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UT Regent under fire, fires back

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TWC News: UT Regent under fire, fires back
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University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall Jr. is firing back for the first time after facing harsh allegations from the Texas Legislature this session.

A resolution filed by House Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts alleges Hall--a Gov. Rick Perry appointee--broke state law by not revealing potential business conflicts when applying for the UT Board position. The same measure also says the Regent abused his authority by making unnecessary open records requests, targeting UT President Bill Powers.

Now, in a 28-page letter sent to the Transparency Committee, Wallace Hall explains why he sent thousands of public information requests to UT Austin, UT Law School and UT System.

Attorney Stephen Ryan boldly defends the Regent's actions in his position as a UT Systems Board Member, accusing UT officials of their own wrongdoings.

Hall cites a lack of transparency at the university by ignoring certain records requests while delaying others.

Ryan says UT Law School is guilty of wage discrimination. The letter says white, male professors earn more money than female or minority colleagues.

The regent's attorneys detail cheating in which students would gain admission to the university--even when certain student lacks academic qualifications. Ryan say legislative influence led to students allowed into UT, after failing admission requirements.

The letter makes a claim that millions of dollars of school donations are over reported.
One example shows a "phantom" donation misreported $100 million into the University's capitol campaign.

Transparency Committee Co-Chair Dan Flynn says he has received the letter and will submit it to the legislative record. Flynn expects to have an attorney assigned by next week to handle next month’s scheduled hearings.

The hearings could lead to the impeachment of Regent Hall.

The regent is requesting he be allowed to interrogate witnesses, call his own witnesses and subpoena lawmakers.

Attorneys for Regent Hall tell YNN that, as a UT Systems Board Member, he is dedicated to making a UT education more affordable, available and of higher quality to Texans.

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