UT Regents select Status Quo candidate for President

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Mar 29, 2015 No Comments ›› admin

by Lynn Woolley

The Good Ole Boy system is alive and well at the University of Texas at Austin. By a vote of five to three, the Regents have named Gary Fenves to be UT’s new president.

But Fenves, as the campus Provost, has been second in command to ousted President Bill Powers. Fenves was named on the rebound after top choice Andrew Hamilton decided to avoid the UT mess and take the top job at New York University. So instead of new blood and a fresh start, UT gets a president who’s been part of the corruption that dogged Powers.

Wallace Hall, the regent that exposed the corruption, is not happy.

He was bound and determined to clean up admission practices at UT even if it meant fighting the crony mentality. Hall was viciously attacked by the establishment, but has been proven right. Chalk up a win for the establishment though – they voted their guy in.

Gregory Fenves on TV

21 days from the Status Quo.

So now Fenves can sit back and wait for the cooling off period as prescribed by law. Unless something emerges to stop it, he’ll become the non-consensus president of one of the nation’s richest universities. The question is – as part of the establishment at UT, how can – and will – Fenves do anything to end the corruption?

More questions:

Since Wallace Hall was proven right that UT was showing favoritism in admission to the sons and daughters of the rich and powerful, will anyone pay a price? Will names of state legislators who benefited from the slimy admissions policies be made public? Will Wallace Hall get an apology from those who engineered a high-tech lynching to ruin him?

Video: Wallace Hall talks to the Texas Tribune on September 4, 2014.

One is tempted to ask – will anyone in the Legislature or the UT administration, or the UT Law School (which was tied up in the controversy as well) be forced to resign? Will corruption charges be filed?

But we’ll withdraw those questions. If one of the major players was just named president, the idea of any of those guilty paying a price is ridiculous to contemplate.

Who is Gary Fenves?

Fenves has no Wikipedia entry so far, and there’s not much about him on the internet. Here’s what we know:

The 58-year-old Fenves is the university’s chief academic officer and answered to Powers. Fenves is a structural engineer and is a former dean of the Texas School of Engineering. His tenure at UT dates to 2007. As you know, the main controversy has involved admissions – and, get this — the admissions office reports to Fenves

The three regents that voted against Fenves are Wallace Hall, Brenda Pejovich and Alex Cranberg – the same three that have been highly critical of President Powers over admissions practices, tuition rates and graduation rates.

But William McRaven, the new UT Chancellor is supportive. McRaven, who recently had a graduation speech at UT go viral, recommended him for the job.

“Greg brings a formidable intellect and charismatic and strategic leadership to the position,” he said.

Video: McRaven’s 2014 UT commencement speech has gotten almost 3,000,000 views.

The school issued a statement, purportedly from Fenves, who said:

“UT Austin is unmatched in its potential to educate and inspire leaders. I would be honored to lead this university.”

Well, lovely.

This has all proven that it’s hard to stop corruption when so many people are on board with it. The Texas Legislature should see this as a major embarrassment, but unfortunately too many members were participating in it and benefiting from it. There is no shame in politics anymore.

The quote of the year comes from Wallace Hall!

After all was said and done, Hall took a shot at UT’s famous motto:

“What starts here changes the world.”

Hall says it should be rephrased to say:

“What starts here stays the same.”

Forget about changing the world. UT can’t even change UT.


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