If you’ve been wondering why clout-abusers in the Texas House and Senate have been working so hard to silence questions into the allegations of malfeasance at the University of Texas, it might be in part because the “faux prestige” being traded on is so incredibly expensive to maintain.

Like the emperor wearing no clothes, the University of Texas has fallen to #52 (from #46 just a few years) on the vaunted US News & World Report rating of universities. But so far legislators haven’t been willing to truly ask questions about why this has happened. And more importantly, what it means for Texas’ taxpayers and college students.

Well, almost no one. UT alumni and Empower Texans Foundation board member Jeff Sandefer has an outstanding article in the Dallas Morning News this morning about the need for serious reform in higher ed generally, and UT specifically.

“Meanwhile, in the last seven years, costs per student have risen 41 percent. As Texans have gotten less from their flagship higher-learning institution, they’ve paid more,” writes Sandefer. “It’s time to get to the bottom of what’s driving the defense of the status quo in American higher education and start truly transforming our universities. Across America, students, parents and taxpayers are increasingly tired of faux prestige — it doesn’t spend very well in the unemployment line and can’t be used to pay down a mountain of unpaid college loans.”

You can read his full article at the DMN website.

Remember, the UT bureaucracy has allegedly shuffled funds, engaged in payola schemes, and allowed unqualified students to enter based on their family relationships with legislators. Not surprisingly, the clout-abuse culture of the Capitol has circled the wagon. Case in point is the disgusting actions of the House’s so-called “Transparency” Committee in seeking to destroy the good name of the one UT Regent — Wallace Hall — who has had the temerity to ask questions and demand answers.

Worse, House Speaker Joe Straus and his appointed co-chairs — Dan Flynn and Carol Alvarado — have engineered a process designed to bully any future university regent from exercising their constitutional oversight obligations. Rather than impeach Mr. Hall, Reps. Flynn and Alvarado should be investigating State Rep. Jim Pitts, the Straus-ally who brought the charges against Hall as a way to defame him and end his investigation.

But they won’t do that. Too many of their fellow Straus allies and committee chairs — like State Rep.-turned-Attorney General candidate Dan Branch — are joined at the hip with the liberal bureaucracy at UT.

It’s time for conservatives to take the lead in demanding an end to the cover-up.

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