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University of Texas
Wed November 13, 2013
UT Regent Wallace Hall Will Testify In Impeachment Hearing
A Texas House committee has subpoenaed University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall to speak during his legislative impeachment hearing.
Hall is accused of overstepping his authority by requesting thousands of open-records requests and violating students' privacy by distributing records with student information.
Hall's impeachment hearing before the Texas House Committee on Transparency of Governmental Agencies is a historic event as the state has never attempted to remove an appointed state official.
Following a University of Texas Systems meeting this week, Hall agreed to testify and then changed course, asking to be subpoenaed before providing any testimony, a move that surprised lawmakers like state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio.
"You know, one person on the right hand is saying we are going to do this in a friendly open environment [and] on the other hand we have someone saying, 'No, no lets issue subpoenas,'" Martinez Fischer said.
The board also requested an opinion from Attorney General Greg Abbott regarding an attorney-client privilege as it relates to a legislative hearing.
"I think we are being cooperative by being here -- the witnesses are here," said UT System’s attorney Phillip Hilder. "It's just to give them a level of protection in testifying."
"There was FERPA (U.S. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) protected information that was in possession of Regent Hall and Regent Hall did not have a legitimate educational purpose for that," said Martinez Fischer to the UT Board of Regents General Counsel Franchine Fredricks. "And then you further testified that in doing your remedial measure to get these documents back that you had to go and have documents returned that Mr. Hall gave to his lawyer."
Three attorneys for UT’s Board of Regents are testifying before the House committee this week, Hall will take the stand on Dec. 18.