Board of Regents

A Travis County grand jury declined to indict UT System Regent Wallace Hall on Tuesday on charges of abuse of office, misuse of information and official oppression. However, it took the unusual step of issuing a report condemning Hall and calling for his removal.

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

Attorney General Ken Paxton said UT System regents do not have the authority to limit information requests Tuesday, in response to an appeal to Paxton by Regent Wallace Hall last month.

“Unless a state or federal law requires otherwise, a court would likely conclude that the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System may not prohibit an individual regent from obtaining access to records in the possession of the University that are necessary to fulfill his duties as a regent,” Paxton wrote, summarizing his statement.

On April 20, Hall sent an appeal to Paxton after Chancellor William McRaven Jr. denied his request for thousands of documents related an admissions investigation by Kroll Associates, Inc. The investigation found that President William Powers Jr. influenced the admission of a handful of students to UT but did not break any official University rules.

McRaven, unanimously backed by the other eight regents, voted to file a brief to the Attorney General’s office last Monday, reacting to Hall’s appeal. The brief contended that the Board could set some limitations on information requests by individual regent and that individual regents are not authorized to appeal to the attorney general in their official capacity, without consent of the Board.

In Paxton's response to Hall’s appeal, he did not require the Board grant Hall access to the documents, but he said access to records is needed for a regent to perform his or her duties.

“While a governmental body may adopt reasonable procedures with regard to the timing, copying, and process for review of records, a ‘governmental body cannot adopt a policy that prevents a member of the body from performing the duties of office,’” Paxton wrote, citing a 1999 Attorney General statement.

UT System chancellor William McRaven, center, and Daniel Sharphorn, general counsel and vice chancellor for the UT System, right, met with the Board of Regents on Monday.
Photo Credit: Zoe Fu | Daily Texan Staff

The UT System Board of Regents and Chancellor William McRaven sent a letter Monday to Attorney General Ken Paxton arguing that individual regents’ access to records can be subject to limitations in certain situations.

At a specially called meeting Monday morning, eight members of the board voted unanimously to file a brief with the AG’s office outlining the System’s official stance on regent information requests. The ninth regent, Wallace Hall, abstained from the vote.

System counsels filed the brief in response to an appeal Hall’s private attorney filed with Paxton on April 20. Hall’s attorney, Bill Aleshire, asked Paxton to formally provide advice on Hall’s request to review thousands of documents related to UT-Austin admissions and asked whether the Board or the Chancellor had the authority to prohibit Hall from obtaining copies of those records.

Hall is attempting to review the thousands of documents Kroll Associates, Inc. used in an independent investigation earlier this year. The Kroll report found President William Powers Jr. intervened in a handful of admissions cases, but concluded Powers did not violate any policies.

When Hall asked to review the Kroll documents, three regents, including Hall himself, voted to grant him access. Under Regent Rule 19801, “Policy on Transparency, Accountability, and Access to Information,” UT System employees must respond to information requests “without undue delay” if two or more regents vote in support of the request. 

However, McRaven told Hall that Hall’s requests ventured into independent “inquiry and investigation” and therefore would require a majority board vote for approval. In a terse email exchange, McRaven told Hall his requests for information go beyond “any reasonable desire to be better informed as a regent.”

“This current request for information … is detrimental to the overall well-being of the system,” McRaven wrote in an email to Hall. 

The brief filed Monday, which represented McRaven and the Board of Regents’ official position on Hall’s appeal, argued that Hall’s attorney did not have standing to seek formal advice from Paxton in the first place.

“An individual Regent is not authorized to seek an opinion of the Attorney General in his official capacity without the consent of the Board, nor may an individual Regent be represented in his official capacity by private counsel,” System lawyers wrote. “In addition, the Attorney General generally declines fact-finding and answering hypothetical questions, both of which would be required in answering the questions presented.”

Even if Paxton did agree to provide Hall advice, Hall’s requests for the documents should still be denied, according to the brief. System counsel said Regents’ Rules and federal laws exist to regulate individual regents’ access to records, especially when student privacy is a consideration.

