House Transparency Committee Puts Off Impeachment, Censures UT Regent Hall

Aug 12, 2014

University of Texas at Austin.
University of Texas at Austin.
Credit Marsha Miller / University of Texas

A select committee of state lawmakers that was exploring impeachment proceedings for University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall has dropped their investigation and moved to censure and admonish Hall’s inquiry involving admissions fixing at UT at Austin.  

Rather than draw up articles of impeachment, which would have been a first for a governor-appointed position in the state of Texas, the House Select Committee on the Transparency in Government Agency Operations approved a motion that censures and admonishes Hall for his inquiry of UT at Austin President Bill Powers regarding allegations of admissions fixing for state lawmaker’s children. That search involved thousands of open records requests containing private student information. 

State Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo, read the motion that admonished Hall's actions:

"I would like move the consideration for a motion of admonishment and censure in related findings for this committee’s consideration. It will have not only as you will see background information of where we’ve been and what’s been established and it’s critical for the loss of institutional control and it emphasizes conduct that I believe we as a committee see as unbecoming of a regent.” 

"To my knowledge this is the first time in the history that a regent has been admonished and censured and we take it very serious," said state Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton, who is the co-chair of the committee. "And as co-chair Alvarado said, there are still issues this committee will be taking a look at."

State Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, said a vote to censure is not a vote against impeachment. She said the committee already determined that grounds for impeachment still exist.

“As this committee continues to evaluate, and other entities continue to evaluate, his conduct we will continue to weigh our options," Alvarado said.

Part of  yesterday's action also calls for an oversight group to continue to monitor the UT Board of Regents and Hall’s actions going forward amid new leadership at the university.