AUSTIN -- Texas lawmakers gave a strong public showing of support for embattled University of Texas President Bill Powers, who is believed to be fighting for his job.
In a 30-minute tribute on the Senate floor, Powers was lauded as an "exemplary" leader. Several senators said the display was a message to the schools' board of regents.
Powers has been targeted by critics who argue schools are focusing too much on research instead of teaching, and note the rising cost of tuition.
Powers is believed to have a slim majority of support among regents, who are appointed by Gov. Rick Perry. Three members have their terms expire this year.
The Powers tribute got emotional when Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Powers has been subjected to "character assassination," but declined to give details.