“A Regent’s access to information is not ‘unfettered,’” the System counsel wrote. “Given the potential volume of a request for information by an individual member of the Board and the impact on workload priorities, it is inherently reasonable that the Regents’ Rules provide checks and balances.”

In his letter to Paxton, Hall’s attorney argued that Regents do have an unfettered right to agency records. 

“A regent is not a mere figurehead, passive servant of corporate management,” Aleshire wrote. “Other opinions of the Attorney General also demonstrate that a regent’s inherent right of access to the agency records is not subject to judgement of the other board members (or of the Chancellor).” 

After the meeting Monday, Regent Alex Cranberg, who originally voted to grant Hall access to the Kroll records, explained his vote in support of the brief to the AG.

“I certainly feel it’s very important to express the need for individual regents to have [the] capacity to ask hard questions, even as the majority of the board might feel uncomfortable, but I don’t think this response suggests that the regents don’t have that capacity,” Cranberg said. “[I believe the response suggests] merely that there might be some limits placed on what a regent might reasonably ask for.”

UT System Chancellor William McRaven, center, and Daniel Sharphorn, General Counsel and Vice Chancellor for the UT System, right, met with the Board of Regents on Monday morning to discuss Regent Wallace Hall's document request. The board voted to file a brief with the Texas Attorney General's Office regarding the request.

Photo Credit: Zoe Fu | Daily Texan Staff

Updated (3:34 p.m.): In a brief submitted on behalf of Chancellor William McRaven and the UT System Board of Regents, lawyers for the System asked the Attorney General to dismiss Regent Wallace Hall’s request for advice on Hall's disputed right to request thousands of admissions-related documents.

The nine-page brief comes after a two-hour meeting this morning when the Regents met with the Chancellor and the System’s legal advisers to determine their position on Hall’s request.

In the brief, Daniel Sharphorn, vice chancellor and general counsel for the UT System, and Francie Frederick, general counsel to the Board, argue that Hall did not have standing to seek formal advice from AG Ken Paxton in the first place.

“We respectfully suggest that the Attorney General consider the following...the request is not properly presented for formal advice from the Attorney General,” they wrote. “An individual Regent is not authorized to seek an opinion of the Attorney General in his official capacity without the consent of the Board, nor may an individual Regent be represented in his official capacity by private counsel. In addition, the Attorney General generally declines fact-finding and answering hypothetical questions, both of which would be required in answering the questions presented.”

Even if Paxton did agree to provide Hall advice, Hall’s requests for thousands of documents used in the admissions investigation should still be denied, they wrote.

“A Regent’s access to information is not ‘unfettered,’” Sharphorn and Frederick wrote. “Given the potential volume of a request for information by an individual member of the Board and the impact on workload priorities, it is inherently reasonable that the Regents’ Rules provide checks and balances.”

To read the full brief from Sharphorn and Frederick, scroll to the bottom of the story.

Original story: After more than two hours in executive session, the UT System Board of Regents voted to file a brief with the Texas Attorney General’s Office relating to Regent Wallace Hall's search for documents about UT-Austin admissions. UT System Chancellor William McRaven said the brief will be filed later today but declined to elaborate on its contents. 

Although the brief will address Hall’s appeal to Attorney General Ken Paxton for assistance in obtaining access to thousands of documents Kroll Associates, Inc. used in its independent investigation of UT-Austin admissions practices, board members also declined to address what the brief’s specific focus will be. The board voted to file the brief by a unanimous vote of eight, with Hall abstaining.

After the board reconvened in open session, Regent Alex Cranberg indicated the System brief will likely outline reasons Hall should not be granted the documents.

“I certainly feel it’s very important to express the need for individual regents to have [the] capacity to ask hard questions, even as the majority of the board might feel uncomfortable, but I don’t think this response suggests that the regents don’t have that capacity,” Cranberg said. “[I believe the response suggests] merely that there might be some limits placed on what a regent might reasonably ask for.”

Cranberg also alluded to concerns that some of the documents Hall is requesting might contain personal student information, protected under federal privacy laws.

