training and for the trust shown by the patients receiving care at UT-MD Anderson.”

The UT System Board of Regents will discuss issues relating to the external investigation of UT’s admissions process by Kroll Associates, Inc., a risk mitigation response firm, at a meeting over telephone conference call Monday. 

The board will discuss a Sept. 8 letter from state Reps. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, and Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, announcing their intention to attend or monitor all interviews conducted by Kroll. Following the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations’ censure of Regent Wallace Hall on Aug. 11, the committee announced Martinez Fischer and Larson would continue to monitor the System. 

“While we know that there have been allegations of legislative influence on admissions, we believe that every member of the Legislature is responsible for his or her own actions, and our requests are made solely as part of our official duty as monitors of The UT Board of Regents, The UT System, and UT component institutions,” Martinez Fischer and Larson said in the letter. 

The System conducted its own inquiry into legislative influence over the University’s admissions in July 2013, after Hall brought up issues with two emails he uncovered from one of his record requests to the University. Releasing its report in May, the inquiry found no evidence of a structured system of favoritism or wrongdoing, but determined letters of recommendation sent by legislators to President William Powers Jr. or a dean likely influence the admissions process. 

In June, Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa announced the System would launch a full external investigation of University admissions because of remaining concerns about the process. 

According to the contract between Kroll and the UT System, the firm will complete the investigation by Oct. 15. 

The letter from Martinez Fischer and Larson comes months after board Chairman Paul Foster asked the Texas Legislature in July not to attempt influencing board
decisions. 

“The point is the board has a role,” Foster said after the board’s July meeting. “It’s not political. We’re not politicians. I believe we should be left alone to do our business.”