An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

Contact Information
Friends of The Daily Texan, Inc.
1401 Lavaca St
Austin, TX 78701

[email protected]

Bill Powers and The Daily Texan

Remember just a year ago that The Daily Texan was in the financial ditch, with no fix in sight, and no plan or vision to solve its problems?

Remember the fear that The Texan would simply fade away, both as a print and digital product, bringing an inglorious end to a glorious 114-year history?

Today the Texan problems remain (it’s not fixed, folks, so don’t relax your support), but there is a hope for the future and new management coming, and new supervision – the Moody College of Communication.

Time has been bought to build a real business plan, and get serious about saving The Texan, for the long-term.

Remember who made that happen?

Bill Powers.

President Powers provided bridge funding that allowed Moody Dean Rod Hart and team to begin development of  a plan to make Texas Student Media and The Texan financially sound. What happens with The Texan will be anxiously watched by other student media across the U.S.10022304-large

Today, Bill Powers is caught up in a politically-inspired power struggle with a lame-duck governor and a lame-duck Chancellor.  Who knows what tomorrow brings?

Would it bring a UT president who is sympathetic to student media, and believe it is worth supporting and saving?

If you are concerned about a free student media, register your thoughts here.

And read more here at Inside Higher Ed.

And linked here and pasted below is an excellent editorial from The Houston Chronicle.

If you disagree with what might be on the horizon, use social media, use the phone, speak up. Do something.

From The Houston Chronicle

Those Aggie-maroon bluebonnets that blossomed in the spring at the foot of the University of Texas at Austin’s Main Building were a harbinger, it seems. The flowers signaled that a lame-duck Aggie governor intended to leave his mark on Longhorn soil, the interests of a great university be damned.

Six months ago, University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa recommended that UT-Austin President Bill Powers remain in office, despite pressure from UT-System rogue regents and the man who appointed them, Gov. Rick Perry. Now, Cigarroa is demanding that Powers resign immediately or be fired when the regents meet Thursday in Austin.

Cigarroa, who has announced his own resignation once a successor is chosen, insists that his out-of-the-blue ultimatum is not politically motivated. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “The latest decision originates with the UT System’s Office of Academic Affairs and my office and is based on a breakdown of communication, collegiality, trust and a willingness to work together for the good of the university.”

It’s hard to take the man at his word, given the circumstances – and the players – but if he is telling the truth, then his decision to boot Powers casts doubt on his judgment and taints his tenure as chancellor.

Powers, who enjoys the outspoken support of students, faculty and alumni, has been and continues to be one of the most capable presidents in UT-Austin history. He is leading a $3 billion capital campaign, is in the early stages of building a UT-Austin medical school and is serving as chairman of the prestigious Association of American Universities.

Perry’s problem with Powers stems from the president’s polite rejection of the governor’s pet theory of higher education, one that relies on the business-driven “seven breakthrough solutions” developed by his friend and donor Jeff Sandefer. Never mind that the so-called breakthrough solutions crafted by a disgruntled former UT-Austin business professor were an ill fit for one of the nation’s premier research universities; Powers had snubbed Perry. The president would have to go.

On Sunday, the newly appointed president of the Texas Exes, a woman who has had her own run-in with the governor, weighed in on the Powers controversy. Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who lost a bitter race to Perry in the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary, noted in an e-mail that “a forced resignation or firing would be a travesty for UT. It would cause further tension with legislators regarding the UT System, would compound unrest among faculty, students and alumni and invoke serious harm to the institution’s reputation in the national spotlight.”

State Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, expressed her consternation, as well. “I’m just kind of taken aback by the fact that we’ve had to remind them a couple of times about not making personnel changes,” she told the Chronicle. “I’m curious if Cigarroa is just having selective memory issues or if he’s completely dissing our request.”

Alvarado co-chairs the state transparency committee drafting the impeachment papers against UT System Regent Wallace L. Hall Jr., Perry’s attack dog on the board. Hall has been accused of bullying university officials and has spearheaded an ill-concealed witch hunt to oust Powers. Alvarado characterized the ultimatum from Cigarroa as “the climax of the insubordination.”

Hall’s obsession with removing Powers prompted an internal investigation by the UT System to determine whether the admissions process was tainted by favoritism or pressure from lawmakers, as Hall has charged. An internal investigation by the UT System, completed last month, found that there was not “any evidence for a quid pro quo” or “other wrongdoing” in the admissions process.

Fortunately, Powers has refused to resign, although he has offered to discuss an orderly departure, one that would have him remain in office through next year’s legislative session as lawmakers craft a two-year budget for the UT System. That proposal seems eminently reasonable, in light of the fact that both the chancellor and the governor are on their way out, as well.

If UT’s regents insist Thursday on booting Powers, then the governor’s corrosive influence on a great university will last much longer than those Aggie flowers of spring. Our hope is that the governor’s appointees and a lame-duck chancellor will put aside politics and personality differences and consider the interests of UT-Austin. The people of Texas and a great university deserve nothing less.