“If anyone is asking, in effect, for the System to violate federal law, that should not be allowed to occur,” Cranberg said.

Hall began asking for this round of documents in early March, after the Kroll investigation concluded that President William Powers Jr. had exerted influence in the admissions of a handful of students but had not technically broken any rules. The investigation found that administrators at the University and within the UT System held “wildly divergent” attitudes about whether considering relationships between the University and high-ranking officials is an appropriate factor in the holistic review process.

After the results of the investigation were released, McRaven declined to take punitive action, although he said he would like to see admissions policies clarified going forward.

“There are a lot of thing we could do better, but, at the end of the day, no willful misconduct [occurred], and I found no criminal activity, and, therefore, I intend to take no disciplinary action,” McRaven said in February.

When Hall asked for the documents Kroll had used in the investigation, three regents, including Hall himself, voted to allow him access. Under Regent Rule 19801, “Policy on Transparency, Accountability, and Access to Information,” UT System employees must respond to information requests “without undue delay” if two or more regents vote in support of the request.

However, McRaven said Hall’s request fell under the category of “inquiry and investigation,” invoking another policy that would require a majority board vote for approval.

“I have no concerns about giving you information that is consistent with your regental needs to be better informed, i.e. how the admissions process works … that is what the board approved,” McRaven told Hall in a terse email exchange in April. “However, your twelve requests for information lead any reader to believe that you are further investigating the Kroll report, the Fisher litigation, Legislative compliance, all of which are perfectly acceptable for a board, if procedurally the majority of the board wants to undertake these new inquiries...If it is [a new inquiry], I have no problem with that, as long as the majority of the board approves.”

Hall responded by having his lawyer, Bill Aleshire, ask Paxton to address whether the board or the chancellor have the legal authority to prohibit regents from having access to copies of records they believes are necessary to fulfill regential duties.

“Regent Wallace Hall has concerns about corrupted processes at the University of Texas at Austin, most recently regarding student admissions practices,” Aleshire wrote to Paxton. “Other opinions of the Attorney General also demonstrate that a regent’s inherent right of access to [records] is not subject to the judgement of other board members (or of the Chancellor) as to whether they think the regent ‘needs’ that information.”

Read the brief the UT System counsel filed with the Attorney General's office here: 

Brief to Attorney General Ken Paxton on behalf of UT System Board of Regents and Chancellor William McRaven...

Photo Credit: Stephanie Tacy | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas Senate voted to place certain limits on Texas public universities’ tuition rates Thursday.

The bill, authored by Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo), would set certain “performance measures” that public universities must meet to raise tuition. These measures range from four-year graduation rates and the number of undergraduate degrees granted to the number of hours taught by tenured faculty and administrative costs.

The bill limits tuition increases to 1 percent over the cost of inflation until 2018. After 2018, universities could raise their tuition by 3 percent, if they meet the performance measures set in the bill. Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) added these regulations to the bill in an amendment.

Seliger said the bill is intended to hold universities accountable for proposed tuition increases.

“[The bill] brings together the concepts of accountability and tuition by requiring institutions to prove performance if they wish to increase the costs,” Seliger said.

In 2003, the Texas Legislature deregulated tuition costs and granted universities’ governing boards, such as the Board of Regents, control of tuition rates. Since then, tuition has increased across the state.

Tuition at UT has risen from about $2,721 to $4,905 a semester since deregulation, although it has remained relatively constant for the past several years. Tuition for next school year is set at the same $4,905 for traditional, or non-fixed, in-state tuition.

University officials have voiced opposition to state tuition regulation.

Incoming president Gregory Fenves said he thinks the Board of Regents is the best determiner of tuition rates at UT.

“I think the University [and] the Board of Regents working as a public agency has the knowledge and the availability to set the right tuition level to provide the revenue to the University for a quality education,” Fenves said. “I think that’s the governance structure that will get the best outcome — balancing the public purpose of the University and the needs of the University to provide a quality education.”

