Regents: Powers to remain UT president, no action taken


by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE News and The Associated Press and

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Posted on December 12, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 12 at 7:10 PM

AUSTIN, Texas -- Bill Powers will continue to serve as the University of Texas at Austin president. The UT System Board of Regents adjourned their Thursday meeting with no action taken on the matter of Powers' employment.

The UT System Board of Regents was scheduled to discuss an unspecified "recommendation" about the employment of Powers. He is popular on the UT campus he's led since 2006, but his vision for higher education has clashed with some regents and Gov. Rick Perry.

"In August of 2013, I conveyed to the Board of Regents that the existing relationship between President Powers and UT system administration was significantly strained," UT Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa said. "In this context, understanding that I am hopeful that the strained relationship can be improved, it is my recommendation as chancellor that Bill Powers should continue his appointment as president of the University of Texas at Austin."

The meeting followed a tumultuous two years of power struggles and speculation that Powers' job was in jeopardy.

"I'm gratified with the support from the board. I'm gratified with the support from the chancellor. I look forward to working with the chancellor. We have important issues with the system," Powers said after the meeting adjourned. "It is very positive to get this behind us."

In a press conference earlier Thursday, UT head football coach Mack Brown, whose own future at Texas is uncertain, announced his support for Powers.

"I've got the best president in the country in Bill Powers," Brown said. "He's unbelievable. He's done a tremendous job for eight years."

Powers responded, echoing the same support.

"Mack Brown is one of the great football coaches of all time, not just here at The University of Texas but in the United States. He's done tremendous things for the University of Texas and I feel the same way about him that he feels about me," he said. "Tomorrow morning, I'm going to look forward to going to work and doing the work of the university. There was a lot of speculation both ways on this."

U.S. Sen. Kirk Watson released the following statement in support of Powers following the Board's decision:

“Bill Powers is an asset to the University of Texas at Austin and the state it serves. His enormous value has long been apparent to alumni, faculty, legislators, Texans and academic leaders across the United States. I am pleased that Chancellor Cigarroa and Chairman Foster both recognized that value today in their statements of support.

I agree with Chancellor Cigarroa that the Board of Regents’ and the System’s attention needs to be on the students, faculty and staff who make up the University of Texas at Austin. I have confidence in President Powers and Chancellor Cigarroa to assure that their relationship is strengthened in order to achieve that goal.

Today must mark the end of the needless distractions and ill-advised conflicts that have inflicted too much damage on the university and our state.”

One of Powers' chief critics is a UT regent facing possible impeachment over accusations that he misused his office in an attempt to force out Powers.

Speculation surrounding Powers has quieted in recent months, following a public endorsement from the new UT regents chairman.