The chairman of the University of Texas Board of Regents, along with a majority of members, asked Regent Wallace Hall to resign from his position today.
The House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations voted 7-1 this week for impeachment, but the Legislature urged the UT Board of Regents to handle the matter by asking Hall to resign.
UT Board of Regents Chair Paul Foster asked Hall to resign over Hall's attempt to prove UT at Austin President Bill Powers had shown admissions favors. The attempt involved an open-records search that totals 180,000 admission records to the UT law school. Hall is the first governor-appointed official that has been recommended for impeachment.
Foster told Hall during the Thursday board meeting, “I’ve watched the proceedings of the House Transparency Committee and their message is clear, it has been urged that this Board vote on a motion of confidence in your continued role as a Regent. I don’t believe you have violated board rules or policy, however something must change"
Board Vice Chairman Steve Hicks said the UT systems need to rebuild relations within the Texas Legislature.
“We need to regain the trust of the Legislature. With a new session coming up next January it’s frightening to me," Hicks said.
"It was refreshing to hear system leadership talk about having to move forward and asking Regent Hall to commit himself to a selfless act of removing himself," said state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, who sits on the committee that voted for impeachment.
But not everyone on the board agreed with asking Hall to resign. Regent Alex Cranberg was one of two board members that spoke in favor of Hall keeping his position.
“I feel that sometimes there has been mischaracterization, exaggeration, but I don’t think that’s reason to join what sometimes seems like a lynch mob," Cranberg said.
The board also proposed drawing up new rules for regents and the UT system is moving forward with an inquiry of whether or not there is admissions fixing at UT's law school.
Lawmakers are also continuing their process of drawing up the articles for impeachment, which will happen on May 21. The Travis County district attorney and Travis County attorney are continuing to examine whether or not Hall violated state law.