John Brown, co-director of the Invest in Texas campaign, a nonpartisan lobbying effort made up of governing student bodies, said he was surprised a tuition regulation bill passed in the Senate. He said Invest in Texas and SG members plan to meet with representatives about the policy. 

“The whole sentiment is that college costs are just skyrocketing, so the Legislature response is, ‘Well, let us have that, and we’ll cut everything down and make your degree nothing,’” Brown said. “Well, when you cut tuition down, you forget that that’s your allotment — what the University spends on its operating budget.”

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

For the fall 2015 semester, students will not see an increase in tuition, despite requests from the University administration, according to a report from the Office of Financial Affairs.

Tuition at UT is set to remain the same as levels in 2014, according to UT Chief Financial Officer Mary Knight. Traditional tuition for fall 2015 will be $4,905 for in-state and $17,360 for out-of-state students per semester. The optional fixed tuition rate, which gives students the option to pay one rate for all four years as an undergraduate, will be $5,291 for in-state and $18,275 for out-of-state students per semester. 

Legislative student bodies held public forums in fall 2013 to gauge student opinion on proposed tuition increases, Knight said. After student leaders and the University administration agreed on a proposal, it was sent to the Office of the Chancellor from the president. The chancellor brought the proposal before the UT System Board of Regents for deliberation.

The UT System Board of Regents voted to adopt a tuition plan in 2013 that covered tuition from fall 2014 through spring 2016, according to a meeting agenda from the Board of Regents.

Knight said the Board of Regents approved tuition increases that began in fall 2014 but decided against increasing tuition again for fall 2015.

“It’s in the Board of Regent’s hands, and last spring, the Board of Regents approved some increases for one year only, but they did not address the fall of 2015, so we are keeping the rates the same as the fall of 2014,” Knight said. “There were some [increases] that had been proposed, but the board did not address them in the spring of 2014, so none of those were officially approved.”

Kathleen Corder, exercise science and allied health profession sophomore, said she is glad the cost of tuition isn’t increasing.

“We’re already paying so much and as students, everything costs money, and we’re all broke, so saving just a little bit of money and not having the increase [in tuition] is good,” Corder said.

Chemistry senior Robert Wayne Jr. said the lower tuition at UT keeps the door open for hardworking students.

“It’s fantastic to keep it cheap because you want to keep the University competitive,” Wayne said. “Students receive all sorts of grants, and it allows them to put money toward something else, some other aspect of their life.”

UT System Chancellor William McRaven has voiced his support for affordability but warned that UT System institutions must balance price with the quality of education.

“This is a balancing act — to make education as affordable as can be but still as high quality as it can be,” McRaven said. “Frankly, the students that are looking for a high-quality education, if they don’t think that we’re giving them a high enough quality education, they will go outside the state.”

During the 1970s, nearly 85 percent of UT’s operating costs came from a budget appropriated by the state Legislature, according to a statement on the UT website. Today, however, the State provides for less than 20 percent of educational operations at UT.

UT System Regent Wallace Hall is continuing his investigation into the University’s admission practices.
Photo Credit: Xintong Guo | Daily Texan Staff

UT System Regent Wallace Hall is appealing to the attorney general to review student information, despite UT System Chancellor William McRaven’s admonition that Hall’s requests go “well beyond any reasonable desire to be better informed as a regent.”

In a letter to Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office earlier this week, Hall’s attorney asked Paxton to intervene after McRaven denied Hall access to requested material. Hall is seeking files used in an independent investigation into admission practices at the University.

In early March, Hall asked to be provided with the documents Kroll Associates, Inc. used to review admissions. The results of the investigation, released in February, found that UT President William Powers Jr. had exerted influence in the admission of a handful of students but concluded that no formal rules were broken. 

Three regents voted to support Hall’s requests, but the Chancellor said Hall would not be given the records unless the Board authorized such access by majority vote, according to the letter Hall’s lawyer sent Paxton, first obtained by the Texas Tribune.

