Yesterday, University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa announced he has accepted the resignation of UT-Austin President Bill powers effective June of 2015 amidst the growing clout scandal at the state’s flagship university. While Powers’ delayed exit may be perceived as a consolation prize for those entrenched in defending UT’s bureaucratic, elitist class, it does not mean that investigations into legislators abusing their offices should be allowed to be brushed under the rug.
Frankly, the efforts of the media and the Texas Exes to claim victory for Powers and UT are nothing more than an attempt to save face. Once Powers was implicated in assisting state legislators in getting under-qualified students admitted to UT-Austin, the path moving forward was simple: step down immediately, or step down after the completion of the next legislative session.
Either way, Powers would soon be out of a job many people considered him to have locked down until he was ready to retire. And his forced resignation takes place not only under the cloud of an admissions scandal, but also under the cloud of a payola scandal and accusations of financial irregularities regarding development for the campus under his administration.
Doesn’t sound very victorious, all things considered.
Regardless, new leadership will soon take over the UT campus and Texans have an opportunity to root out all evidence of clout abuse among politicians and university bureaucrats and put an end to it once and for all.
The drum beat for an in-depth and independent investigation should grow louder with Power’s departure, and legislators and bureaucrats involved should be exposed and held accountable. Furthermore, the whistleblower who came forward with information on Powers should be protected against retaliation for bringing such evidence to light.
As the façade of the UT Tower reads: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Texans deserve to know the truth. My fellow Texas Exes should be beating that drum the hardest to expose the truth — to ensure all students have an equal opportunity to benefit from the privileges one gains by their status as a Longhorn — not rallying to protect the ivory tower culture of UT’s most well-connected.