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Big names surface in admissions scandal at UT/Austin

by Lynn Woolley

http://www.wbdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/LM-7-23-15.mp3 [1]

Now it remains to be seen if there really are ethics violations and if so, will there be consequences. UT officials worked mightily to keep all the names out of the media. But the Dallas Morning News uncovered a list [2] and slapped it on the front page.

Wallace Hall [3]

Wallace Hall

Among those who wrote directly to UT brass like former President Bill Powers and former Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa are golfer Ben Crenshaw, Austin lawyer Roy Minton, House Speaker Joe Straus, former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, billionaire Red McCombs, ad agent Roy Spence [GSD&M], and former Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks.

Maybe these were routine letters and there’s nothing much to them. But would UT officials really ignore a plea from someone as wealthy as Mr. McCombs? And Speaker Straus, who wrote two letters, directed a committee to investigate Wallace Hall. It doesn’t look good.

Straus spokesman Jason Embry stressed that the Speaker made it clear that he was not trying to wield undue influence. Maybe so, but then, why write letters with a disclaimer attached that essentially says: ignore this. More likely, the disclaimer was an attempt at CYA in case all this blew up in the media.

Wallace Hall is the regent who is seeking to prove that there has been hanky-panky going on.

Nobody much likes Hall. Most politicians and UT officials prefer the status quo – the old “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” routine that exists in so many political systems. Hall is trying to break the mold.

He has a lawsuit pending against the University that, if successful, would grant him access to more record. UT does not want that to happen, and has asked a state judge to dismiss the suit [4]. Judges are often a big part of the good old boy system. So we wait and we see.

Some of the state legislators & officials who sent letters:

• House Speaker Joe Straus
• Sen. Kevin Eltife
• Sen. Carlos Uresti
• Sen. Rodney Ellis
• Sen. Judith Zaffirini
• Sen. Mike Jackson
• Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr.
• Former Rep. Veronica Gonzales
• Rep. Ryan Guillen
• Former Regent Tom Hicks (who once owned the Texas Rangers & Dallas Stars.
• Former Regent W.A. “Tex” Moncrief
• Former UT Quarterback Randy McEachern
• Former UT Regent H. Scott Caven, Jr.
• Former Regent Jess Hay