“The Chancellor asserted that giving Regent Hall access to the Kroll records constituted reopening the investigation of student admissions practices or involved FERPA-protected records,” the email said. “The Chancellor decided that Regent Hall did not have an ‘educational purpose’ for reviewing the Kroll records that was sufficient in the Chancellor’s opinion.”

In the email, Hall’s lawyer, Bill Aleshire, asked the attorney general to consider two questions: whether the Board of Regents can prohibit a regent from obtaining access to records the regent believes are “necessary to review to fulfill his duties as a regent,” and whether the chancellor can do to the same.

Aleshire invoked Regent Rule 19801, “Policy on Transparency, Accountability, and Access to Information,” which says that UT System employees must respond to requests for information “without undue delay.” 

“For the purpose of a Board vote on this issue, the vote of any two or more Regents in support of the request is sufficient to direct that the request will be filled without delay,” the policy says.

Barbara Holthaus, UT System assistant general counsel, said there is an exception to FERPA rules called the university official exception. Under this exception, anyone employed by the University who needs access to the confidential information to perform a job may have access. 

Holthaus said any University official seeking access must have an educational purpose, and a person’s position or title does not immediately justify a request for confidential student information. 

“In the case of a regent or a chancellor or president, as long as the access they are requiring is pursuant to a legitimate educational purpose and it’s part of their duties, then they can have access to information that is subject to FERPA,” Holthaus said. “What we know under FERPA, though, is the mere fact that you have a position such as a chancellor or a president doesn’t mean that you get access to any information that you need.” 

In another email to Hall, McRaven further attempted to explain why he did not feel Hall’s requests met those criteria.

“I have no concerns about giving you information that is consistent with your regental needs to be better informed, i.e. how the admissions process works … that is what the board approved,” McRaven wrote. “However, your twelve requests for information lead any reader to believe that you are further investigating the Kroll report, the Fisher litigation, Legislative compliance, all of which are perfectly acceptable for a board, if procedurally the majority of the board wants to undertake these new inquiries. I remain willing to meet with you and provide you information as long as that information isn’t part of an additional inquiry. If it is, I have no problem with that, as long as the majority of the board approves.”

Students at the University of Texas are always willing to voice their beliefs, and those voices often lead to real, material changes in the world. 

Student-led groups and Student Government work together to express concerns, but as a student body, we have the duty to make sure our speech is valuable, relevant and warranted. UTDivest and the language of the pro-divestment AR 3 represent a scenario where UT students are speaking out on issues beyond their level of responsibility.

SG is responsible for both representing the student body and allocating resources on behalf of that body. It serves as our collective voice, and as such, can speak for whom we want to manage our endowment. 

Picking an investment manager is no easy task, but the University of Texas Investment Management Company has done a stellar job managing the second-largest endowment in the US. Portions of our more than $25 billion are carefully invested in over 2,000 public equities like the ones mentioned in AR 3: Cemex, HP, Proctor & Gamble, etc. (embedded below) This is done through a Fund-of-Funds model, meaning UTIMCO allocates the endowment to a number of third-party investment managers, who then select equities to buy.  UTIMCO itself does not directly buy and sell equities with endowment money, according to Bruce Zimmerman, UTIMCO’s CEO and Chief Investment Officer.  This management style is common to large endowments due to the amount of resources needed to allocate billions of dollars.  Because the decision to divest lies with third party managers and not UTIMCO, AR 3 is misdirected and represents a misunderstanding of how our endowment is managed.

As a student body, our responsibility is to make sure our endowment rests in the hands of a manager who will carefully and effectively grow the fund over its lifespan. As students who are not industry-trained investment managers, we are not responsible for evaluating third party managers and their individual investment decisions.

The UT System maintains a Board of Regents that oversees the selection of management and supervises high-level decisions for the University and the other System campuses. However, their responsibilities do not include micromanagement. The Board does not decide what classes will be offered next semester, which textbook a professor issues for a class or which video is shown in that class. 

Because the Board does not have all of the relevant information to make lower-level decisions, it is in their best interest to find managers to make those decisions instead.

