Last week the University of Texas Board of Regents voted to place barriers in the way of fellow Regent Wallace Hall. The decision came only days after an opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was issued in support of Hall’s ability to access such information. With a 6-3 vote, the Regents adopted a new rule to require a majority of board approval for access to system information. Regent Hall opposed the rule, joined by Brenda Pejovich and Alex Cranberg.
“I’m not unmindful of the fact that this is coming as a result of Wallace Hall’s investigations which have led to very important revelations,” said Cranbeg. “It would be unnecessarily neutering individual Board members’ reasonable lines of inquiry and be chilling in effect to impose the majority requirement. I am reminded that this situation is like Henry II asking, ‘Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?’”
The comments prompted outcry from UT Chancellor William McRaven and Chairman Paul Foster seeking to downplay the extent of the new rule. The same Chairman Paul Foster that only last year pressured Hall to resign from his position further attempted to claim that with the new rules in place, investigations would still have proceeded.
Cranberg stood his ground. “I am confident that if this rule had been in place with this Board, the Kroll report would have never been investigated,” he said Cranberg, referencing the report that vindicated Hall’s investigations that revealed evidence of several University scandals.
Shockingly, McRaven has refused to allow Hall to review the unreleased information of the report, interview the investigators, and other critical matters. Hall argues that he has a right to such information as part of his fiduciary responsibility to Texans, an argument supported by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
When pressed by Hall to allow access to the records, McRaven refused, but said sarcastically that he was “happy to negotiate.” Such a comment could not be more dangerous, or absurd. To be clear, McRaven is a government employee attempting to “negotiate” the release and access of state records of a public institution with an appointee whose primary job is to represent taxpayers.
The fact that McRaven and the UT Politburo haven’t changed their tune despite repeated vindications of Wallace Hall is a major cause of concern. Even worse, is the fact that Gov. Greg Abbott’s appointees, Hicks, Beck, and Tucker, have shown by their votes they are willing to join the “Condone, Collaborate, Conceal, and Cover-Up Caucus.” The truth will only be revealed when Texans act and demand more from their government and the “public servants” who’ve been chosen to represent them.