Similarly, it is not in students’ best interest to try to micromanage UTIMCO by telling it which managers to use and which companies to invest in. Rather, they can help find qualified professionals who can understand the nuances of managing investments. These managers have a responsibility to ensure their portfolio companies are ethically operated in ways that are not overtly harmful to any group of people. This responsibility is dutifully carried out through meaningful analysis.

Investment managers go above and beyond to vet every single equity. This includes multiple weeks of intense company research and financial valuation modeling. 

Students simply do not have the necessary time to read company filings or complete the extensive due diligence needed before making multimillion dollar investments. UTIMCO and third party managers have access to information students do not, and therefore can make more informed decisions on whether a company is worth investing in. 

Students need to acknowledge an investment management company is not the place to make a political statement and understand UTIMCO makes deliberate decisions using the best information it can compile.

Stepping back from an investment manager’s perspective, students who feel passionately about either side of the political debate should take a closer look at companies that are operating in Israel and the economic benefit they provide to Palestinians and Israelis alike.

For example, metalworking company ISCAR, owned by publicly traded Berkshire Hathaway, employs 3,000 Israelis, of whom half are Arab. ISCAR’s founder, Israeli Stef Wertheimer, was awarded the Oslo Business for Peace Award in 2010 for his efforts to use manufacturing facilities to unite Israelis and Arabs. 

Over 20 percent of Intel’s international property, plant and equipment are centered in Israel, and wages from those operations flow into the economies of both Israel and disputed territories. 

These are companies who bridge the political divide and promote cooperation and mutual economic gain. Divestment from these beneficial industries would not just be a vote against cooperation but a vote that would directly harm the Palestinian economy.

No company is perfect, and that fact cannot be disputed. But it is UTIMCO’s job, not the UT student body’s, to make this determination. Student Government should oppose AR 3 not for political reasons, but because the legislation speaks on behalf of students who are not qualified to micromanage more than $25 billion. The Board of Regents votes on managers, not stocks, and Student Government should do the same.

Johns is a business honors and finance sophomore from Fort Worth. Stein is a business honors and finance sophomore from Houston.

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Editor’s Note: This story is the first in a two-part series on the two new members of the UT System Board of Regents. The second profile will run Thursday.​UT System Regent Sara Martinez Tucker will join the Board of Regents for the first time at a meeting Friday.

The Texas Senate unanimously confirmed Martinez Tucker, a UT alumna, in early March with little contention, and she was sworn into the office of the Board of regents shortly after.

Martinez Tucker is the president emeritus of the National Math + Science Initiative and served previously as CEO of the organization. Tom Luce, chairman of the National Math + Science Initiative board of directors, said Martinez Tucker worked tirelessly for education. 

“She did a wonderful job at the National Math + Science Initiative,” Luce said. “She really did a terrific job of helping to improve operations and efficiency on a nationwide program, and she has a real passion for education for all kids.”

Luce said Martinez Tucker’s wide variety of experience will benefit the Board of Regents.

“She’s got one of the most impressive résumés anybody could have, in that she’s had private sector achievements, nonprofit achievements and public sector achievements,” Luce said. “It’s difficult to find somebody who’s done all three in their career, and she’s done them,”  

In a June 2014 article from “Hispanic Executive”  magazine, Martinez Tucker spoke about her family’s dedication to education and how it influenced her. Growing up in a family of three children, Martinez Tucker said she understood the importance of education after her youngest brother graduated from college. 

“I recognized how lucky I was to have parents that valued education,” Martinez Tucker said in the article. “They sacrificed to send me to Catholic schools, which had better education, and supported my decision to leave Laredo. Too many people don’t have all those things lined up for them.”

Luce said growing up surrounded by a family that supported her education helped Martinez Tucker develop a passion for education.

“I think she’s grounded by her personal story, growing up in [Laredo], and her mother was very passionate about education,” Luce said. “She served on the University of Notre Dame advisory board — I mean, she’s just got a heart
for education.”

Former President Bush nominated Martinez Tucker to be the undersecretary of education from 2006–2008.

“As undersecretary, she [oversaw] all policies, programs and activities related to postsecondary education, vocational and adult education, and federal student aid,” a Department of  Education report said.

Luce said Martinez Tucker will make decisions on the Board to improve educational opportunities.

“She’ll be very thoughtful, and she’ll ask good questions, and she’ll take an analytical look at things but always from a position of heart for education and education for all people,” Luce said.

Luce said Martinez Tucker is excited to take her place on the Board of Regents and to give back to the school that gave her so many opportunities.

“I’ve heard her describe [becoming a regent] as ‘really a dream come true to serve on the Board,’ where she went to school and was educated, and she’s very excited about the opportunity,” Luce said.

According to UT System spokeswoman Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, Martinez Tucker was not available for comment, pending orientation for her role on the Board.

Editor’s Note: This story is the first in a two-part series on the two new members of the UT System Board of Regents. The second profile will run Thursday.

Oxford University Vice Chancellor Andrew Hamilton, previously considered the front-runner for the UT presidency, will become New York University’s president in January 2016.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Phil Sayer | Daily Texan Staff

Two finalists are left in the search for President William Powers Jr.’s replacement after New York University administrators announced that Oxford University Vice Chancellor Andrew Hamilton would be their next president.

Hamilton, whom many considered to be the front-runner for the UT presidency, will succeed NYU president John Sexton in January 2016, NYU administrators announced last week. The UT System Board of Regents interviewed Hamilton earlier this month, as did a small search committee.

At this point, Greg Fenves, executive vice president and provost of the University, and UT-Dallas President David Daniel are the remaining finalists in the search for the next UT president, according to sources directly involved with the search committee.

Fenves, who has held his provost position since October 2013, served five years as dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. As the University’s chief academic officer, Fenves is closely connected to Powers, whose relationship with the Board of Regents has been tumultuous at times.

Daniel, who earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in engineering from UT, became UT-Dallas’ president in 2005. During his tenure there, UT-Dallas’ enrollment has grown from 13,000 to 23,000 students, and the university has raised more than $360 million in private funds.

Before joining Oxford in 2009, Hamilton worked as a chemistry assistant professor at Princeton University and then as chemistry professor and department chair at the University of Pittsburgh. He also served as provost of Yale University from 2004 until 2008.

Hamilton said he has been a “keen observer” of NYU over the years and was honored to have been considered in the NYU presidential search.

“I am delighted to be selected as NYU’s 16th president,” Hamilton said in a statement. “I am looking forward with great eagerness to working with NYU’s faculty, students, administrators, and staff, and to joining a university that is so manifestly energetic, innovative, and successful.”

Hamilton is the second to drop from the System’s handful of prospective candidates. The list had previously included Joseph Steinmetz, the executive vice president and provost at The Ohio State University, but he withdrew his candidacy in February.

Following the Board of Regents’ interviews with Daniel, Fenves and Hamilton, UT System Chancellor William McRaven recommended the board defer naming a finalist or list of finalists until later this month. The Board must vote to name one or more finalists and then wait 21 days before making an official appointment.

The UT System Board of Regents interviewed three finalists for the UT Presidency in a closed-door meeting Wednesday, but decided not to name the finalists.

The Board of Regents deferred action to name a finalist or finalists until later this month. The interviews, held in an executive session, included coversations with each candidate's spouse. Chairman Paul Foster said he expects finalists will be named within the month of March.

UT System Chancellor William McRaven recommended the Board of Regents delay their decision in order to perform more research on the candidates, according to a report from the UT System.

In late February, “Horns Digest”, an online sports journal, named four alleged finalists for the UT presidency. The journal named Greg Fenves, executive vice president and provost of UT, David Daniel, president of UT Dallas, and Andrew Hamilton, vice chancellor of the University of Oxford in England.

Foster said the premature realease of potential finalists' names is "frustrating and disappointing."

"I’m as frustrated as anybody whenever there are leaks," Foster said. "The search committee was a broad cross section of alot of different people and I don’t know where the leaks came from, I certainly dont want to point fingers at anybody, I wouldn't even know who to point my finger at."